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Link to List of Bryant RedHawk's Epic Soil Series Threads

Over the last 30 years there has become an awareness of Nature Communications, the networks that are used by all of the natural world except humans.
There have been movies that featured Plants communicating with each other and even plants communicating with animals, which not so long ago would have been considered science fiction.
Now the scientific community is deep in the study of mechanisms that to many must seem like woo-woo or flying saucer type stuff.
In some ways, it is what I like to term inner space reality, it is and always has been, but we are just beginning to have the ability to detect and thus start to understand just how complex our world really is.

When a plant is attacked by insects, how does it protect itself and how do the other plants around find out about the intruder so they can protect themselves?
This is a fairly interesting premise with even more interesting answers, just within the last 15 years the fact that this sort of thing really happens was able to be detected.
It was also proven that plants do scream when they are cut or otherwise injured.
Only now have we humans gained the technology to be able to hear those screams.

I will be discussing these marvels of the natural world in this thread, and I hope to be able to give some insight into the previously unknown parts of the world of Nature.
There will be some pretty wild sounding stuff, but I assure you it really is reality, just not human reality.
It is perhaps, part of that "secret knowledge" that has been alluded to by others in books that dwell on unknown or alien presences.
Like Dr. Dolittle, we can talk to the animals, but in this case, we want to talk to the plant world.

Redhawk
 
Bryant RedHawk
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When I was just a boy my pawpaw took me to the woods to cut two trees down for fire wood.
Before I was given the axe to start cutting the first tree, I was told we had to tell the trees what we were going to do and why and then we had to ask their forgiveness for having to kill them.
So we stroked the bark of the tree and I told it that I needed the wood so the house would have heat the next winter and that I was sorry this had to be done.
I was slapped on the back of the head by pawpaw, then he said I needed to sound sad about it because the tree's spirit knew how I felt by how my words sounded.
I thought about that for a while, then I started again, as I was telling the tree that I was going to cut it, some of the lower leaves quivered, not from a wind, the air was still.
This quivering was also not from my hand on the tree trunk, the tree was large and I was only 8 years, I turned and told pawpaw that the tree was shaking.
He looked at those leaves, then he said, the tree knew what was going to happen and it was afraid.

Those events, came back to me when I was in college and I began to think about what I was learning in biology class, then I got an idea, I would try to gain knowledge of what I saw happen that day, I've been at it over half a century now and I've learned much about plants and their lives.
One of the things that I still find most fascinating is the many ways plants react to their environment, they are stuck in one place and so they must know most of what goes on in their little world.
Lately I have discovered that what I thought was a little world is actually quite large, to the point of being able to know about things far beyond the reach of their roots.
A tree is perhaps one of the largest, longest living organisms on our planet, and while it doesn't have a "brain" it does have many different specialized cells that make up what we call a tree.
It's important to understand this, with out this understanding, we could not fathom just how intricate a tree really is or that the same is true of a radish, squash, corn, or any other plant that lives on earth.
There are cell structures that mimic the nervous system, these are found in the cambium layer (actually many layers) beneath the bark (skin), the skeleton is the heart wood.
These analogies are important, it is a way for us to understand just how plants work.
Most people think of the plant world as one of inanimate, unfeeling organisms, we are learning just how wrong this perception is as we delve deeper into the study of these organisms.
We now know that not only can they feel things that happen to them, but they can tell all the others like them what is happening to them and they can tell those others to protect themselves.

It has been discovered that plants have some sort of understanding of their environment as well, seemingly they can sense atmospheric changes and brace themselves for what is coming.
The big question is how, how do they do these things without a "brain"? It is what I, and others have been working on finding out for a long time (human time frame wise).
At this point, what has been discovered is (to me) extremely exciting and destined to change the way we look at this part of our environment.
To grasp the concepts I will use analogies to the human body and how it functions because I think it helps to understand these, basic but complex functions.
The next post will start getting into the different ways plants can communicate with all the life forms around them.

Redhawk
 
Bryant RedHawk
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In the plant world there are several means of communication used, each for several different purposes.
Exudates for example are used to call the microorganisms to process nutrients (minerals) so the plant can take them up through the root system.
Exudates can also tell the parasitic nematodes that love to eat roots that there are dying roots available for them to eat.
Exudates can signal bacteria and other beneficial microorganisms to come and protect the roots and stalk/ trunk/ stem of the plant that is being attacked by fungi or molds.
Exudates can excite the hyphae network to send signals all through this network to tell other plants that are connected that something is happening or is going to happen.

All the above happen under the surface of the soil, but there are also aerosols that are expelled through the stomata into the air.
These aerosols can also take many forms including warnings and distress signals which seem to be the majority of aerosols messages.
Distress signals can have the effect of calling destructive insects to eat the plant that is in distress.
When we have, say a squash plant that looks healthy but suddenly is being attacked by hordes of squash beetles, it is probably because the beetles smelled the distress signal from the plant and used it as a homing beacon.
Sadly, if we have one sick plant in a grouping of healthy plants, they will all end up infected with the beetles.
There is a way the squash plants can fight back though, they can pull extra nutrients (when available) and excite certain bacteria (again when available) to fight off the attacking beetles.
For this to happen we have to have very healthy soil, rich with all the known beneficial organisms we can add.

and there goes the timer, I'll be back with more.

Redhawk
 
Bryant RedHawk
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Aerosols can also create rain, while not exactly causing rain, there are aerosols that attract moisture to them (this happens in cloud forests which is where the phenomenon was first observed) the moisture then forms fog like clouds which then produce droplets of water (rain).
What happens is that the plants need water so they create and release an aerosol comprised of several different water attracting molecules which rise in the air stream, collecting water as they travel higher and higher, more and more moisture sticks to these attractor molecules.
Once there are enough attractors and they have gathered enough moisture, the cloud begins to form and eventually the water collected falls to the soil, all created by the trees sending out their "call for rain" aerosols.
But where did this moisture come from? Well, trees transpire all day and night, releasing water molecules along with waste material items.
When the plant needs moisture, it just sends the aerosols that will gather up all that moisture the leaves have been transpiring and the result is the recycling of the water the trees gave off and any extra that was hanging, suspended in the air.
It is a quite remarkable bit of chemistry that plants have been using for as long as there have been plants, but it was only discovered a few years ago, relatively speaking.

