By: Dave Scharfenberger, Board-Certified Master Arborist WI-0131B
We are always looking for new ways to help improve tree health. New research has identified many of the types and numbers of beneficial bacteria and fungi that are required for a healthy root system. Gardeners know that compost is a secret to improving sterile urban soil and growing healthy plants by providing these beneficial microorganisms. A new method called compost tea, takes the benefits of compost, multiplies it and puts it into a liquid form for easy delivery to the roots where it is needed.
Compost tea contains a huge diversity of actively growing and reproducing beneficial microorganisms that can greatly improve plant and soil health. Tea also aids the natural biological process in soil to make nutrients and water available to the root systems of your plants, which helps to maintain healthy, strong, thriving plants.
The process is not very different from making tea! We use specially formulated compost that is put into a large mesh bag. This is immersed in water with special “microbe food.” Air is then pumped through the compost at a rate of 55 gallons per minute. The compost is left to “brew” with this air process for one to two days.
The process starts by having the air strip beneficial bacteria and fungi off the compost. Then once it is in the water, the microbes use the food and air in the water to reproduce and multiply. At the end of the “brewing” period, the amount of beneficial bacteria and fungi has increased exponentially.
After the “brewing” process is done, we maintain the oxygen level in the water to keep all of the microbes alive. We then inject this living mix into the soil around a tree. This can help to reestablish the proper soil life that is critical to having a healthy tree. We are injecting “life” back into the soil!
You may see us begin to include compost teas in our recommendations. If you have questions on this new treatment be sure to contact one of our Certified Arborists to find out how our tea can help your trees!
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