In the Past Year

The Art of Zen and Organic Lawn Maintenance

In this day and age, everything is fast-paced, convenient and results driven. We like to drive the fastest cars, eat at the quickest restaurants and wait in the shortest lines. If you are making the plunge to go organic, be prepared to wait. If you truly want to be organic you have to let go of the control and let nature run its course.

Regardless of your approach, we are all after the same outcome: a beautiful, healthy, disease free lawn. Can we prevent that? Yes, to some extent. Our homemade liquid compost is designed to do a majority of the grunt work when it comes to disease prevention but it is no silver bullet.

We extract a large amount of fresh local worm castings (worm poop) into the liquid compost extract which provides a huge population of protozoa, flagellates and beneficial bacteria and fungi. These are top of the food chain in the microbiology world and do much of the heavy lifting in keeping soil borne insects and fungal/bacterial issues at bay.

Balance is KEY

Our ideology is to limit interventions with both chemical and organic pesticides to sustain an environment that Mother Nature intended. In other words, if it is viable for things to be worked out on their own, then we choose that route first. Pesticide use can result in a sterilized environment which can disrupt the natural order of prey/predator that occurs in a properly functioning ecosystem. Any products, chemical or organic, used to treat a pathogen not only eliminates the unwanted target, but can also deter the beneficial components. This results in plants becoming vulnerable and more susceptible to pathogens, and can also make your landscape more dependent on pesticide treatments.

For example, scale is a very common pathogen that attacks Crepe Myrtles. In nature, ladybug larvae are the predator and scale is the prey. If a client has active scale on their Crepe Myrtle and it is not out of control, we find it to be much more beneficial to try and let the ladybug larvae take care of it first.

Scale on a Crepe Myrtle

While limiting intervention is a goal of ours, some situations do call for interference. If you are a customer of our Soil Building Program, it is possible for issues to arise in between our normal visits. If you think that something is going on out of the ordinary, it is always good to contact us so we can address it before it gets out of control.

Take the plunge!

If you’re going to be organic, changing your perspective is valuable to your happiness with your decision.

After many years of experience we’ve come to understand the importance on the emphasis of balance in our environment. With enough trust and patience, we promise you that going organic will benefit you in the long run.

Soil Creature Feature: Proturan

Healthy soils are the building blocks of any successful garden. The health of your soil will dictate the success and the density of beneficial organisms that exist within it. Maintaining an organic garden regimen is the best way to protect those important populations. Check out Proturans, in this latest soil creature feature!

Proturans, also known as coneheads, are soil dwelling hexapods that can be found in soils around the world. They have no eyes or antennae. Due to their extremely small size, less than 2mm, they were not discovered until the 20th century. These small organisms come from many families with over 700 species total. Proturans are usually pale brown or white and have a cylindrical or elongated body. These beneficial soil dwellers consume detritus, which is decaying matter including fallen leaves, mosses, and fungi in the soil. They also eat the larvae of other creatures. By feeding on organic matter, they break it down, releasing valuable nutrients to your lawn and landscape plants.

They also feed on mycorrhizal fungi, another beneficial soil organism. So, when you boost mycorrhizal fungi in your soil, you can also boost the population of organisms such as Proturans.

Proturans are typically found in the first 4-inches of your soil and thrive in moist conditions. They do not do well in extreme acidic soils and would most likely be found under trees or shrubs where soil is shaded and kept cool. As with most beneficial soil dwellers, their populations thrive when water is managed with consistency, soil is aerated from time to time, and is fed with organic soil conditioners.

Soils Alive’s soil conditioning treatments protect and encourage populations of beneficial soil organisms, such as proturans. Active soils keep the organic content high, which in turn improves moisture consistency. You can boost beneficial soil organisms populations by keeping soil properly watered and fed, especially during the heat of the summer.  

For more fun education on creatures that benefit our soil, visit past posts here and here.

Wasps are Here…Avoid the Spring Sting!

Spring is here! And so are the insects. You might be seeing fire ants and mosquitoes right about now, but wasps are also making an appearance. Now that the weather is warming, wasp populations will be on the rise. They’ll be building nests and hunting for water and food, so be on the lookout.

Common Wasps

Paper wasps are the most common in our area. There are more than 20 different species of paper wasps that may nest in your landscape or around your home. They are actually very good pollinators and are considered beneficial in that regard  because they feed on chewing caterpillars and larvae. However, they do deliver a painful sting and can be quite aggressive. If you find nests in a low traffic area, away from places children and family spend time, it’s often best to leave them be. However, if they become a nuisance around your backyard or patio, or entryways, it’s best to remove the nest. Call one of the local green-minded pest control companies around town to remove the nests if you have an infestation.

Mud Daubers are another wasp commonly found in North Texas. Mud daubers don’t tend to sting as often as paper wasps, but stings are painful. The primary food for mud daubers are spiders...which can be a good or a bad thing. They tend to consume orb spiders, which are beneficial in the garden. But they are also the primary predator for black widows. Mud daubers build oval, round or tubular mud-type nests under porches and eaves of your home. Again, while they are not as aggressive as paper wasps, it’s still a good idea to call a professional if you have an infestation.

Not all wasps are considered pests. There are also beneficial non-stinging parasitic wasps that can help control other pests in the landscape.

As summer approaches, insects in the landscape will become more of an issue. Keeping a landscape healthy and in balance will always help to encourage more of the good insects in order to control the bad!

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