Plants have a symbiotic relationship with the microbes in the soil. Plants do things for the microbes that the microbes cannot do for themselves and microbes do things for the plant that plants cannot do for themselves.

Healthy soils contain billions upon billions of healthy microbes that make life great for plants in many ways. The beneficial effects of the microbes include, but are not limited to: reducing soil compaction, increasing nutrient retention and availability, buffering salts, protecting the root system from diseases and pests, providing essential organic acids, and so on. In return for these services, the plant naturally releases some of its sugars (produced through photo-synthesis) directly into the soil through its roots. These sugars serve as the primary food source for the microbes. In other words, the microbes can't feed themselves but have the ability and motive to improve soil conditions to best favor plant growth. The plant produces food for the microbes but can't change the soil conditions.

When this relationship is in balance, successfully maintaining plants becomes much easier as Mother Nature begins doing most of the work for us. All too often we spend most or all of our focus on the plant itself while largely ignoring the beneficial microbes and unfortunately many of the things we do for the plant are harmful to the microbes.

So what's the answer? Giving the plant AND the soil microbes what they need to promote the synergistic relationship between them. This is the JTM Effect.