In my own woods I have been watching my hickory trees fight the Japanese beetles that are laying their eggs and those larvae have taken a liking to hickory trees, gnawing away at the cambium layer.
Three years ago, we had perhaps three or four woodpeckers visit every few weeks, now we have eight to twelve residing in our woods, hammering away and eating the pesky Japanese beetle larvae all day, every day, it can be quite noisy when one finds an infested tree.
How did the woodpeckers decide to come in such high numbers was a question I wanted the answer to.
What I found was that the hickory trees were sending out a large cloud of aerosols, one of which was a pheromone that acts like a homing beacon to several species of woodpecker.
The trees were literally calling all woodpeckers to come and feast, thus protecting the lives of the trees.
There is so much of this aerosol being released in one section of my woods that you need to wear a hat because the aerosol is so dense it falls out of the air and coats the leaf littered forest floor or me if I stand there long enough.
When I first found this phenomenon I mistook it for a sap like substance, but chemical analysis and observation helped me discover what it was and what it was doing.
It was my second ever eureka moment. Then I found out I was not the first to describe it, bummer for me that was.

There are also aerosols that send the message of "I'm under attack by ____, protect yourself!".
Some are broad based distress warnings, some are apparently very specific as "the Bark beetle is eating me, produce all the sap you can",  and "the Japanese beetle is eating me inside out, call the woodpeckers quickly", along with "the fire blight has taken one of my branches, I'm covering it with sap, protect your limbs!".
Who knows just how many different warnings and cries for help the plant world has at its disposal? We are just scratching the surface and already we are finding far more than we could imagine just a decade ago.

I'll be back with more

Redhawk
 
Bryant RedHawk
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Most gardener folks now know about mycorrhizae and that there are two types, internal and external.
Most of the literature you can find about mycorrhizae limit the knowledge to how these fungi work with the tree, bush, shrub, very little is mentioned about their other rolls in the microorganism world.
The endomycorrhizae live inside the cells of the roots, they actually help exudates from these roots get to where the plant needs them to go so the message is received.
The ectomycorrhizae live outside the roots but they entwine tightly to that exterior root skin and they work in unison with the endomycorrhizae in the roll of message transmitter.
Both of these important fungi types also transfer nutrients into the root cells along with water, without the mycorrhizae, plants struggle to get all the things they need since they don't have the help available.
Mycorrhizae also act as body guards, when parasitic nematodes come along to feast, the ectomycorrhizae wrap up the nematode and begin to devour it thus protecting the roots from the attack.
Trees also make use of these fungi as telephone lines, sending electrical messages between trees through the fungal network in the soil.
The fungal network also acts like a superhighway, bacterial truckers travel along the highway and deliver nutrients where they find the orders waiting for them to pass by.
Other microorganisms also travel along this highway, springtails, amoeba, flagellates, ciliates and even earthworms can be found using these highways to get from point A to point B.

Earthworms are particularly interesting to find using these highways since they also feed on fungi, bacteria, ciliates and all the other organisms, the interesting part is that the earthworms don't eat so much of this fungal network as to break the connections.
Instead they move along it grazing as they go, stripping off only a layer or two, leaving the highway mostly intact with not so much as a pothole, it is more like they keep the lanes at a specific width so the lanes don't overlap and confuse the travelers using it.
These actions by the earthworms makes them part of the maintenance crew of the fungal highways.

This fungal highway is made up of many different types of fungi, this diversity allows the highway to extend from one soil type to another and it can extend for incredible distances.
In the Sierra Nevada Mountains of Northern California (the lake Tahoe area) there is a known fungal network that extends over 300 miles N to S and is approximately 250 miles wide going half way to the pacific ocean.
Imagine a tree in Sacramento sending a signal to a Ponderosa Pine tree on the North Shore of Lake Tahoe, and that same signal to a Giant Redwood in the Redwood Forest, at the same time.
That is a fair example of how large that one fungal network is, how fast it is has yet to be determined but it sort of takes the fantasy out of parts of the movie avatar.
That movie seems to have gotten the idea of the mother tree and plant/animal communication from research that was going on at the time it was made.

Plants can generate electric pulses which they can send not only from one end of the plant to the other but they can utilize the fungal network to send those pulses along to be picked up by other plants.
Current thought is that this is limited to species to same species but there is the possibility that interspecies communication might also occur.
The exact mechanisms that provide the ability to communicate plant to plant to microorganism are still being studied and will be studied for a long time to come.
Currently we know that there are chemical and electrical signals used for communication purposes.

Redhawk
 
Bryant RedHawk
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So what does all this mean to a gardener or farmer? How does knowing about the plant world information highway help us grow better, healthier plants for food?

Well; It helps us know just how important it is to build our soil with a large diversity of soil microorganisms living there.
        It shows us that plants are not what we used to think of them as, inanimate beings with no means of communication or feelings of pain, despair, sadness.
        Cartoons have, for many years, tried to apply humanness to animals and plants, as we are finding out, those cartoons were actually on to something, even if the creators of them didn't know it.

Understanding that plants can "talk" to each other is a big plus for the gardener if they have in place those items that the plants use to send their messages.
It also helps to know that when we "till deep" we are actually cutting all the telephone lines and ripping up the highways that the microorganism world uses to travel around to do their important jobs.

This doesn't mean that we should never "till" or it is bad to use a sub-soiler (keyline plow), it does help us make those decisions and better understand the whole mechanism of the consequences of those decisions.
It also teaches us that we can effectively repair or replace those parts that have been destroyed by ourselves or others who came before us and that we can actually make those mechanisms better.

