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Zinc deficiencies in desert

Posts: 1400
Location: Verde Valley, AZ.
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Was reading a study last night that all the desert soils are naturally low in nitrogen, about 30:1 carbon/nitrogen.
The low nitrogen content helps keep out invasives that aren't desert adapted.

What really stood out tho, was the levels of zinc deficiency. From .5 to 1.5 ppm, where a farming soil might have 30-80 ppm.

This affected the actual nitrogen fixing abilities of these desert plants, because the zinc is required for mycorhizal and bacterial cell wall production.
Plants tend to be zinc accumulators, and since there is very little duff on desert ground, very little gets redeposited in the soils.
Might also be a reason the animals pies are such good breeding beds, it's the additional zinc, and myco !

If you are having trouble getting your desert plants to thrive , give em a zap of zinc, then a shot of innoculant, might really make a difference.
I just ordered some good looking broad spectrum innoculant, but now i will try and get a zinc booster first. The micro-nutrient sprays may not be enough.

I just saw how getting plants to increase their magnesium uptake can make for healthier foods, now zinc. should i just plant a multivitamin with each seed?
We don't have any plantable biomass here, that does not re-sprout (vinca), is alleopath (tree of heaven), or seriously invasive (horehound/mint)

This stuff is spendy, but looks like the best i have found, for everything but trees. See what they say about some of the strains.


anybody know of anything else this broad spectrum?

Posts: 213
Location: Clarkston, MI
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That's very interesting stuff.

One other thing that might be a consideration is the PH of the soil. I remember hearing from Mollison on is PDC DVD that most desert soils are alkaline. In alkaline soils certain nutrients can become locked up and not be able to be absorbed, Mag and Zinc happen to be two big one's. So perhaps it's not that there is a defficency in Zinc, but because of the soil PH the Zinc is locked up in a non usable form. Might be worth a check, if for nothing else then you know what the PH of the soils is.

Interesting side note:
In this part of the DVD Mollison also mentions a noted corelation between alakine soils and the sex of animals born and raised on the land. Appearantly where there is high alkaline soil there are more likely to be females born, be it goats, camels, or humans. He gave some specific examples of regions and population samples, though I can't recall them exactly, and in some areas it is 10:1 females to males. I know this has nothing to do with your post, but I just watched this section last weekend and it's fresh in the brain.
[Thumbnail for soil_fertility_1.jpg]
Morgan Morrigan
Posts: 1400
Location: Verde Valley, AZ.
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Yup, just saw that onions and garlic pull sulphur out to make their flavors, further alkalizing the soil. I was hoping to use scallions as green manure, now i am going to have to feed them too.....


Have been putting pastiles in with the red dirt when mixing in biomass, but am ordering innoculant, mixing in sugar, and gonna get a good zinc booster, and try magnese in the veggies.

Is very hard to acidify desert soils. In the Phoenix area, we had to use pool acid to break thru the caliche, before we could do anything else. It foams for hours...

Even here in red dirt country, with plenty of iron, it is still a challenge to get live soil out of rock and clay.

Gonna take longer than i thought, and i am 2 years in on one plot...
Posts: 7926
Location: Currently in Lake Stevens, WA. Home in Spokane
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If you want a broad spectrum mineralizer, consider a rock dust. Not all rock dusts are the same

Here are two examples:


It appears that the Gaia Green has more of the two you are looking for.
Besides, it is quite a bit cheaper:
Gaia Green $12 per 50# vs Azomite $16 per 44#

Unless you already have a surplus of certain minerals, I would think a broad spectrum application should help a desert soil.
Morgan Morrigan
Posts: 1400
Location: Verde Valley, AZ.
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Copper mining town, to many heavy metals already.
Clays in town, limestone in valleys. Real mess.

Wish our county did more than NPK, and the EPA library wasn't dismanteled and sold off or burned.
Could have gotten lots of info from the soil and water tests they did.

Thanks George!
Eliminate 95% of the weeds in your lawn by mowing 3 inches or higher. Then plant tiny ads:
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