A Living Soil

Soil is a living, dynamic ecosystem. Healthy soil is teeming with microscopic and larger organisms that perform many vital functions including converting decaying matter and minerals to plant nutrients, controlling pests and pathogens, or even producing and regulating plant growth hormones. When the soil is exploited for crop production without adequately maintaining good conditions for these microorganisms, the nutrient cycles are broken, and soil fertility declines.

One of the reasons this happens is due to how plants acquire nutrients from the soil. Plants absorb nutrients through osmosis. Because of this, for a nutrient to be available to a plant it must be in an ionized or “chelated” state in which it can bind to soils until dissolved in solution through cation or anion exchange.

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Most nutrients that are found in an ecosystem are usually not found in a form that is available to plants. Typically this is because they are locked up in organic biomass. When nutrients are in this state, they are sometimes referred to as immobilized, or "locked out".

It is only through decomposition by microbes that these nutrients become made available to plants or "mineralized". So without adequate soil life, once a plant consumes the existing nutrients in the soil, it has no way to access more.

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But not all soil organisms are equal. As most plants, particularly most crop plants, have similar environmental needs for their roots, there is a relatively specific subset of organisms that are optimal for creating the symbiotic relationships that lead to healthy and productive plants. Just like how different communities of animals are adapted to different environments, different soil environments will favour different communities of microbes. It is when the soil conditions are not well suited for the symbiotic organisms that opportunistic pathogens thrive and plant health suffers.

This is why it is so important to insure that a soil has the optimal conditions for both plant health and microbial life. This is what makes Balance Bac. different. Unlike other soil amendments that only focus on creating the right conditions for the plant, we also consider the needs of these symbiotic organisms.

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