Soil is the key to life as we know it on good old terra firma, every land animal and in part all life on this planet are dependent upon the health of the soil.
With out soil, there can be no higher life forms, since the food chain starts in the soil (for land animals particularly) if we turn all the soil into dirt then there is no bottom of the food chain.
No bottom of the food chain means every thing dies of starvation, including human beings.
With out a fungal super highway insect infestations would sweep through the land, wiping out every target tree those insects feed on.
The same would happen with diseases.
There would be no way plants could try to protect themselves, just like what happened in North America with the chestnut blight.
The trees were packed to closely together in commercial orchards and the soil organisms of those commercial orchards were devastated by human soil disruption.
This allowed the blight to sweep through those cultivated trees and end up infecting the wild growing forest trees as well.
It all happened fast enough that the American chestnut trees didn't have time to develop any resistance.
This scenario is on the brink of being repeated by the Japanese beetle and the pine borer, the larvae of each being spread fast enough as to catch the trees by surprise and thus end up killing them.

What we are learning now shows promise for being able to help trees defend themselves without our having to resort to using highly poisonous compounds which only serve to further the contamination of our planet.
By helping the soil microorganisms thrive we can only slow the escape of carbon and that slows the issues of global warming as well as helping us grow better foods and fibers.

Redhawk
 
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Hi Bryant and all,

This is a subject I find absolutely fascinating!  Have you read The Hidden Life of Trees: What They Feel, How They Communicate—Discoveries From a Secret World Book by Peter Wohlleben?  He talks about all of this.  His book blew my mind wide open. 

Don't know if you watch movies, or are a Trekkie.  When they were doing the movies, one of them involved an alien probe that comes to Earth and starts churning up the oceans, looking for humpback whales (which were extinct in the 24th century).  Apparently, the alien civilization had been in contact with them millions of years ago, as they were the most intelligent life on Earth.  Anyway, when I read that book, it made me think that fungus is the brain of this planet, and the reason we have never been contacted by aliens (if there are any) is because we are just parasites.  I mean, would you talk to someone's lice? 

Anyway, after reading this book, it really hit me how Earth is an actual, living being, and we (and everyone else) are just cells in her body.  Wouldn't surprise me at all to find out Earth is in communication with other planets.






 
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Thank you, Redhawk, for this interesting stuff!
This is not extra-terrestrial, but intra-terrestrial!
 
Bryant RedHawk
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Indeed Inge, there is so much to learn about the earth mother that we might know enough to cover the point of a stick pin.
The oceans are less well known to us than outer space, the land is just a little ahead of the oceans in our knowledge base.

Soil is my frontier for now, but I consider that everything that lives in or uses soil as part of the soil, this includes humans (who's activities I tend to term stupid human tricks).

Humans are the only animal on this planet that have done harm to it, most of the extinctions over the past 300 years can be attributed to humans, loss of habitat, pollution, poisons, excessive use for food, war, the list can go on for quite a while.
Humans have shown that their primary influence is destruction and this can be found in the first known civilizations, humans are the only animal capable of destroying the very place that gives them life, and the record shows that is their intent, that to me is insanity.
 
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Hi Bryant

I remember back in the early '70s reading a book called "The Secret Life of Plants" by Peter Tomkins.
Have you ever had a chance to read it?

A free copy can be downloaded in various formats--eg: epub,pdf,kindle from:

https://archive.org/details/PeterTompkinsTheSecretLifeOfPlants
 
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We have done harm, we can, but we can also...

It also teaches us that we can effectively repair or replace those parts that have been destroyed by ourselves or others who came before us and that we can actually make those mechanisms better.


We are the only animal created with hands that can also clean a tree from dead branches, Just reading about California before the Europeans came, in tending the wild by Anderson, was revealing so much!

I have a question about my soil and what I can do...
It is a purely man-made soil, with stone terrasses.

- First I guess they are quite isolated one from the others, from the point of view of networks?
- 2nd, they are build over stones, thus with air trapped inside, and soil only at the top.
What is the consequence for the soil and the network? What can be done in such soils?

I want to dig that, with a machine, and remove some very big stones too close to the surface level, and remove some stones and add all trunks and organic matter I can find around, almond tree, cuts from my avocados and orange trees, prickly pear's trunks and pads etc. Of course I will not touch the orchard part with 20 years+ trees. But I might brake some distant roots for sure + affect the communication between different parts that are planted with trees.
My idea is a sort of in-soil hugel, 1 m deep if I can. i know I will destroy a lot, and aim to make something that can re-build itself, and then not touch it anymore. After all, this is what happened when they made those gardens!

Do you have anything to reply here, or should I make a whole topic of its own? Or both...
Thanks!
 
Bryant RedHawk
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R Jay wrote:
Hi Bryant

I remember back in the early '70s reading a book called "The Secret Life of Plants" by Peter Tomkins.
Have you ever had a chance to read it?

A free copy can be downloaded in various formats--eg: epub,pdf,kindle from:

https://archive.org/details/PeterTompkinsTheSecretLifeOfPlants



I have a first edition.
 
Bryant RedHawk
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hau Xisca,  when doing such earth works you want to have really good compost on hand to use both as an addition to the soil you disturbed and for making teas and extracts to use once you have completed the work.
This allows you to put back the organisms you killed as well as being able to add more organisms to make the "new soil" even better than it was before the disturbance.

I make additions to our soil every year and I make use of a lot of teas and extracts when I plant a new part of our orchard.
I use tea to water in the new trees since that will kick start the fungal network around the roots as well as settle in the soil.
I never remove rocks that are smaller than my fist, I like to leave those for structure within the soil and sources of minerals.

I have raised bed gardens and terraces, I treat each of these as if they were Islands that I want to have superior soil, so I spray teas three times a year and when I first build a new "Island" I inject compost extracts right after I fill the new space with compost added soil.
Once these are completed the cover crop is planted very thickly so it will hold the soil and give an organic matter boost. Come the next spring it is ready for planting after I do a chop and drop, I plant right through the new mulch from the cover crop.

