killing microorganisms

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killing microorganisms

Post  waway on Thu Sep 03, 2009 12:30 pm

Hi all.

Pls. help me clarify something. Do inorganic/chemical fertilizer kill the microorganisms in the soil?

I have read in the internet that using inorganic/chemical fertilizer can kill the microorganisms found in the soil which are responsible in the decomposition process. It's because I'm using fish emulsion and liquid seaweed extract, and miracle grow alternately. I'm just afraid that my time and effort would just be wasted if I'm going to use the organics (which I assume would increase the activity and population of microorganisms) then apply the inorganic. Which would eventually kills the microorganisms. I'm using 1 part cat litter, 1 part pumice and 1 part vermicompost. Is my feeding regimen alright or do I have to choose either organic or inorganic?

Thanks.

Warren

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Re: killing microorganisms

Post  JimLewis on Thu Sep 03, 2009 1:41 pm

I don't think I'd worry too much. This is going to make a lot of people here huffy, but the value of mychorizza fungi to bonsai has been vastly overstated.

Our soil is (or should be) most inorganic -- which is hostile to mychorizzal fungi. We transplant and replace our soil with great frequency -- also hostile to mychorizza. We give our trees all the fertilizer they need, thus eliminating the most valuable function that mychorizza provide in nature -- helping roots gather nutrients from barren soils.

While it certainly doesn't hurt our trees if mychorizza show up in our soils, it's no big deal if we don't have any, either. So use whatever fertilizer procedures or combinations work for you.

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Re: killing microorganisms

Post  waway on Fri Sep 04, 2009 12:13 am

Ok now I get it. Thank you Jim.

Warren

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Killing Microorganisms

Post  bonsaisr on Fri Sep 04, 2009 1:29 am

First of all, your fertilizer will not affect microorganisms in the soil.
Jim, I think he was referring to soil bacteria that are responsible for the decay of organic matter. Mycorrhizal (sic) fungi are inside or right on the roots. If you have to use a soil fungicide drench, that would damage your mycorrhizae, but if you had root rot, it might be necessary.
Warren, conditions in the tropics may be entirely different, but in this part of the world, we don't particularly want the organic component of the soil to decay very fast, because that leads to compaction & we have to repot. Does your soil mix drain rapidly?
I used to be very skeptical of the value of mycorrhizae to bonsai, but the tree extension lady found me several references to studies that showed the use of mycorrhizae reduced the need for fertilizer in container plants. This was mainly useful to the nursery trade, but it might have implications for bonsai. I use Micro Plus, a combination of trace elements and mycorrhizal inoculant. I have been using it mainly on conifers, but I will try it on some other weak trees. It definitely prevents attacks by tigers. Wink
Iris

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Endo vs Ectomycorrhizal

Post  drjmarrero on Fri Sep 04, 2009 12:19 pm

I want to add that mycorrhizal inoculant might be helpful to succesfully grow conifers, specially those from temperates areas.

Conifers do not have the mycorrhizal organisms in their roots, but in the soil. They help the plant to process the nutrients from the soil. These organisms are indigenous to the areas so they tend to be incorporated to the soil even when used as barren as stated before. For this plants, it certainly aids to make them grow faster to add some inoculant mix. I used to grow firs, junipers and pines down here in the Caribbean area, but they don't thrive if you don't inoculate the soil periodically. Very few conifers tolerate tropical weather or being without a wintering period.

In the tropical weather, you do not need inoculants. Your trees grow with these mycorrhizal organisms inside their roots.

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Re: killing microorganisms

Post  landerloos on Fri Sep 04, 2009 12:48 pm

drjmarrero wrote:I want to add that mycorrhizal inoculant might be helpful to succesfully grow conifers, specially those from temperates areas.

Conifers do not have the mycorrhizal organisms in their roots, but in the soil. They help the plant to process the nutrients from the soil. These organisms are indigenous to the areas so they tend to be incorporated to the soil even when used as barren as stated before. For this plants, it certainly aids to make them grow faster to add some inoculant mix. I used to grow firs, junipers and pines down here in the Caribbean area, but they don't thrive if you don't inoculate the soil periodically. Very few conifers tolerate tropical weather or being without a wintering period.

In the tropical weather, you do not need inoculants. Your trees grow with these mycorrhizal organisms inside their roots.

Even the mycorrhiza that is in the soil is attached to the roots, research show if once a tree hase this fungii its no use to inocculate it, with repotting you never cut all the mycorrhiza, it should grow out again after a couple of days, I never use inocculants or old soil, and al my pines growing media is filled with the fungii.
Jim, once again we disagree, My opinion is that trees with mycorrhiza are stronger and the abillity to uptake of nutrients is better.
Your wright if it is a species that is not so bound by mycorrhiza and its bennefits.

Peter

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Re: killing microorganisms

Post  waway on Fri Sep 04, 2009 1:28 pm

bonsaisr wrote:First of all, your fertilizer will not affect microorganisms in the soil.

Warren, conditions in the tropics may be entirely different, but in this part of the world, we don't particularly want the organic component of the soil to decay very fast, because that leads to compaction & we have to repot. Does your soil mix drain rapidly?

