If you were a root, what would you like from an ideal soil?
First, you would want the soil to have high levels of organic matter to provide you with
adequate nutrients and retain moisture. You would want the soil to be porous with a stable
aggregate structure so that oxygen would get to you easily and allow you to grow and have a
robust, well-developed structure that could access the stored nutrients and water when
needed. You would not want to be surrounded by any hardpan or compacted subsurface layers
that could restrict your growth deep into the soil.
You would also like a very biologically active soil, with a large and diverse community of
beneficial bacteria, fungi, protozoa, nematodes, and earthworms to decompose plant residue
and assist in freeing nutrients locked up in the organic matter and soil for your use. You would
want the bacteria to fix nitrogen and solubilize phosphorus, potassium and other minerals as
well as producing enzymes and phytochemicals that would spur additional growth for the root
and plant. Mycorrhizal fungi would assist you in accessing nutrients and water from areas well
beyond the reach of your root system. Trichoderma fungi would decompose plant residue,
releasing more nutrients into the soil and they would also keep potential disease-causing fungi
and nematode populations low. Protozoa and beneficial nematodes would feed on the bacteria
and fungi, keeping their numbers in check while recycling their nutrients back into the soil.
Earthworms would tunnel through the soil eating protozoa and leaving a nutrient rich trail
behind them for you to access as well.
You would not want the soil to contain any synthetic pesticides or herbicides because you know
that herbicides like Roundup that contain glyphosate not only kill weeds in the soil but are also
damaging to soil bacteria and beneficial fungi and reduce their populations. You would not
want nematicides in your soil because you know that for every pathogenic nematode there are
10 beneficial nematodes that help the plant grown and if left alone in a healthy soil, the
beneficial nematodes will control the pathogens – they will not eliminate them completely, but
their populations will be so low as to not be an issue to you. You also understand that in
addition to killing nematodes, nematicides are deadly to mycorrhizal and Trichoderma fungi
Finally, you would want the pH in the soil to be in the optimum range (6.2 – 6.8) to best support
a diverse soil biology and to maximize the release of the nutrients in the soil.
Calusolv’s Accelerated Regenerative Soil Health program is designed to help your roots to not
only have a soil that they will thrive in, but it also provides nutrients that are critical to the
establishment and growth of a robust root system.
The first step to regenerating soil health and rebuilding soil organic matter levels in your soil has
to start with restoring a stable soil aggregate structure. Calusolv’s soil testing shows that most
soils today, whether they are farmed conventionally or using organic practices, are compacted.
Calusolv is a soil amendment that is designed to accelerate the process of restoring soil
In addition to applying Calusolv, if you are wanting to create a well aerated soil, with stable soil
macro- aggregates capable of building soil organic matter levels, it is necessary to incorporate as
many of the following suggested management practices as possible.
• Reduce / Eliminate tillage to the greatest extent possible – tillage destroys mycorrhizal
fungi networks and breaks down soil micro- and macro-aggregates. When this happens,
hardpans appear in the soil as the clay particles become tightly packed together. Air and
water cannot enter the soil, so root growth is stunted, and beneficial soil microbe
populations die off.
• Incorporate Cover Crops – do not leave fields fallow for long periods of time.
Mycorrhizal fungi and other soil microbes depend on root exudates as their food source.
Feeding them as many days as possible each year ensures that they are working full time
to keep your soil healthy.
• Diversify Crop Rotations as much as possible – also maintain diversity in the cover
crops. This will help with weed and pest pressure. With cover crops it is important to
have a diversity of species that provide different benefits. It is better to have a simple
mix with a legume to fix nitrogen, a plant that is good at solubilizing phosphorus (like
Buckwheat), a species that has a big taproot to scavenge and hold nutrients in the soil
(radishes) and a cereal or grass that has a deep, fibrous robust root system to help break
up compaction than to simply have 8 different species of legumes.
• Manage pH levels – maintaining proper pH levels for the crops to be grown will ensure
that no nutrients are getting tied up in the soil and are not available to the plant. It also
provides the best environment for the soil microbial community to be as active as
• When looking at any nutrient applications, focus on the ratios and not the levels of all
of the nutrients – many people operate using the “more on” approach to fertilizer
applications – if x pounds per acre is recommended, a little more can’t hurt – but it
actually can. Plants prefer their nutrients in certain amounts and ratios –for example,
too much nitrogen can negatively affect the uptake of other minerals.