Redhawk
 
Xisca Nicolas
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Hola RedHawk!
Thanks for your answer! I like your word "island", and as I am already in one, I was visualizing them more as "big plant pots".
Do you also have big rocks with air underneath? Or is it full soil though moved?
I was also considering fist size, except for the surface and when planting root veggies.

Conclusion: I have to look better at your posts and find the ones about making compost and teas! My "problem" is the amount of water needed, so my composts are too dry, especially the ones with branches.

Is it right that if made above ground, a lot of the nutrients are lost in the air and do not stay in the compost? To which nutrients would this apply if true?
I also had cactus compost covered with a plastic sheet, and I find light pieces with only the fiber left, but still whole.

Actually, I plan to burry organic matter that is not yet made compost... So that the humidity in the soil will make the compost directly there. Is it fine and then I would use only the teas?
 
Bryant RedHawk
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Xisca, my fist size rocks are usually down around 18" depth, they get smaller and smaller up through the soil layer (this gives me plenty  of rocks for wall building).
Root crop spaces I remove all but thumb nail sized and smaller, I make an addition of sand and finished compost so I have a soil consistency that will grow good root veggies (beets, carrots, radishes, etc.).

When you bury organic matter, you are not creating compost, you are just adding raw organic matter, this can turn into an anaerobic situation (which is the opposite of what we really want happening).

The main nutrients that can be lost to the air are carbon (CO2) and Nitrogen (ammonia gas), methane can also be released.

The cactus was probably eaten by beetles which left the ligneous fibers but ate the "flesh" which was where the moisture lived.

Redhawk
 
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Bryant RedHawk wrote:
There have been movies that featured Plants communicating with each other and even plants communicating with animals, which not so long ago would have been considered science fiction.
Now the scientific community is deep in the study of mechanisms that to many must seem like woo-woo or flying saucer type stuff.
.....we are just beginning to have the ability to detect and thus start to understand just how complex our world really is.



In one such study that finds focus on the interface between a plant and a disease-causing pathogen that is trying to gain access to the plant, it's now being shown that both plant and pathogen send RNA molecules to each other that affect the outcome of that interface challenge (see below).  It's been known for some time that other small molecules.....like plant hormones....are secreted by bacterial and fungal pathogens of plants as a part of their communication strategy.  The use of RNA is a rather interesting discovery as historically RNA was considered to be only an 'intercellular' messenger between the information stored in our genomes and the compartments of the cell in need of structure, nutrients, enzymes, and other parameters.  It was only a few years ago that it was determined that RNA produced in the roots of the plant could migrate, through the vascular system of the plant, to the upper reaches of the plant and affect flowering.  Now to find that it can cross biological kingdoms as a messenger of sorts.....from plants to microbes to insects and possibly to animals.....it really is getting interesting.  One could certainly imagine that if plants and microbes "talk" to each other with RNA during "defense negotiations", that they certainly may be able to do the same in the realm of symbiosis and synergy.  Just to think of the myriad other factors of which we still lack the observational skills and abilities....

[Note added:  I use 'messenger' here generically and not to be confused with the more narrow term "messenger RNA" that describes only a subset of total cellular RNA.]
RNAcommunication.JPG
[Thumbnail for RNAcommunication.JPG]
 
Bryant RedHawk
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hau John,  We are fortunate to live in this time of discovery. What I'm finding most interesting is; when I go through my old notebooks, from high school through my masters thesis I have "theories" written at that time which almost mirror many of the things that we are now able to discern.

In high school I theorized that the organisms of the soil talked with the plants and the plants talked with the soil organisms. 
In another note book from biology 102 has a theory that sick plants emanated to the atmosphere that they were sick and that insects would detect this and follow the "scent" back to the sick plant and then eat it.
In both of these notebooks there are "Red pencil comments" from the teacher the high school teacher said "I don't think they talk, but rather chemically communicate",  The bio 102 professor put in "Interesting theory, now devise experiments to prove it!"

At the time I was not able to prove either, but now we have access to instruments with which we can measure the chemical and electrical messaging with and thus we are discovering exactly how the plant kingdom and microbiology kingdom communicate with each other.
I find it all most interesting and exciting.

Redhawk

( I have always kept all my notebooks, my wife calls me a packrat)
 
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Bryant RedHawk wrote:When you bury organic matter, you are not creating compost, you are just adding raw organic matter, this can turn into an anaerobic situation (which is the opposite of what we really want happening).

The cactus was probably eaten by beetles which left the ligneous fibers but ate the "flesh" which was where the moisture lived.

Redhawk



All that is lignous get eaten and dry... so difficult to compost... thus a sort of burried "hugel" idea... I was thinking that the air trapped through the branches was going to help it stay aerobic! Also I was thinking about wood soaking some water for the dry season, and also limit the water running down and coming out of the foot of some walls! Surely full of nutrients going away...

What are the organisms going to say if they meet a pine trunk at 1m deep? And some branches and cactus pads at half meter?
Do you have a general opinion about organisms and hugel kultur even in the "normal" form? Maybe you are not fond of it? Or ok if above ground and not ok if burried?
 
