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For the Landscape Professional

Create a more natural and durable landscape, reduce your Carbon Footprint and maintenance costs, by developing your own Biological Orchestra.

Imagine a landscape that naturally manages and sustains itself. Such landscapes are now possible using the power of the “biological orchestra” – a combination of microorganisms that help plants establish better, thrive in low water conditions, and remain durable and attractive longer with less maintenance.

In establishing and maintaining this landscape you will no longer need to worry about timing fertilizer application when it will be the most effective. The lawns in this landscape will remain deep green, lush and will naturally grow slower, lowering the amount of green debris removed from the site. Insect pests and diseases will be reduced and demand far less intervention from you. Shrubs and trees will maintain their healthy natural colors and flower beds will establish quickly and be extra showy, full of blossoms.

Overall this landscape will use far less water and require far fewer applications of fertilizer, saving you time and money to maintain it.

By feeding the soil with organic materials and a diverse blend of microbes, developing the “biological orchestra”, you will create a naturally sustaining landscape. These beneficial microbes include mycorrhizae fungi, a naturally occurring microorganism that associates with over 90% of plants in our world. This fungi attaches itself to the plant root and actually grows inside of it, developing an” arbuscule” – a tiny tree-like structure that is a direct connection into the vascular system of the host plant. From this arbuscule, an extensive network of fungal filaments (hyphae) begin to grow far beyond the plant roots, creating a mega structure that expands the root system by up to 1000 times. This root structure also works as a “bio barrier” – protecting it against soil borne diseases and pests.

Then the conversations begin - the plant wakes up one hot summer day and feels the need for some iron. Promising carbohydrates in return (food for the fungi), the plant asks the fungi to deliver some. Stores of iron, that may not have been accessible to the plant before the fungi established this super root system, are now accessible for transport back to the plant. The day wears on, the weather heats up, and the plant feels thirsty, and although the irrigation system is not programmed for that day, the fungi is tapped deeply into the surrounding soil, and is able to convey more distant water sources back to the plant, keeping it from wilting. During these exchanges, the fungi receive the promised carbohydrates from the plant that provide fuel and energy for it to do its job.

Through this symbiotic relationship, the plant works with the fungi to obtain what it needs, when it needs it, and in the proper quantities. This plant is now naturally more drought tolerant and disease resistant. The mycorrhizae stays with that plant for its life, and even connects to other nearby plants, helping them in the same way.

Mycorrhizae is easy to apply. It must make contact with the plant root, so there are granular forms mixed with organic fertilizer that are worked into beds before planting. The organic components give the soil microbes a kick start with an immediate food source.

Mycorrhizae can be introduced into existing lawns after coring and/or power-raking the sod to make entry points for root/fungi contact. A lawn inoculated with mycorrhizae will require far less water – nearly a third less the amount – than one without.

For new shrubs and perennials, mycorrhizae can be applied with “feeder paks” (individual tea bags filled with mycorrhizae and organic fertilizer) that are placed in the hole at time of planting, giving the plant the best start possible.

Another player in this biological orchestra is a very efficient nitrogen-fixing bacterium from the jungles of the Amazon – Azospirillum brasilense. This particular bacterium was selected after years of research for the most adaptive species. This microbe pulls at least 70% of nitrogen that the plant needs from the atmosphere and fixes it into a form that is immediately available to the plant, greatly reducing the need for additional nitrogen fertilizers. Paired with an organic fertilizer, Azospirillum brasilense makes a naturally effective treatment for lawns that will now cost you less to maintain as you will only have to apply this treatment 3 times a year.

Finally, periodic applications of compost tea provide an army of hard-working microbes that break down and release plant nutrients from healthy soil. A teaspoon of this healthy soil may contain up to 1 trillion bacteria, 10,000 protozoa, 10,000 nematodes and 15 miles of fungal hyphae. By feeding the soil with compost tea, you create a naturally sustaining system for plant nutrition, as organic matter is processed and valuable nutrients are released and become immediately available to plants.

The application of compost tea fosters nutrient cycling. In the nutrient cycle process, dead plant parts (both roots and top growth) are eaten by bacteria, fungi and nematodes which are then eaten by protozoa, larger predatory nematodes and arthropods. These are then devoured by other organisms that include larger arthropods (beetles), and even bigger predatory nematodes. During this feeding frenzy, all these microbes are continually excreting valuable nutrients and cycling them back to create the healthiest nutrient rich soil possible.

As conductor of this biological orchestra, your role is to bring all these individual players together, keep them well-nourished for optimal performance, and periodically replenish their numbers to keep musical quality at its peak.

Put the biological orchestra to work for you – you’ll create more sustainable landscapes, reduce your carbon footprint and overhead, and have highly satisfied clients.

Green Diamond Biologicals & Nutritionals is located in Gilroy, California and is the largest producer of mycorrhizae fungi in the nation. By researching and developing new products that combine biology and natural plant nutrition, Green Diamond’s goal is to assist the landscape professional to convert their current practices to a simpler, sustainable program that is cost effective and ecologically friendly.

Photo below is a habitat restoration project in Lake Tahoe that been successfully established using Green Diamonds Mycorrhizae.

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