How and Why JTM Nutrients Work

How and Why JTM Nutrients Work

Tim Deutscher | 1 Mar. 2018

JTM Nutrients are more than just sustainable, they regenerate the health of plants and soils.

Did you know that eco-friendly fertilizers do not have to be 100% organic to be eco-friendly?

Many 'organic' fertilizers contain animal bi-products as the source of the Nitrogen, Phosphorous and Potassium (NPK) they provide. Animal bi-products are often high in salts, heavy metals and animal proteins that plants and the soils they grow in don't need. And generally speaking they often fail to provide a consistent, predictable plant response compared to synthetic fertilizers.

Consider a different approach. One that allows the use of the most effective synthetic fertilizers along with much more environmentally friendly organic materials that are not derived from animal bi-products. An approach that includes the best nutrient sources along with the best organic soil amendments.

In our case we choose to use 'non-animal' organic matter derived from Humic shale ore. Humic shale ore is a naturally formed material composed of plant materials that have been decomposed into their basic organic ingredients. Think of it as completely composted compost.

This particular deposit was formed over a time-span of 75 million years, (between 150 and 75 million years ago). Unlike many deposits, this humate has never been exposed to sea water incursion and is therefore very low in salts. Referring to the picture you can see the unique limestone cap above the humate layers. This cap, in effect, has sealed-in the underlying ore, preserving and protecting it from rain, which leaches out valuable ingredients, and from photo degradation due to exposure to the Sun's UV rays.

Directly under the cap you see the ore. You will notice it has many layers and the layers have different colors. Each layer was formed during different periods in Earth's history, each lasting thousands or millions of years. One layer may represent a time when there was a coniferous forest growing here. Another layer represents when this area was a tropical forest, or a peat bog, or a grassland, etc. These layers are the geographical history of all the different plant communities that grew here at one time or another over the last 150 million years.

This deposit contains no animal bi-products as it is derived entirely from plants. Combining this eco-friendly material with specific high quality synthetic fertilizers allows you to feed both the plant and the beneficial soil microbes at the same time. This approach produces a synergistic effect that is better for the plant, better for the soil, better for the environment and better for the budget compared to fertilizers containing animal bi-products.

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This approach is definitely Green. Choosing fertilizers that are supportive of healthy soils is Green - and not just because your turf and plants will be greener in color. This approach allows for an immediate reduction in nitrogen, phosphorous and potassium (NPK) use. This not only reduces the amount of nitrates and phosphates being applied, the fertilizers that are applied are being assimilated and held in the soil by the microorganisms themselves and not just sitting in the soil where they can be leached into the ground water, run off into storm drains or evaporate into the air.

It gets greener still. Your now healthier plants (due to healthier soils) are more resistant to diseases and pests so that fewer fungicides, herbicides and insecticides are needed. A benefit to both your budget and our planet. Furthermore, beneficial soil microorganisms break down and neutralize toxins and chemical residues in the soil, leaving it cleaner and greener.

This approach is more than eco-friendly and even more than sustainable; it is regenerative and actually reverses the damage done by years and years of the use of animal based or carbon/nitrogen imbalanced fertilizers.

The Carbon/Nitrogen Ratio Healthy, fertile soils contain carbon and nitrogen in one form or another. The carbon/nitrogen ratio is a measure of the respective amounts of each. The correct C/N ratio is essential to the production of beneficial soil microbes. Our southern California soils are typically quite low in organic matter and therefore low in organic carbon and therefore quite low in microbial activity. Adding nitrogen to these soils without balancing amounts of carbon literally destroys even the few soil microbes that were managing to survive there. The organic carbon in our products, derived from humic shale ore, provides the organic carbon balance that allows nitrogen to be safely used, without killing off the microbes.

Soil Tests Soil tests are a good indicator of what is going on in the soil - chemically. There are also tests to determine the physical characteristics of the soil.

All too often the recommendations that come with soil tests, or are given by third parties employ the 'Use more salts to solve a salt problem' approach. Fertilizers are salts. Gypsum is a salt, etc. Even if you could eventually get all the bars on a soil test to line up, for most facilities it would be prohibitively expensive and you would be wasting a lot of fertilizers while increasing total salt content. The natural, more effective solution is to increase the population of beneficial microbes in the soil. The microbes themselves improve the physical characteristics of the soil, make nutrients available over a wide pH range, displace and buffer salts, and improve nutrient availability so dramatically that the amounts of fertilizer that need to be applied are reduced by at least 50%. The purely

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chemical approach does not address the true solution and is actually detrimental to the microbes that are the solution. By adding more salts (fertilizer) and ignoring the carbon/nitrogen ratio we are destroying the soil's ability to support microbial activity. The best use of a soil test is to measure the nutrient levels in the soil and try to get them ALL in the LOW range! This will reduce salt levels and aid in the production of healthy microbes which make the fertilizers you do apply much more available to the plants. Your plants can now take up and use more nutrients than when the fertilizer (and salt) levels were higher.

pH pH is important because it effects the availability of nutrients in the soil. However, there is another factor that effects nutrient availability much more... Fulvic Acid. Fulvic acid combines with nutrient ions in the soil making them effectively organic in nature and therefore much more readily absorbed by the plant. Fulvic acid is so effective that all nutrients become more available even in soils with extreme pH values. Fulvic acid is normally produced by beneficial microorganisms in the soil. But by using the 'Use salts to control salts' approach we've already killed off those microorganisms, so there is no fulvic acid being naturally produced. Our products provide this essential missing acid, which increases nutrient availability more effectively than pH adjustments. As of this date in California, the Department of Food and Agriculture still refuses to recognize fulvic acid as beneficial to plant growth and therefore cannot be included on any product labeled for sale in California. They want you to use gypsum. Much more profitable and also less effective (so you need more, always more).