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This is a great thread.  I have been seeking others to talk with about this subject because I have had various experiences communicating with the plant and fungal 'channels'.  I use the word channel to mean an unspoken avenue to communicate to a specific plant or group of plants or their 'spirit'.  I've made attempts at communicating those experiences with friends and I have a very difficult time coming up with the right words that apparently are totally lacking in our language to talk about alternate forms of communication.  (That said, when I use the apostrophe around a word in this post it means I don't have a better word in English for the meaning I am attempting to communicate.)  There is a perceptive channel that can be opened up and I've noticed that it is most open for me when I express gratitude.  It's as if that gratitude opens up a channel of communication. It's not gratitude alone however it is also clear intention. The 'speaking' to the plant or fungus can be done verbally or non-verbally, in a chant or a thought.  I have a friend who is from an indigenous tribe in the amazon basin. (Their tribe has not been 'colonized' for long, only about 50 years.) He says that they still 'speak' without words to one another.  He says that form of communication has been necessary to their survival.  Some people in their communities also are able to 'ask' the plants for their medicine and are able to be taught how to use the medicine through 'dreaming'.  I know we have a word for this - telepathy, but I'm not even sure if that's the right word.  I have a theory that all people are capable of using this sensory channel if they can open up their gating channels.  I'm reading a pretty heavy book right now called Plant Intelligence and the Imaginal Realm: Beyond the Doors of Perception into the Dreaming of earth by Stephen Harrod Buhner.  He also theorizes that anyone can intentionally open their 'gating channels' or 'doors of perception'.  I know the plant world and fungal world is open to communication on that level because I've witnessed it.  For me it comes through in 'whispers' and it is very real. (I was totally straight, not tripping out on anything.)  I'll share a couple of my experiences with you: I have wandered in the forest searching for fruiting Chanterelles and I 'asked' where they were and I got little 'whispers' in a particular direction.  I kept on the trail and was lead to a huge mass of fruiting Chanterelles! On a different occasion I was in placed in charge of running a primitive skills camp for children one year and we needed more bow drill kits.  I walked out into the woods blindly searching for cedar. I stopped myself and I 'asked' where the cedar was and I received a 'whisper' and I followed it.  Sure enough I was lead to a cedar tree that had a huge piece blown down and spires of thick broken wood that I was able to prune from the tree.  Interestingly I attempted to find that exact tree again with another person and it was completely hidden from me.  I couldn't find it (and I'm usually good at navigation) for some reason that day those channels were cut off and so was my ability to navigate.  Has anyone else had a similar experience communicating with plant, animal, insect, human or other animals? I have an understanding of the one consciousness and I wonder if within this there is a channel of communication all life (maybe even also the elements) has the ability to access? 
 
Bryant RedHawk
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Xisca Nicolas wrote:

Bryant RedHawk wrote:When you bury organic matter, you are not creating compost, you are just adding raw organic matter, this can turn into an anaerobic situation (which is the opposite of what we really want happening).

The cactus was probably eaten by beetles which left the ligneous fibers but ate the "flesh" which was where the moisture lived.

Redhawk



All that is lignous get eaten and dry... so difficult to compost... thus a sort of burried "hugel" idea... I was thinking that the air trapped through the branches was going to help it stay aerobic! Also I was thinking about wood soaking some water for the dry season, and also limit the water running down and coming out of the foot of some walls! Surely full of nutrients going away...

What are the organisms going to say if they meet a pine trunk at 1m deep? And some branches and cactus pads at half meter?
Do you have a general opinion about organisms and hugel kultur even in the "normal" form? Maybe you are not fond of it? Or ok if above ground and not ok if burried?



The best wood to bury is wood that is already fully colonized by fungi (rotting) wood in this state will soak up water like a sponge and release it upon plant demand.
If you have so much space in a hugel that there are air pockets what will happen is mound collapse, think of those air pockets as sink holes waiting to happen, this is usually one of the issues that cause new hugels to fail.
Hugel mounds are great once they get rolling (mine seem to take about 3 months to really start to work well).

If all you want to bury is wood, there are no worries because that material will not go anaerobic, it is when you start adding food stuffs that problems start to occur.
The best mound I've ever built is one that has really "punky" wood at the bottom (it is buried about 25 inches), on top of that is wood that was covered in turkey tail fruits and on top of that, fresh cut limbs were stacked, cut so that there was little space between them.
The whole mound was then stuffed with rotting manure mixed with straw and old moldy hay then it was covered with soil that was topsoil and clay soil (horizons 1 and 2 on my land) that I mixed until homogenous, this was then seeded and a sprinkler (swing arm type) was turned on to settle everything in.
This mound now has our Rosemary plant, Egyptian walking onions and some squashes planted on it. Only the squashes have to be replanted each year.

Redhawk
 
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Yes jennifer I have had this experience, with plants but more with animals.

My studies have led me to animals and humans and the autonomic nervous system, those language is the felt-sense, also called the inner wise or the unspoken voice!
Though we can translate this language into words, and there is a communication between the different parts of the brain, ANS, limbic and cortex, it is indeed difficult to use words for telling what is happening at this level. I just know that this is not magic and already supporte by science. This way of communicating is first with oneself, second with fellows we are related to with a sense of engagement, thus what you say about thankfulness.... and this sense can be shared especially with other mammals, and then with all other creatures. The more different the more difficult. That is why your friend said they could communicate among themselves but only some persons could communicate fully with the plants. It also comes and go, as you noticed.

I have also worked with children in such programs, and was transmitting this skill as much as possible and without talking with words. I would love to do this again...
 
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In the plant world there are many different types (genus, family, etc.) but all can and do communicate with the others around them, sometimes plants of the same species will call out to all the others of their kind that they can reach.
We know now that root systems of trees (for example) will stretch far beyond the previously thought limit of the "drip line" and it isn't uncommon to find roots from different plants holding onto roots of other plants (both same species and other species).
When we add to this "network" the extremely long strands of hyphae of a well developed fungal network, and the abilities of plants to let the wind carry chemical messages that are picked up by other plants leaves, we can see that there is a huge probability of communications by plants to be able to reach far distant relatives.

Plants use three main methods of communication;
1) Exudates, chemical signals designed to communicate with microorganisms so the plant can receive the nutrients they require, delivered to the hair (feeder) roots.
All plants use exudates to signal bacteria and fungi, the stimulus causes the organisms to excrete enzymes that dissolve rock and release minerals which the organisms then devour with excesses being available to the plant roots.
Exudates can also be of the distress signal variety which attracts root eating nematodes and other predatory organisms to the plant in distress, these organisms eat the distressed plant and if there are other, healthy plants of the same species nearby, they too might end up eaten.

