Eliminating Nitrogen As The “Go-To” Nutrient For Growth
Excess leaf nitrogen. This is critical for more reasons than the cost of the material. This excess will be in the nitrate form and it requires plant energy to convert it to a usable amino acid. Additionally, nitrate-nitrogen in this form attracts insects and diseases that will require synthetic intervention. To make matters worse, there is an inverse relationship to leaf nitrogen and other nutrient uptake. So, high leaf nitrogen equals pest and disease issues and the inability to get other needed nutrients into the plant.
Manipulate (reduce) soil Magnesium through the addition of soil sulfate sulfur which will lower plant need for Nitrogen while simultaneously allowing room on the soil colloid for Calcium and other necessary elements. Generally, it’s done by adding soil calcium in the form of lime that reduces soil magnesium along with the addition of sulfate sulfur. The sulfate sulfur solubilizes the magnesium, and it leaches out of the soil profile. This soil manipulation helps to create conditions where the plant will benefit from nitrogen created from the atmosphere.
It’s the proliferation of soil biology that does it. There is no other way to explain how walnuts can produce large crops while needing only 40 pounds of applied nitrogen in the above-described soil conditions while crop removal is at least 120 pounds on a per-acre basis. This is a 2/3 reduction, application (need) to crop removal. The nitrogen application rates (need) for almonds are considerably more even with the same soil conditions. Only a 30% nitrogen reduction may be achieved. While fungicide applications are considerably more in almonds than walnuts, pre-harvest herbicides are probably responsible as well. How to mitigate these negatives is still being explored.
Soil biologies are acclimated to conditions in which they reside. That’s why importing “bugs in a jug” seldom works. With proper calcium/magnesium levels, you can grow your own “ good guys”, that will survive in your conditions. Managing airflow is key for this to happen as “good” and “bad” guys have different soil air requirements. We know that good biology will explode in population numbers given the correct stimulus and conditions.
So, in furthering our quest for healthier soil, we will add compost, cover crops, Humus Protein and Humus Protein extract, which will help proliferate the correct biology which is highly fungal in nature. Stabilizing populations of this highly vulnerable biological form is critical. Not doing harmful applications of synthetics, such as anhydrous ammonia, muriate of potash and other high salt index fertilizers, is just as important.
#1 Do not rely on synthetic nitrogen to promote growth
#2 Correct soil calcium/magnesium levels
#3 Avoid adding the negatives