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Bacterial vs. Fungal dominated soil

 
Posts: 257
Location: Central Texas zone 8a, 800 chill hours 28 blessed inches of rain
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I started a new topic as it exceeds the scope of my other question about mycorrhizal networks.  In learning more about the fungal side of soil biology I have encountered some statements that confuse me.  I am led to believe by some sources that a soil is either bacterial or fungally dominated.  While it is not specifically stated, I am left with the impression that soil for growning vegatative plants needs bacteria and wood plants/trees need fungi.  In other material I have read that they are interdependent.  I am sure that soil biology is vastly more complex than we currently understand, so there is no right answer academia can provide.

My question is this based on this project.  I intend to inoculate the soil with as much local biology as I can.  I have several oaks on the property that are 50 to 75 years old at a minimum.  I also have some pecan trees that are 20 to 30 year old 'garden trees', as well as some native pecans trees in the area that are volunteers along fence rows.  103 acres is a lot of spraying and brewing of compost tea; but I feel essential to restore the micro flora has been stripped from the property.  But as I understand it, mycorrhizal tissue does not distribute in a compost tea, is that correct?  So my plan was to expose seed for the vegatative plants as well as the roots of the trees with ectomycorrhizal spores to maximize the living root net exposed to arbuscular spores across the entire pasture, thus filling in the network as quickly as possible.  

Project Parcel

As you can see from the photo, someone in the past bulldozed the land.  Then it was overgrazed for years.  So the soil biology is recovering.  I has been allowed to go to its natural state of rangeland the past several years.  At some point I will do some keyline work and put in some small swales to plant my trees downslope.  But it needs a lot of time and husbandry.  (how it looks this spring:)

Spring '19

As you can see I have a lot of compaction issues and mesquite infestation.  (love the mesquite, but next to impossible to work around.)

With that background and a focus on nut tree production, is there a large scale process to harvest local spores and beneficial bacteria that will propagate arbuscular spores?  I am looking through protocols and processes; but there seems to be a lot of mis-information given in great spirit; but not applicable to arbuscular spores.

How would one approach a large scale reinnoculation of land with spores to fill in the mycelium network as quickly as possible?  Thank you all for your input and effort to advise me on this subject.  It is much appreciated!
 
garden master
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What methods would you be open to using? What restrictions of time or resources need to be taken into account?

I could imagine multiple ways of approaching this- simple spraying, paddock-shift grazing of multiple animals in succession, adding texture to the landscape- but each method has its pros and cons. I think it depends on the timescale and resources being looked at.
 
Jack Edmondson
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Dave,

I am in the education phase of the fungal approach.  I thought I had it all worked out with keyline plowing, small swales, deep rooted legumes, and some bio char.  Just recently, I stumbled on the fungal scene and realized I had only scratched the surface what I need to do to feed my dirt to become soil again.

As far as time table, I have years to work this project; but the more I do now the soon I can plant trees knowing the foundation is building.  I have to work the land in intervals, as I don't live on or near the property.  I have resources to put into the land, but have to watch per acre costs as they add up quickly.  I have tractors and access to equipment.

Feel free to suggest any ideas.  Let's call it a $10k a year budget to give you a parameter over a five year period of time.
 
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Hi Jack,

If you research the types of edible mushrooms that are mycorrhizal for the nut species you want to plant. You can just innoculate those seedlings or trees with a home made spore slury, as the cheapest way to help in the forestry department. The same goes with any trees on your property. If the tree species doesn't have an edible mycorrhizal species compatible with your environment, then you may have to choose mycorrhizal species that aren't duel purpose. For the pastures, you can buy mixes of ecto and endo mycorrhizal, I'm guessing they are spores; then just dilute them down in water, and spray them out on your established pasures, on a wet rainy day. You don't have to treat every square foot, the application can be somewhat sparce, as the mycorrhizal networks will be fed by the plants and expand far beyond the networks of the compatible plant species.

If your that into feeding your soil biome, sure compost tea is good, and so are the fungi. But to really boost those efforts, they need extra food, so you could also spray unsulfured black strap molasses mixed in water, at about 1/2 cup per five gallons of water. That will feed everything including the plants, and alow your biome to get a boost. You could also feed just sugar 1/2 cup, with pure no additives bulk sea salt at 2 Tbls and 1 Tbls of Epsom salt per five gallons water, for a similar effect.