2) Electrical Discharge Signals, similar to human nerve signals, these can be discharged to the air via the leaves or through the roots to the fungal hyphae that are found around the root system.
    The frequency, intensity and duration of these discharges has great meaning to same species plants, depending on the completeness of the fungal network, these signals can travel great distances in very short time spans.
    Warnings of insect attacks, disease attacks and need of airborne moisture seem to be the majority of this type of signal, how ever it is also probable that other messages, would be sent by electrical current discharges too.
    When a plant is injured (such as if a tree fell on the plant, injuring it or if it is being eaten by animals) it will visibly shake as it sends out a series of distress signals, the first of which is the electrical discharge, followed in rapid succession by aerosol expulsions and exudate excretions.
These are obvious reactions by the plant to what is happening in its environment.


3) Aerosol Discharge Signals, chemical signals released through the leaf stoma to the air, these signals can be either warnings to other plants, distress signals that attract predatory insects (either beneficial or destructive).
Water attractant molecules (these molecules draw water vapor molecules to them to increase humidity around the plant leaves, in some instances they can even create a rain fall event to occur).
Leaf stoma are two way organs that function the same way human noses function, they inhale and then exhale, when they exhale the chemical signal of stress or distress, predator insects pick up the chemical signal and follow it back to the plant, which is then devoured.
If the plant is under attack by a virus,r parasitic fungus or other disease, it will send out air borne chemical signals warning other plants of the threat so they can buildup their defenses against the threat.

As we find out more ways plants interact with their environment, both above the soil and within the soil, and we are able to measure more of the methods plants use to interact with each other, it becomes evident that we have been ignorant of the complexity of the plant world.

Redhawk



 
Xisca Nicolas
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Of course we are ignorant of this about plants! We are even ignorant of this about ourselves! We do not even use properly our own capacities of electric discharge signals!!! When we feel them, we do our best to stop them, like trembling and shaking, because we are ahame to show we are "be shaken by fear"... Actually we are not, we shake OFF the activation of an escape! Same as plants...

I would like to understand better why plants would send signals that attrack predators.... they for sure have another use, and then predators have learned to pick up the cues!
 
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hau Xisca,  As you have brought up, the distress signals (analogous to humans crying) sent out by plants are probably intended for other plants instead of predators or parasites but these destroyers have learned to follow those cries for help because they have associated them with easy meals.
There are a few theories out that indicate that plants call the destroyers to them because they are sick.
I theorize (like you have done) that the destroyers simply follow the distress calls intended for others of the same kind, or for possible healing organisms, similarly as a hyena or other predator follows the cries of an injured animal to an easy meal.

Redhawk
 
Xisca Nicolas
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Hola Bryant, this is fascinating because I have been theorizing about this too... I have been specialized more in animals and behaviour in general including ours, and the nervous system.

So.... if I can relate vegetal and animal worlds in one way, I can relate them the other way round!

Let me try a theory!

The distress calls would NOT be intended for other plants, but for themselves! We can do this, animals can do this, so if plants can do a lot of similar things as us why not this one?
Self-soothing.... Self-healing and self-regulation!
This is electric and can be perceived. Then as it is for animals, especially mammals, there is also a co-regulation that takes place, so this can go to other plants, but not to warn them, just to get some electric support, like we need a shoulder for crying. It would be like sending a signal and getting an amplified echo, facilitating the healing?

And yes this means easier meal for some...
 
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Today I cut a lot of plants.... So I was thinking about the projection of being hurting and creating suffering... And in that case, if we do not know from the start that we live on others sacrifices, then we might get some "cultural shock" when we get aware of the massacres we do! What if some people get shocked the same as what motivates vegans? Some people are trying to become breatharians for example.

I have found that this all come to the lack of preparation children get, and by giving guilt or shame for what should be part of life.

I know only one way to not focus on the suffering of taking life, and it is to be thankful to receive life. Instead of "I am sorry and I won't be doing it again." there is "I am sorry and I am thankful".

And plants are better than animals to teach this. I look at plants each time I see some crowded seedlings growing, all covering the ground, so many! And I when I weed patches of grown up plants, they are always much less! It does not matter to plants, and they do not compete. They cooperate, and they are all too happy to be covering the ground so that it is shaded as fast as possible, and then some just die, and it is just a way to give their substance to the ground so that the sister on her side can grow!

And I can see this even better in rocky soils. Plants grow even if they cannot grow to adults before dying. They still leave some matter, and some root in a crack.... and the next plant has a better pathway, and more organic matter, and will grow a bit more and have strength to brake more rock... and one day you see plants thriving where you would not have expected them to grow!

They are teachers for living and for using our nervous system the right way...
 
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Excellent cognitive thinking Xisca, you brought up a theory that I am currently doing some experiments on.
That is the theory of reciprocal sympathetic response by plants and microorganisms to distress signals from plants under attack. (I'm using some squash plants in this first battery, since we have a problem with squash bugs right now.)

When you look deeply into my culture you find that we are very aware of the fact that we take lives so that we might live, it starts at the age of two.
We are exposed to what it takes to survive in the world and how we must give thanks to all who give their life so that we can live.
If we go to harvest food from plants, we first tell the plant why we are there, next is asking forgiveness for having to harm the being so that we can have the nourishment it will provide.
At that point we do what we must do swiftly so the being does not suffer needlessly and  we then make use of all that was given to us so that nothing is wasted.
Once we have finished the harvesting, we give the earth mother gifts for providing the bounty of her efforts and we send up prayers for the fallen being(s) who gave their life for us to live.

For me, everything is alive, rock, grass, tree, bush, air, water, fire, everything has a spirit and that means that everything has life and should be honored and respected.

As my mentor was fond of saying. "All things around us are living beings, we do not take these beings lightly for we too are living beings, if we must take life to live, then we must ask forgiveness, be thankful and show the utmost respect for that is what wakantanka (the great mystery) desires us to do.
If we do not do these things the right way, we will be lost."

