soil activator

Asked April 13, 2015, 12:16 AM EDT

How helpful is soil activator for lawns, what is it made of, and what does it do?

El Paso County Colorado soil and fertility issues

1 Response

Thank you for your question.

Gardeners are faced with an ever increasing number of products purported to increase plant vigor and productivity. Pictures, graphs, and testimonials may festoon the package telling of significant yield benefits or soil improvements. The cost for these products is often low and the reputed benefits great, so it is tempting to use these products. Some of these products are legitimate and can improve production. Others are not so good. Gardeners should be very skeptical of these miracle products unless they have been subjected to independent research which has validated their effects.

Soil and plant additives may be classified in a number of ways by their manufacturers. For consistency, most soil scientists and agronomists classify these products as soil conditioners or soil activators/biological inoculants. In general, soil additives can be distinguished from fertilizers in that they usually have little or no nutrient content. Unlike fertilizers, additives are commonly not marketed with, nor are they required to provide, a guaranteed analysis (the three numbers indicating their N-P-K percentages). Instead, manufacturers often suggest that adding these materials to the soil enhances production by improving water and/or nutrient availability and uptake by plants. These enhancements are generally said to occur when standard fertilizer applications are made to the crop at recommended or near recommended levels. Some additives claim to replace or significantly reduce the need for fertilizers.

Soil activators have not been researched (with published results) by CSU at this time.