Knowing about the Rhizosphere will Improve Plant Growth

Good growers should know what the rhizosphere is. The rhizosphere is the area around plant roots that is associated with plant secretions and microorganisms (beneficial bacterial etc.). The rhizosphere is the area where most biological activity takes place in the soil; the place where plant roots and mycorrhizal fungi interact. This is the place where you can really make a difference in your plant growth! It is basically the area right next to plant roots. Many chemicals are secreted by plants which affect the rhizosphere, and intern the various organisms use these chemicals and secrete their own chemicals which will help or hinder plant growth. A basic understanding of these chemicals can help you be a good grower.
There are many types of functional chemicals made in the rhizosphere; some basic functions of these chemicals are:
1) Weather parent material: Some plants secrete chemicals that break down rock and other minerals. These chemicals are not going to be needed by most indoor growers.

2) Solubilize nutrients (chelation): These chemicals help with absorption of nutrients from the soil. Many products include chelates. Not all chelates will work for all plants, so as always you will need to do a scientific experiment to determine if the chelates in the product you buy actually benefit your plants.

3) Glue material of soil into aggregates: These aggregates or clumps help with water holding and drainage as well as hold nutrients. Nutrients will be held in theinterior of aggregates (preventing leaching) and these aggregates provide habitat for microfauna (beneficial bacterial). Good Growers will experiment with various mediums to improve soil structure, but plants will also alter the soil structure in the rhizosphere to benefit themselves. Again, this is why it is so important to scientifically experiment and COMPARE mediums and products to find what is best for your plants and your grow environment.

4) Reduce pathogens: This function can greatly help growers. The buildup of beneficial bacteria reduces the amount of harmful bacterial around the roots. These beneficial bacteria will compete with and/or eat the bad microorganisms that will harm your plants.

5) Some plants secrete allelochemicals from their roots: These are chemicals which inhibit the growth of other organisms; some plants will prevent germination of seeds with their chemical secretions. These chemicals will not be useful to most indoor growers. However, I think it is important to know. Many people think plants are simply green things that don’t do much. They are constantly interacting with the soil and each other and there is a constant altering of their environment on a chemical level.

Please read the next post on the rhizosphere and the microorgansims that live there.
Good Growing
Dr. E. R. Myers

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