Redhawk
 
Xisca Nicolas
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I know this deeply... I got it from ny grand-father, though it was a mysterious transmission, as we had no time for it when he lived. I got the feeling through feeling the respect of my mother. He died when I was going to be 11, and for my birthday, I received a big book, all about your culture.... Then I bought more, and ...I brought myself up through this! I was reading all between the lines, seeing some questions that I answered many years after.

So this is more than cognitive thinking! Still, I am amazed that you do some research about what I have come up with!

Have you heard about the polyvagal theory of Steven Porges? Do you know what is the ventral vagal? In brief, the part of the vagus nerve that is responsable for social engagement and face cues... It is supposed to be specific of mammals, though part of the ANS, Autonomic Nervous System usually called reptilian brain! The dorsal vagal is responsable of digestion, immunity and rest, but also of the freeze response, to various degrees, up to shutting down the access to the ventral part.

Let's see what is the ANS equivalent in plants... Even in mere cells, there is an equivalent: the intracellular liquid! We too have cells memory.
 
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Brava! So, is this going to be your PHD dissertation? Quite a good track I think.
 
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Bryant RedHawk wrote:
When you look deeply into my culture you find that we are very aware of the fact that we take lives so that we might live, it starts at the age of two.
We are exposed to what it takes to survive in the world and how we must give thanks to all who give their life so that we can live.
If we go to harvest food from plants, we first tell the plant why we are there, next is asking forgiveness for having to harm the being so that we can have the nourishment it will provide.
At that point we do what we must do swiftly so the being does not suffer needlessly and  we then make use of all that was given to us so that nothing is wasted.
Once we have finished the harvesting, we give the earth mother gifts for providing the bounty of her efforts and we send up prayers for the fallen being(s) who gave their life for us to live.

For me, everything is alive, rock, grass, tree, bush, air, water, fire, everything has a spirit and that means that everything has life and should be honored and respected.



It's difficult to be quantitative....and maybe that's the wrong word....for how widely this ethic is taking hold.  Many cultures seemed to share this belief but have been pushed to the fringes in recent decades.  I'm grateful for having embraced some of these notions.....can feel the difference between when I was much younger and now.  In earlier days, a tree was just a tree....in the way of "progress", be it an addition on the house, a concrete driveway to be poured, more manicured lawn to be seeded, etc.   That tree was just cut down with no further consideration.  But just yesterday as we needed to thin out some trees that were over-crowding a rarer oak on the property, I pretty much did a similar thing to what you described but clearly without the cultural history behind me.  I apologized to it and gave it thanks for holding the bank near our stream.  For providing home for the past bird nests and seeds for the squirrels.  Finally, it was offered thanks for the wood that would provide heat in the winter and offered homage to its brothers and sisters and ancestors nearby.  I realize it's a pretty small change in our thinking and feeling....but I've tried to relay this change in sentiment to others met along the way as one small way to assist the evolution of this view.  At a gut level, I actually think that people 'want' to have this kind of connection and compassion for the "others", but are too stuck in the cultural rut to change without some sort of assistance.  So.....just like "the job you don't get is the one you don't apply for..", I guess I feel "the person who stays stuck may be the one you don't offer help to...".
 
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It is great that you bring this up John, and it seems more like a reawakening of the old ways, those which were around before even Roman times.
Much of the reawakening of ancient values seems to be coming from the Celtic revival. I don't care where it comes from, as long as people continue to reawaken.

At powwow's there are more and more non-natives coming with open minds, eager to learn the old ways.
They participate in the dances, ask about and are taught how people should behave towards all living beings.
Many even like the fact that the proper view of the planet is that everything is alive and has spirit.
This is just one of the steps in bringing people into the mind set that we must save the planet by repairing what has been destroyed in the name of greed.

I am always talking about these sorts of things to people, I even talk about the creator, wakantanka and how we are all being watched and watched over by the great mystery.

Be well kola, always.

Redhawk
 
Xisca Nicolas
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Bryant RedHawk wrote:Brava! So, is this going to be your PHD dissertation? Quite a good track I think.



I study on my own. I am very far from having this university level... I was part of the good pupils who could not go on their studies because of competition or human issues... I was too disgusted like having just a fair copy at exam, and the teacher mentionning that it was not personal enough because I just wrote the course ...that I had not followed.

Imagine an english lesson on a text of Mark Twain, when I contesting her analysis and saying that the rythm of the text, describing his waiting of the sun rise near Mississipi boats. was constructed upon the actual rythm of the sun rising, showing that the author had really lived it, with the sort of "false dawn" making you excited and then nothing comes and you nearly fall asleep, and then suddenly you realise it is here! Showing also that I had been waiting for the sun, and that the teacher never had.

John Weiland wrote:At a gut level, I actually think that people 'want' to have this kind of connection and compassion for the "others", but are too stuck in the cultural rut to change without some sort of assistance.  So.....just like "the job you don't get is the one you don't apply for..", I guess I feel "the person who stays stuck may be the one you don't offer help to...".



This gut level is the ANS I talked about. And it is this "electric stuff" Bryant is talking about....

We indeed want to send our signals to other human beings and connect and feel what other feel and give them support and receive support. I also tend to think that culture has not always helped... Animals do it better than us!
 
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I am so sorry you did not have good teachers Xisca, it is ineed very discouraging when you have teachers who don't use their brains or aren't clear about what they want/expect from the student.

