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Soil is Great Stuff!  RSS feed

 
                    
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Just ran across a very interesting study:

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20329704

Some symbiotic soil bacteria produce plant hormones, and that can double the length of roots in wheat seedlings. The agriculturalists that did the research want to develop it into something that they can control ... permaculturists and organic gardeners are already using things like that, even if our terms are not always as precise and we don't dispense it from a flask.

Soil is Great Stuff!  But it is not an inert hydroponic system. It is a living ecosystem. 
 
Joel Hollingsworth
pollinator
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Location: Oakland, CA
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I wonder if other members of a polyculture would also respond to those symbiote-produced hormones. 
 
                    
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We know that most plants do respond to IAA and IBA; these compounds (or very similar things) are used in rooting powders. Also, willow tea is rich in these compounds and good for promoting new roots.

The bacteria in question might grow better in the root zone of some plants, and not so good close to other plants. There certainly could be some plants that give off inhibitors, other plants that are better at nourishing the bacteria in question. But in general, I think a healthy soil is going to have this sort of effect on many plants. 
 
Brenda Groth
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Location: North Central Michigan
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i for one can say that healthy soil is better than damaged soil..we inherited an area of really badly damaged soil..where people had burned wood and garbage over and over and over, year after year, in one large area..this is where we are putting a new garden in.

we piled a compost pile on the area for two years..and i am digging it up this spring to put the garden beds in..etc..and the compost pile was full of healthy stuff...i picked potatoes and carrots and a huge rhubarb plant out of the pile already this spring..over that old damaged soil..

just blessed my heart to see that horrible piece of land producing ..when no one really even planted it..just threw scraps on it..

the plan is to spread the compost over the area that will be beds..and then bring in some of that pond bottom soil that was dug out last year..and put that on top of the compost that we spread this week..and then continue to add more nutrients year by year but some plants will go in this year.

a corner of this area had 5 multiplying onions put in last year also..and when i dug them to move them to their new permanent bed, they had multiplied to about 25..so i have high hopes for this new garden area..
 
Ardilla Esch
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Location: Northern New Mexico, Zone 5b
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Some soil bacteria also have antibiotic properties that help prevent plant diseases.  Although, the direct benefit to the bacterium may be anti-compitition with other bacteria (just guessing on that).

Jonathan -

Willow tea is new to me, and I just looked up a how to.  Thanks for mentioning it.  Do you think it would work to water newly transplanted trees?  I have to transplant a few small pines and will have to cut roots to be able to move them.  Just thought the tea might help restore the lost roots.
 
                    
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Ardilla wrote:

Willow tea is new to me, and I just looked up a how to.  Thanks for mentioning it.  Do you think it would work to water newly transplanted trees? 


It just might help, and I doubt it would hurt. If you have a source of willow, you could give it a try. Here is a link to one study that did find a benefit in transplanting lodge pole pine seedlings, it seems promising.

http://forestry.oxfordjournals.org/cgi/content/abstract/55/2/125
 
Paul Cereghino
gardener
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Location: South Puget Sound, Salish Sea, Cascadia, North America
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The willow hormones are pariticularly good at stimulating root formation in undifferentiated cells (primordia) located right near the cambium, and encouraging the formation of primordia.  Thats why this study pointed to the formation of new primary roots, both as the limitation to Pine, and as the effect of the auxin treatment.  Some species are not auxin limited in root initiation, there may be other factors at work (many stem cuttings of native cascadian shrubs don't respond to auxins; darris)  Again, can't hurt, but so many other factors could strongly affect transplant success you'd have to have really strong controls to isolate the auxin effect.

http://plant-materials.nrcs.usda.gov/ORPMC/publications.html#TN
check out technical note 30...

Stimulating rooting in cuttings could be another topic if there is interest.
 
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