The goal of every farmer and every gardener is to grow bigger, healthier, more productive crops and vegetables. Whether the crop is 1000 acres of beans or a backyard with herbs, spices and tomatoes, healthier plants are the desired outcome. The health of all plants starts with the root system.
Nutrient Absorption by Plants
The root system has a number of important functions, but for our purposes the absorption of nutrients is the topic we’ll discuss. Of particular interest is the rhizosphere, The rhizospere is generally defined as the region of soil around the root influenced by root secretions and the microorganisms present.
Beneficial Microorganisms in the Root Zone
It’s these microorganisms in the rhizosphere, or root zone, that can have a large impact on root development and ultimately plant growth.
The plant and the microorganisms form a symbiotic, mutually beneficial, relationship. The plant secretes many compounds into the rhizosphere. These secretions attract microorganisms including mychorrhizae, Trichoderma, and bacteria. These microorganisms, in turn, secrete a number of growth factors and hormones that help the plants grow to their fullest potential. Here’s a few benefits from beneficial microorganisms:
- Plant Growth Promotion – production of plant growth hormones including auxins.
- Nitrogen Fixation
- Enhanced root growth
- Increase supply of nutrients including Phosphorus solubilization
- Increase the efficiency of traditional fertilizers such as Nitrogen, Phosphorus, Potassium.
- Each of these benefits could be a topic to itself, but for today let’s just note that microorganisms provide the plant with any number of benefits.
One of the keys, then, to growing bigger, healthier plants is to make sure the soils contain adequate amounts of beneficial microorganisms. In fact, hundreds of scientific research studies have shown that the use of beneficial microorganisms helps grow bigger, healthier plants and crops.
How can farmers and gardeners take advantage of the power of beneficial microorganisms? They can use biofertilizers. Very simply, Biofertilizers are fertilizers that contain living microorganisms. The use of biofertilizers, sometimes called soil probiotics or soil amendments, will increase the amount of beneficial soil microorganisms in the root zone.