If you search online, you can find the endo and ecto mycorrhizal mix for sale. I would recomend getting it in the wet season, when its cooler, for better application, and so it doesn't get cooked from heat in shipping. Just make sure you get the kind that mixes in water so you can spray it for easy application. You can follow the mix instructions, but I think you could also dilute it down much more then recomended, for in pasture use: and apply it on a rainy day so the spores quickly get down to stay viable. In one full cycle of seasons, that mycorrhizal network will have taken over, especially if you feed it. The plants feed it too, but slowly in a symbiotic trade: so feeding that biome a little extra, will help it flourish quickly, which will help the soil and fauna growing there more quickly.

Those are my best suggestions.

Hope that helps.
 
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Jack Edmondson said:  I started a new topic as it exceeds the scope of my other question about mycorrhizal networks.  In learning more about the fungal side of soil biology I have encountered some statements that confuse me.  I am led to believe by some sources that a soil is either bacterial or fungally dominated.  While it is not specifically stated, I am left with the impression that soil for growning vegatative plants needs bacteria and wood plants/trees need fungi.  In other material I have read that they are interdependent.  I am sure that soil biology is vastly more complex than we currently understand, so there is no right answer academia can provide.

My question is this based on this project.  I intend to inoculate the soil with as much local biology as I can.  I have several oaks on the property that are 50 to 75 years old at a minimum.  I also have some pecan trees that are 20 to 30 year old 'garden trees', as well as some native pecans trees in the area that are volunteers along fence rows.  103 acres is a lot of spraying and brewing of compost tea; but I feel essential to restore the micro flora has been stripped from the property.  But as I understand it, mycorrhizal tissue does not distribute in a compost tea, is that correct?  So my plan was to expose seed for the vegatative plants as well as the roots of the trees with ectomycorrhizal spores to maximize the living root net exposed to arbuscular spores across the entire pasture, thus filling in the network as quickly as possible.  

With that background and a focus on nut tree production, is there a large scale process to harvest local spores and beneficial bacteria that will propagate arbuscular spores?
How would one approach a large scale reinnoculation of land with spores to fill in the mycelium network as quickly as possible?



Hau Jack, To start with, yes, currently the soil biological interactions are vastly complex, but we are making great inroads in respect to understanding how those interactions work, so we do have some right answers, just not the whole picture completed.

I give you Cudos for wanting to remediate your land to a state it hasn't been in for at least decades.
Compost teas are more for moving all the microorganism world except for mcorrhizae.
Fungi are best installed by the use of slurries which means you have to find the fruits (mushrooms) of the fungi species you want to spread and whiz them up in a blender then dilute that mixture so you can use a sprinkler can or similar devise to spread those spores and mycelial threads where you want them to grow.
Currently the best method for introducing fungi of specific species and families is to purchase already to go preparations that have had all the microbiological testing done by professionals in the field of mycology.

If you desire to find and grow your own fungi for the purpose of inoculating lands you will need some equipment; Microscope of at least 2000x power, centrifuge, autoclave, petri dishes and incubator to grow the fungi once you have isolated the strains you desire.
As you might imagine, the equipment isn't inexpensive when you get it all together.  
In that light, it is far less expensive to purchase from a reputable mycology company the blends that will work over a broad spectrum of plants and conditions (usually 1 oz. of one of these products will be 10 dollars or less and treat up to 4000 plants or 3000 sq. ft. of land mass).

Local biology is great, but keep in mind, your local biology isn't very complete anymore because of the human manipulations, important items are missing, or you wouldn't have compaction.

While there are soils that are bacteria dominant, plants rely on both fungi and bacteria along with the myriad of other supporting microorganisms that make up healthy soil.
Acidic soil (3.0 to 4.9 pH) will be totally bacterial, fungi can not survive such a low pH, at least not the fungi we want as growers of green things.
Once the soil hits the 5.0 pH mark, some fungi will be able to survive and the closer you get to neutral, they will increase in number of species and ability to thrive.
Above the 7.0 neutral point bacteria drop off severely.
Most plants will do well in soil with pH of 5.5 to 7.9, with the ideal mean being 6.5 to 6.8.

When you are trying to increase mycorrhizae counts, inoculating seeds and roots prior to planting out is the most efficient method and results are noticeable.

Compost used as either a mixed in amendment or as a mulch layer is the best method to get an overall increase in the microbiology of the soil in the shortest time period.
Compost teas are generally used to spray plants and the surface soil around those plants to give a boost to the plant exterior.

All good soil will have at least 40 percent fungi present with 10 percent of the "others" and 50 percent bacteria for certain vegetables.
If you start out with a soil that is equal in fungi and bacteria counts, the plants will make adjustments per their needs through their use of exudates (chemical messages), the plants can even make small adjustments to the soil pH via exudate usage.

Redhawk
 
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