Iris

I think it drains fast (water stays in the topsoil when directing the water hose for some time then drains after about 2seconds) but not as fast as the or inorganic soil mix.

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Re: killing microorganisms

Post  waway on Fri Sep 04, 2009 1:31 pm

landerloos wrote:

Even the mycorrhiza that is in the soil is attached to the roots, research show if once a tree hase this fungii its no use to inocculate it, with repotting you never cut all the mycorrhiza, it should grow out again after a couple of days, I never use inocculants or old soil, and al my pines growing media is filled with the fungii.
Jim, once again we disagree, My opinion is that trees with mycorrhiza are stronger and the abillity to uptake of nutrients is better.
Your wright if it is a species that is not so bound by mycorrhiza and its bennefits.

Peter

How do we know that mychorrhiza is present in the soil?

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Re: killing microorganisms

Post  Ka Pabling on Fri Sep 04, 2009 3:34 pm

JimLewis wrote:I don't think I'd worry too much. This is going to make a lot of people here huffy, but the value of mychorizza fungi to bonsai has been vastly overstated.

Our soil is (or should be) most inorganic -- which is hostile to mychorizzal fungi. We transplant and replace our soil with great frequency -- also hostile to mychorizza. We give our trees all the fertilizer they need, thus eliminating the most valuable function that mychorizza provide in nature -- helping roots gather nutrients from barren soils.

While it certainly doesn't hurt our trees if mychorizza show up in our soils, it's no big deal if we don't have any, either. So use whatever fertilizer procedures or combinations work for you.

Bonsais are apolitical when it comes to fertilizers, it wont mind if its organic or chemical
fertilizer..Pabling

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Re: killing microorganisms

Post  Kev Bailey on Fri Sep 04, 2009 3:40 pm

If it is present in the soil you usually can't miss it. For pines especially its presence is so beneficial that I can usually tell by looking at a tree if the roots are being aided by myccorhizae. It will colonise the surface, especially the root/pot interface with a creamy coloured very fine mesh that can resemble wooly root aphid. Once you can spot the difference, it is obvious. I often place a small flat stone on the surface of pots, so that I can intermittently lift it off and check for the telltale myc. I do add a pinch of healthy myc to just below the soil of trees (of the same species) that aren't showing signs of any, and more often than not it works.


Last edited by Kev Bailey on Sat Sep 05, 2009 8:50 am; edited 1 time in total

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Worrying too much

Post  drjmarrero on Fri Sep 04, 2009 5:33 pm

Waba, do not be too worried about this area. Almost all the plants you are going to be working with have little problem with their soil's environment.

You have to worry more about your watering and feeding methods, and your soil mix. Check with your local bonsai club.

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Killing Microorganisms

Post  bonsaisr on Sat Sep 05, 2009 12:33 am

waway wrote:
I think it drains fast (water stays in the topsoil when directing the water hose for some time then drains after about 2seconds) but not as fast as the inorganic soil mix.
I am very hesitant about making suggestions to you, because I know how I feel when experts from the tropics try to tell me what to pot my bonsai in, having no understanding of my growing conditions. bounce However, I am a little concerned about the worm castings as your organic component. If that is your only possible source of organic matter, so be it. How fast do your trees dry out? If you have any problem with soggy soil, perhaps you can just increase the proportion of pumice. As somebody else suggested, check with your local bonsai club about recommended bonsai soil. I agree with Dr. Marrero.

Recent research has found that virtually all trees use mycorrhiza (note spelling). When I repotted my long-neglected pomegranate (see thread by that name), my instincts told me to add mycorrhiza, so I did. Now I just Googled up a study where they found that pomegranates given mycorrhiza grew much better than those without.
Iris

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Re: killing microorganisms

Post  NeilDellinger on Sat Sep 05, 2009 5:51 pm

Just questioning a bit of your logic Jim.

Our soil that is "hostile" to the fungi holds little water, and retains few nutrients..Agreed. (could be considered somewhat hostile to our trees too).
Given that the soil holds few nutrients, why would we not want to encourage the beneficial fungi? Afterall, we should each be trying to optimize growth and health...as opposed just keeping them green. Besides that "vastly" is a pretty broad assumption with so much other contrary evidence and experience out there.

I can say from personal experience my trees do grow better when I use certain organic fertilizers which have been proven to assist micro organism growth. ie rapeseed cakes and or cottonseed meal. No controlled experiments, just careful observation of how my plants are growing.

Neil

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Re: killing microorganisms

Post  JimLewis on Sat Sep 05, 2009 6:16 pm

I said that people will get all huffy about this, but I'll stick with what I've said.

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Killing Microorganisms

Post  bonsaisr on Sat Sep 05, 2009 7:36 pm

I've never been in either place, but Tulsa may be a different growing environment from North Carolina, & their soil mixes may be different. Rolling Eyes
There is an old Jewish story: Two men went to their rabbi with a dispute. The first man tells his story, and the rabbi says, "You're right."
The second man says, "Wait a minute, you haven't even heard my side of the story," and proceeds to tell it.
The rabbi says, "Yes, you're right."
A fellow at the back of the room pipes up, "Rabbi, this doesn't make sense. First you tell one guy he's right, then you tell the other one he's right. They can't both be right."
The rabbi answers, "You're right too."
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