The Benefits of Microbes in Soil Biology

This month, we applied microbial foods and biology to the soil that supports the lawns of our customers. The soil is a living breathing place with air, water and billions of micro-organisms breaking things down and building things up. It is a little quiet down there now, but it will soon be crackling with activity as the weather moderates and the cool season grasses come to life.

Bacteria are all the rage in the mainstream media these days. Commentators are amazed at the number of bacterial cells in the body and the power they wield. Bacteria affect our moods because they metabolize food and control hormone levels. Members of a family, and their pets, who eat, breathe and touch in the same environment, have similar bacterial profiles.

According to the NY Times, “Like ecosystems the world over, the human microbiome is losing its diversity, to the potential detriment of the health of those it inhabits.” Don’t forget the ecosystem. The overuse of antibiotics affects the bacteria in our bodies and probably causes the rise in many diseases and ailments. The overuse of pesticides depletes and changes the makeup of soil biology. Soil that is compacted and low in organic matter doesn’t have too many worms or other life. We may not notice it but I’m sure the plants and animals do.

Who runs this show anyway? Some people seem to think humans do. The guy in the Roundup commercial trying to prove his manhood by blasting a dandelion claims, “And the only good weed is one that’s dead.” I remember the other slogan, “Wishing you a bug free summer.” The birds and the bees may take issue. And as for the microbes, I’m sure they would happily hum along without us, but without them, we’d be toast. Learn more about lawn care chemicals in this article.

The abundance of life chattering and buzzing around us often goes unnoticed, at least by me. I don’t suppose those creatures pay much attention to us, either, as they lead their busy lives. I remember how quiet it was in the winter and now the place is nuts. As for the soil biology, they are underfoot and out of mind. I’ll be going to a seminar on soil at Cornell in August and I’ll see what I can find out.

We had solar panels installed last fall and after a few glitches and a lot of snow on the roof, we are now getting negative electric bills every month. It’s nice to look forward to the electric bill each month and cranking up the air conditioning feels a whole lot better.

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