Controlling Salts

Most of our products contain both humic and fulvic acids. Fulvic acid combines with all nutrients making them effectively organic. This process naturally displaces sodium. Humic acid has a high affinity for sodium and acts as a buffer by taking it out of solution and neutralizing its harmful effects. The organic carbon approach increases microbial activity, therefore the fertilizers you apply are used much more efficiently and the rates application can be significantly reduced. And since all fertilizers are salts you are now reducing and neutralizing salts by using less salt, not more.

Gypsum (calcium sulfate), like all fertilizers is a salt. Adding gypsum to the soil to control sodium is using a salt to try to fix a salt problem. While is it true that the calcium in gypsum will replace the sodium on the soil colloid, it still results in an increase in EC (a measure of total salts) because you've added two more salts, calcium and sulfate. Part of the theory is that the sodium that has been replaced with the calcium would then be removed from the root zone by leaching. But the irrigation water we use is the source of the sodium in the first place! So what you end with is sodium salt plus calcium salt plus sulfate salt and a higher total salt concentration. Gypsum is also used to try to adjust pH. Which it temporarily does as the sulfur in the gypsum combines with hydrogen in the

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water/soil to form sulfuric acid. This downward, temporary spike in the pH fries the beneficial soil microbes and the soil pH returns to its former value very quickly anyway. Control the carbon / nitrogen ratio, add humic and fulvic acids, reduce the amount of fertilizer applied and you are well on your way to a salt solution, not a temporary band-aid fix.

Plants & Microorganisms Plants and the beneficial soil microorganisms they depend on were created, developed and/or evolved together. They have a symbiotic relationship. Plants take the Sun's energy, and through photosynthesis, combine it with water and nutrients to form the sugars which become the energy source for all other living organisms, including the microorganisms.

About half of the sugar/energy produced by the plant goes into the root system of the plant. About half of that sugar/energy is released by the roots into the soil, by design. The plant naturally feeds the microorganisms it needs to be healthy.

These, now well fed, microorganisms do a multitude of good things for the plant and soil in return. Just a few examples are: Increasing nutrient availability, reducing salt levels and EC, increasing resistance to diseases and other pests, increasing CEC, reducing soil compaction, improving water infiltration, reducing thatch accumulation, etc.

Ultimately the plant and the microbes want the same soil conditions. But only the microbes, not the plant, have the ability to directly improve the soil. The overall result of the added carbon approach is that you are still providing all the NPK etc. that your plants need AND you are feeding the beneficial microorganisms in the soil. By doing so you need a lot less NPK etc.

This is in no way Bugs in a Jug. Simply adding more microbes does not do the same thing. If those microbes could live there, they would already be there. The limiting factor is how many beneficial microbes that the soil can sustain.

Shifting your fertilization practices to include more organic carbon naturally promotes more microbial activity. It can't not work; it's the law of nature. The limiting factor is the amount of sugar/energy available to support microorganisms. So instead of adding bugs, add bug food - stable organic carbon.

Benefits of Soil Microorganisms

1. Nutrient cycling. a. Increases CEC

2. Retention of nutrients in the root zone.

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a. Nutrients are assimilated and held in the root zone b. Reduced leaching of nutrients c. Reduced run-off of nutrients d. Reduced volatizing of nutrients

3. Improved soil structure a. Formation and stability of soil aggregates b. Increased water infiltration c. Reduced compaction d. Increased porosity e. Increased water holding capacity in sandy soils

4. Disease suppression a. Beneficial microbes suppress pathogenic organisms b. Shield roots from detection by pathogens

5. Degradation of pollutants a. Breakdown toxins and pollutants

6. Increase in Biodiversity a. Increases stability of living systems in the soil

deposits, this humate has never bi-products.

Humic & Fulvic Acids Humic and Fulvic acids are organic acids formed by the microbial decomposition of organic matter in the soil. They have low molecular weight and are biologically active. Their presence in the soil increases over-all plant growth, better root initiation, greater crop production, improved nutrient up-take by plants, more effective chlorophyll synthesis and improved seed germination. They stimulate the various physiological and biochemical processes associated with cellular metabolism and reduce the toxicity of heavy metals and harmful chemical compounds.

In soils with little or no microbial activity due to a lack of stable organic carbon there are little or no humic and fulvic acids being produced.

Benefits of Fulvic and Humic Acids.

· Accelerated seed germination.
· Improved development of roots and shoots.

· Increased resistance to fungal attacks.
· Increased mobility of nutrients within the plant.
· Enhanced uptake of nutrients.
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· Stimulation of plant metabolism.
· Increases respiration.
· Increased metabolism of proteins and enzymes.
· Increased permeability of cell membranes.
· Aid in chlorophyll synthesis.
· Increased drought tolerance.
· Increased growth and yields.
· Provides energy to the plant
· pH buffering capacity.
· Synthesis of new minerals.
· Aid in creation of fertile soil.
· Scavenge heavy metals.
· Detoxification of pollutants.
· Increases oxygenation of soils and plants.
· Provide nutrient chelation even in high pH soils.