SustainAbility Newsletter

The Roots of Sustainability

By: Michael Chaplinsky | Turf Feeding Systems

The Importance of Healthy Roots & Rhizosphere to Create Sustainable Landscapes
Up to 60% of the total food manufactured by a plant through photosynthesis exits out its root system for the sole purpose of feeding the beneficial microorganisms that exist around the roots in the area called, 'The Rhizosphere'


It’s pretty amazing, that plants recognize the importance of having a healthy microbial culture around so much, that they freely give up to 60% of their manufactured wealth. The plants feed the beneficial microorganisms (fungi, bacteria, actinomycetes) around their roots for the expressed purpose of gaining personal protection and increased nutrition. Since this occurs in nature and has since the beginning of time, then naturally everything we do should follow this science and evolutionary track. So for that reason, soil biology is an important part of a plant’s health and survival.

The use of soil improving/microbial enhancing/root building products will greatly help promote a health soil and rhizosphere. Proven products like humates used during the winter months will cause your plants to excel in the spring. Just because a plant is dormant doesn't mean its dead. Plenty of change can occur at the microbial and chemical level that won't be apparent until the spring flush arrives.

The goal is to have Sustainable Landscapes that use a minimum of resources to reach excellence. This can be accomplished through the use of quality organics added to the soil to promote and propagate healthy soil biology with biodiversity.  Healthily soils   will benefit the soil structure, the soil microorganisms, and the plants. Plus it's a very in cost effective way to manage a nutrient program.




References and Sources used in this issue of SustainAbility Newsletter Include:

Audubon Lifestyles 
The International Sustainability Council 

Sustainability Campaign


American Society of Golf Course Architects

The United States Golf Association (USGA)

Sustainable Golf & Development

Turf Feeding Systems

National Geographic


SustainAbility Newsletter Archive Article (random)

Fall Yard Cleanup

Fall CleanupCleaning up garden and flower beds in the fall is an effective way to control various insect pests. Many insects survive the winter buried in the soil (5-25 cm) or on its surface. Debris left on the soil surface will in fact help the insects to survive.

In winter, the temperature of the soil is higher than the air temperature. Various components in the soil buffer it against severe freezing temperatures. For this reason. insects are able to survive in the soil, protected from the winter cold. Debris left on the soil surface further protects the soil, thus making it more hospitable for overwintering insects and increasing their chances of survival. If you remove the debris, the soil will freeze to a greater depth and more insects will likely die during the winter.

When and How to Remove the Debris
The best time to remove the debris is in early October, after the insects have buried themselves in for the winter. You can remove the debris earlier or later, still with effective results in terms of controlling insects. When removing the debris, it is wise to till the garden and flower beds. Tilling will bring the insects up the soil surface, where they are more susceptible to killing temperatures.

Drenching the soil in the fall with an insecticide to control insect pests is not recommended. In order for an insecticide to be effective, the insect must be active. Insect larvae, pupae and adults overwintering in the soil are not active, and therefore pesticide control at this time of year is ineffective.

Garden Cleanup
Insects that overwinter on the soil surface under garden debris or buried in the soil include the beet leaf miner, cabbage maggot, Colorado potato beetle, flea beetle, imported cabbage worm, onion maggot and spinach carrion beetle. Incorporating organic matter in the fall is recommended, but it should be well tilled into the soil; if left on the soil surface, the organic matter will help protect insects over the winter.

Flower Beds and Shrubbery
In flower beds and shrubbery, a number of insects overwinter successfully under debris or in the soil near the base of ornamentals. Such insects include the currant fruit fly, imported currant worm, pear slugs, rose curculio and spring cankerworm. Removal of the leaf litter and a shallow tillage under ornamentals will help control many of these insects.

Fast Facts

  • The energy we save when we recycle one glass bottle is enough to light a traditional light bulb for four hours.
  • Recycled paper requires 64% less energy than making paper from virgin wood pulp, and can save many trees.



References and Sources used in this issue of SustainAbility Newsletter Include:

Audubon International

The International Sustainability Council

Pioneer Thinking

EarthCraft Homes

The Natural Step

Animal Aid

Recipes For Sustainability


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A Coalition for Good - Spreading the Seeds of Sustainability

ISC-Audubon is a coalition of non-profit organizations and initiatives that include The International Sustainability Council (ISC), Audubon Lifestyles, Audubon Outdoors, Planit Green, Broadcast Audubon, and the Audubon Network for Sustainability. 

Funds generated through memberships and donations are used to provide fruit & vegetable seeds, wildflower seed mix, and wildlife feed & birdseed to urban and suburban communities around the world. These seeds are used by communities to establish fruit and vegetable gardens, bird and wildlife sanctuaries, and for the beautification of urban and suburban landscapes by creating flower and native plant gardens.

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