The All-Natural Landscaping Services Inc. Regimen and Compost Tea Dave’s Tree and Landscaping Services Inc. offers an all-natural landscaping regimen that includes compost tea. This regimen starts with a soil test and site examination. The soil site remediation plan will then be outlined, which may include some or all of the following management techniques: Soil aeration, Compost top dressing, Compost tea applications, Mycorrhizal spore applications, Supplemental nutrient applications, Diagnosis of plant or soil pest issues, and Site renovation.
What is Compost Tea? Actively aerated compost tea (AACT) is a liquid soil amendment that contains millions of living bacteria, fungi, protozoa, and nematodes - microorganisms that are a key part of the soil ecosystem that function to feed plants and improve soil quality.
AACT is called actively aerated because air is being added to the tea while the tea is being brewed. Adding air to the tea encourages oxygen dependent (aerobic) microorganisms to dominate the tea. Aerobic microorganisms have been shown to be beneficial to plants and the soil. We make our tea daily, upon demand, at our own facility. Our tea is made by suspending specially formulated plant-based compost in aerated water and brewing it over a period of several hours.
How Does Compost Tea Work? Compost tea provides the soil with the microorganisms that are designed to break down organic and inorganic substances in the soil, processing them into the plant’s primary sources of nitrogen, phosphorous, potassium, and trace minerals while at the same time producing by-products and metabolites that improve soil quality and defend plants from disease.
Plant Root Interface with AACT When applied, the microorganisms in AACT are attracted to the root zone of the plant where the plant is releasing substances called exudates. These substances are selected for difference species of microorganisms to colonize around the plant root zone. In this way, the plant can control the populations of soil microbiology that are colonizing its root zone (the rhizosphere).
Soil Food Web Interface We visually monitor our AACT with a microscope to ensure that it contains living microbes. These living microbes include bacteria, fungi, protozoa, and nematodes and are a part of the soil ecosystem referred to as The Soil Food Web. The Soil Food Web is a microscopic community of activity much more complex and interactive than our more familiar terrestrial food chain. Our tea permeates the rhizosphere. In that zone, the microbes interact with insoluble soil material and atmospheric gasses and process them into plant-soluble forms of nutrients and minerals. Bacteria and fungi from our tea fix and release beneficial plant nutrients. Protozoa feed on these bacteria, releasing nutrient-rich waste products. Nematodes feed on fungi, bacteria, and protozoa, also releasing nutrient-rich waste products. Collectively, bacteria, fungi, protozoa, and nematodes work together to produce a smorgasbord of plant available resources.
Furthermore, bacteria found in AACT produce sticky gels intended to glue individual bacteria cells together to form bacterial colonies. These sticky gels also work to glue soil particles together into aggregates that increase soil porosity and thus reduce soil erosion. Fungi grow in net-like colonies that create passageways through the soil for air, water, nutrients, and organisms to travel through (reducing soil compaction). Many species of bacteria, fungi and nematodes feed on disease-causing micro and macro organisms or produce secondary bi-products (think antibiotics) that kill disease-causing organisms in plants and the soil.
Our goal is to support and increase the diversity of microorganism populations in the soil with AACT. By increasing numbers and diversities of microorganism populations in the soil, not only are we increasing the numbers of microorganisms in the soil that feed plants, but we are also increasing the diversity of beneficial microorganisms in the soil that protect plants from imbalances of harmful soil-borne plant pests.
Chemistry Interface Reading the ingredients on a bag of synthetic fertilizer, we can see the list of as many as sixteen elements that are crucial for plant growth: N, P and K being the most familiar. In the natural soil system, bacteria, fungi, protozoa, and nematodes work together to provide all of these elements in a harmonious way. These microorganisms sequester all of these elements from air, soil, organic and inorganic matter, and each other and make them available to plant roots in the rhizosphere. Remember, the plant is able to control the populations of microorganisms in the rhizosphere through the exudates that it releases from its roots. Our AACT supplies bacteria, fungi, protozoa, and nematodes to the rhizosphere that supports the natural soil infrastructure designed to feed plants.
What Are the Benefits of Actively Aerated Compost Tea?
Applying AACT naturally supplies essential nutrients to plants.
AACT supports the production of bacterial gels that hold soil particles together and improve soil structure.
AACT supports natural soil aeration by supporting a formation of fungal net-like colonies in the soil.
Bacteria and fungi in AACT produce antibiotics that improve disease resistance in plants.
Nutrient leaching is less likely with AACT plant management since nutrients are made available according to the plants' own demands.
Compost tea is a 100% natural product that cannot be over applied!
What Can Be Treated with Compost Tea? Soils that receive soil testing and show signs of poor microorganism populations can be treated with compost tea to improve the beneficial microbial populations in the soil.
Unhealthy turf, shrubs, flowering plants and trees can be treated with compost tea to improve plant health by increasing nutrient cycling and disease suppression in the soil.
Compost tea can be applied to healthy turf, shrubs, flowering plants, and trees to support the microbial populations that keep plants thriving and to maintain a healthy soil environment.
Compost tea is applied to turf topically using a spray gun. Shrubs, trees, and perennial plants are treated with compost tea by soil injection.
When Can AACT Be Applied? Tea is applied any month of the growing season but is most beneficial in medium to high soil moisture and moderate air temperature. Spring: May, June Fall: September, October, November
For more information on organic and all-natural landscaping practices, check out the following resources:
1. Lowenfels, Lewis; Teaming with Microbes, The Organic Gardener’s Guide to the Soil Food Web: Timber Press C 2010
2. Lowenfels, Lewis; Teaming with Nutrients, The Organic Gardener’s Guide to Optimizing Plant Nutrition: Timber Press C 2013
3. Ingham, Elaine; The Compost Tea Brewing Manual (2005). C 2002 Soil Foodweb Inc.