We all need friends in life. And so does our grass. The soil biology are great friends of the plant. Scientists say that up to 40% of the sugars and starches (milk and cookies) produced by photosynthesis are dispensed into the soil to feed the biology. The bacteria, fungi, protozoa and nematodes, in return, access nutrients for the plant, fend off invaders and improve the soil. Everyone brings something to the party. The soil is a great place for a good time if it has plenty of air, water and organic matter.
We are invited to this party, too, if we can be nice to the other guests. Rules of etiquette require that we don’t destroy the biology with harmful chemicals. Water soluble nitrogen doesn’t need the biology to break it down. Like fast food, it makes the plant weak and lazy. It doesn’t encourage root growth and drives off the beneficial life that prevents disease. Then we use herbicides and fungicides to drive off the bad actors that show up to crash our nice little soiree.
If we want to set the table for a groovy time, where everyone gets along, we let the grass grow long, green blades that bask in the sunlight. We relieve compaction so the roots can stretch out and get some air and take a little drink. We don’t need a keg, just enough cool liquid to quench our thirst. We can bring a little extra food for the biology and maybe a bit of limestone to help everyone chill. If we really want to get down, we can invite some more guys and dolls from the compost and compost tea. We can add some seed to crowd the dance floor. Then we can roll around on our lawn and enjoy all that noise coming from down in the soil. Spread the love, go organic.