The Right Stuff for Soils and Plants

By Mojtaba Zaifnejad, PhD

When applied fertilizers benefit soil health and plant growth, and are readily available to them, it is said that they are bioavailable. The extent of bioavailability of nutrients and fertilizers applied to soil and plants determines their effectiveness in improving soil health and crop yield.

In addition to the 4Rs approach, the factors affecting this mineral nutrient bioavailability include, but are not limited to, parent material of the fertilizers; their oxidation (saddening) or reduction (making happy) state for plants; what kind of carrier they ride on (chelated or complexed); whether they are taking healthy treats (right source of carbons) to the host, its children, and workers (beneficial microbes); and whether that treat is a long-lasting one for everybody. If the coming guest (fertilizer) can help the hosts (plant and soil) to handle bad neighbors (insects, disease, weeds, etc.) and harsh circumstances (droughts, floods, wind, etc.), that is better yet. [Read more…]

Humic Acids vs. Compost

Two of the most common methods used for rapidly increasing soil organic matter and improving soil biology are to add compost or to add humic substances. There are pros and cons with each. [Read more…]

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