Restore Natural Environments With Effective Microorganisms® Organic Soil Conditioner
It seems that everywhere there are people, there is trash. In many areas there is debris that needs to be removed as it can be an eyesore, be a source of contamination (in the case of chemicals or other pollutants), or even hazardous to animals. The materials should be removed and disposed of properly. This can take quite a bit of labor and coordination.
Invasive species are non-native plants that establish themselves, choking out native species and affecting local wildlife. The purple loosetrife is a wild flower found almost everywhere in the United States. It is an invasive species that chokes out native plants in areas where there is enough water for it to survive. In the Southwestern United States the salt cedar grows along river beds, irrigation ditches and washes, sucking up valuable water along the way that is intended for irrigation and drinking.
The invasive plant materials will be removed and handled properly. Disposing of them in a landfill is not ideal since it is a waste of valuable organic materials. Using Effective Microorganisms® allows you to get a double use out of these plants. Plants like these are very strong and have lots of beneficial compounds in them. Making a Fermented Plant Extract (FRE) with the plants will extract these compounds. It will also make any seeds they have unable to sprout and will start the breakdown of the lignin and cellulose in them. You can ferment this material for two weeks to several months. Strain off the liquid once the fermentation is complete. The liquid will be added to the soil mix as well as follow-up treatments of the soil. Once the extract is drawn off, there will be leftover plant materials. These can be made into EM® Bokashi by adding some more organic (dried plant material such as grass or dried leaves and fermenting for a few weeks. The EM® Bokashi can be used to amend the soil and as a living mulch as part of the restoration process. If there is enough material left over, it can be sold to landscaping companies or to farmers to amend their soils.
Re-Vegetation & Restoring
Take a soil analysis of the area to be restored. You may find the area is deficient of certain nutrients, has drainage problems, or is compacted, salted, or has high acidity or alkalinity. Knowing the soil will help you properly decide a course of action. That course of action may include deciding what species of plants to plant, what nutrient programs will be needed, what types of physical measures may need to be taken in regards to drainage or amending the soil. A good soil analysis involved digging a representative sample of soil across the entire area to be planted, mixing up the soil, and sending a portion of it to a lab. You will want to include organic matter, pH, and nutrients (Nitrogen, Potassium, Phosphorus, Ammonium, Nitrate, Copper, Sulfur, Iron, Sodium, Boron, Magnesium, Manganese, Calcium, etc.). Once you have these numbers, you will be able to chose the plants you will use, know what the soil is lacking and make a fertility program accordingly, and be able make some decisions on how much amending you will make to the soils at time of planting.
After the invasive species are removed the soil will be fairly barren. To avoid erosion from wind and water, it is a good idea to re-vegetate it with native species. To ensure they will establish well, you will want to amend the soil. A good soil mix will have some nutrients, lots of organic matter, and be light enough for roots to grow and establish themselves. Dig hold and add the soil mix, water in with some nutrient solution and Activated EM•1® (or the FPE). Build a berm around trees and large plants to hold in water. After planting, water once per week until the plants are well-established with both a 3% Nutrient and 3% AEM•1®/FPE solution. If watering a large area, to make applications easier, you can set up a water truck and spray from tanks on the truck.
Take a look at a recent project by GOAL (The Greenbelt Overhaul Alliance of Levittown), a Pennsylvania based non-profit organization.
Photos courtesy of G.O.A.L. and B OrgaNix.