Have you ever picked up a handful of garden soil and wondered what microorganisms are living in it?
1 Teaspoon of good soil contains:
- 10,000 to 100,000 cells of algae
- 100 million to 1 billion bacteria
- several yards of fungal hyphae
- About 40 Nematodes: 20 bacteria eating nematodes+ 20 fungal feeding nematodes
1 Acre of good soil contains:
- 2-3 million earthworms
- 133 pounds of protozoa
- 900 pounds of earthworms
- 900 pounds of arthropods
- 900 pounds of algae
- 2000 pounds of bacteria
- 2400 lbs of fungi
The amazing thing is that all these microorganisms and insects are all part of the soil food web and each play a unique role in the soil’s ecosystem. If things get out of balance you start having serious problems. Using inorganic fertilizers and herbicides can quickly offset that balance. Inorganic fertilizers have a very high salt content. The salt irritates the worms and can damage and kill off beneficial microbes. Once these guys are forced out of your lawn the soil becomes sterile. The beneficial fungi and protozoa that eat the harmful fungi are not around and you start seeing fungus problems in the lawn. The beneficial bacterial slime that helps soil particles retain moisture and hold nutrients are gone. You start using more water and more fertilizers to make up for what is missing.