I am very happy to see that you too, are one of those who seek knowledge on their own, I think this is what truly sets humans apart, that we have a thirst for learning new things, just to know them.
(you are on to something that will be big, that's why I raised the question)

Redhawk
 
Xisca Nicolas
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Thanks Bryant, I am very honnored, and your comments help me repair in my heart the lack of validation I got... Not all teachers can handle a pupil that raise a finger in class to say "No m'am, inuit do not build igloos with ice but with snow compressed by the wind"! I would love to go back to children programs! I did not go on with horses but used dogs, and now I was thinking about what can be done through plants... and you give me a way, a direction!
Actually, when I was running children camps, I was already using plants a lot in teaching. I invented nature games with both animals and plants. I was not teaching names as it is useless and they mix them all, but I had found indirect ways to teach them to watch instead of seeing a green mass.
My way of learning is by crossing informations from different fields, this is what gives me ideas that I have not learned. When I first learned about myconets, I said "I was sure there was something!" but I could not know before how plants were doing it, without getting some informations.
When I learned about our cells having the water medium inside (I learn cranio-sacral) playing the same role as the ANS, I thought that it was the same then for plants.
But is this mainstream, at least for us?
And plants get informations through water, or else why would they start to sprout with the first little rain, and not with heavy watering? Okey, they say it is because of electric charge, because of nitrogen etc... but I have another idea, not instead, but to add: because dripping water does not water everywhere like rain! So they know it is not enough water, and it does not wake up soil activity! I think almost only plants already well rooted can make benefit of this added summer water we give them.
Again, and deeply felt, thanks!
 
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Just adding this recent reference on atmosphere/biosphere/rhizosphere connectedness:

"In light of the various ways
by which vegetated land cover and its associated microorganisms
can influence surface temperature, winds, clouds, and precipitation,
phytobiomes have the potential to actively modulate local and
regional climate, and to mitigate climate change. Therefore, to
effectively tackle the grand challenges in plant production and food
security, phytobiomes need to be explored at regional scales as well
as at farm, plant and microscopic scales. It will be particularly
important to elucidate the upscaling of biotic/abiotic interactions at
the microscopic and plant levels to regional levels."

-- https://apsjournals.apsnet.org/doi/pdf/10.1094/PBIOMES-12-17-0050-P
 
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Very pertinent John, There are currently some areas (Amazon basin, western region) that studies are going on now.
The local population has traditionally used fire to clear areas for new farm land but now this results in massive virgin forest being burnt to a crisp.
The reasons for the fires quickly getting out of hand are humidity related, the forest is drying out (fast becoming a "used to be a rain forest") the dryer land and air doesn't prevent the purpose set fires from spreading so quickly they get out of hand in just a few minutes.
In the past this was not a problem because the dampness (that was the old normal) slowed the fires and they went out.
No longer is that the case, but the locals don't understand that their following the tradition of clearing by fire needs to be at the least put on hold.
Instead they continue to light their fires and watch helplessly as the flora and fauna they depend on for their livelihood are burnt up. (mark this one under Stupid Human Tricks, destroying that which gives you life is insane and idiotic at the same time)
The only fire fighters in this area of Brazil are volunteer fire fighters, they currently have to handle something on the order of 50 fires a week, that have gotten out of control.
Last year this part of the Amazon lost 100,000 acres of accidently burned virgin rain forest, this type of devastation has to stop or the whole planet will feel the effects of the loss of this virgin rain forest since the planet will only heat up faster, more CO2 and CO goes into the atmosphere and those have to go somewhere.
The oceans are already maxed out on the quantity of CO2 that they can hold, The lack of enough trees to gather in more CO2 becomes a bigger problem every month, not every year but every month.
Many of the clear cut areas aren't able to grow the replacement trees because of lack of water holding ability of the soils holding the seedlings.

I fear we are at or nearing the point where like the walrus said to the oysters, the time has come!

The inability of people to understand that no one is joking about the dire set of circumstances we are in are mostly cause by humans creates the situation that we are fast approaching terminal velocity and once we reach that point, it will be the classic "bend over and kiss your ass goodbye" point of no time left to fix our mess.
I am constantly amazed by how many people are unwilling to accept that humans have released far too much CO2 and other forms of carbon into the air and water, our massive burning of fossil fuels and lack of trying to find other, better sources of energy that do less polluting for so many years has risen up and is biting our butts. Sure global warming probably would happen with out human intervention but the facts are evident and the science is in and humans are guilty as hell. Fueled by greed humans have stripped the land of huge old growth trees that could sequester their weight in carbon every 6 months, we have added many light hydrocarbons to an atmosphere that has no way to encapsulate or otherwise sequester them so they rise through our protective ozone layer and help destroy it. Most of the CO2 being released today is adsorbed by the oceans, but it doesn't stay there long before it is released back into the atmosphere where it can create a thermal blanket many miles above earths crust and hold in even more heat.
Polar Ice is melting so fast that areas that have not seen the light of the sun for over a hundred thousand years now lay basking in ultraviolet rays. Permafrost that never thawed is now melting away, never to return. Orca's are able to hunt Narwhales, a prey they never used to be able to get to.

As POGO stated many years ago "We has met the enemy, and he is US!"
Unless humans "man up" and admit they did this horrible thing to our planet, which without it we will indeed perish, then we are in the last throes of human existence today.
Humans took 200 years of high activity to get a planet billions of years old to the brink of another mass extinction event, one that will rival the dinosaurs extinction but the cause of this one will be one of the species that perishes.

Optimist give us 100 to 150 years from now to make the changes.
Observations are currently showing that we have maybe 50 years to get most of the problems fixed, not on the mend but actually fixed.
In the 1950's the oceans were rising at .03 centimeters a year, in the 1960's this rate had increased to.05, but this is hard to grasp how significant that is.
To make it easier to understand from 1950 to 2018 the ocean levels have risen almost 1.5 feet, which means that at the current rate of ice melt, it will be 2025 when Miami streets are under ocean water.  It also means that some of the low islands that are currently tourist attractions will be under water.
In the 1970's many of us in the scientific world were trying to warn governments that something we were doing was causing big problems that would only get worse if we didn't do something about them now. We were scoffed at and for the most part disregarded because we were paranoid.
I do believe the evidence supports us now and those governments need to hang their heads for the big I TOLD YOU SO.
Instead we who were scoffed and not believed are still the ones doing the majority of the corrective work, but it may be too little too late unless we can cause a wholesale change in methodologies.

Redhawk
 
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