How to improve hydrophobic soil

Now that summer has arrived, here’s a surprising reason why you should consider using organic fertilisers in your garden.

Most gardeners are aware that organic fertilisers stimulate soil microbes, which in turn help your plants, however you may not realise that when you use an organic fertiliser, it actually helps soil to overcome water repellence issues, and now that we’re heading into the hottest part of the year, it’s the most crucial time for getting the best out of this precious resource.

The inability of soils to take up water is really down to the waxy coating on soil particles. These waxes come from either soil microbes or plant material which hasn’t broken down completely (Eucalyptus leaves are a great example). When conditions become unfavourable, microbes secrete compounds which make the soil water repellent. For sandy soils, only about 2-4 % of the particles need to be coated for water to be repelled, and for clay soil it’s about 10%.

So what can you do to make your soil more readily take up or absorb water? If we think about what is required to break down organic material, we quickly come to the conclusion that what we want is a microbial-active soil. This way, more organic material such as leaves get broken down, and the bacteria and fungi don’t find themselves in an unfavourable environment, such as a lack of nitrogen. Using an organic fertiliser such as Neutrog’s Rooster Booster or Seamungus will provide nutrients (including nitrogen) to feed your plants and to stimulates those soil microbes.

I use either Rooster Booster or Seamungus in my compost to get it cooking, which often lacks nitrogen, and I even throw a few handfuls around my gum trees just to break down some of those waxy leaves. Rooster Booster is really a great all-rounder, as it has good nutrient values, it’s made from composted, screened and pelletised chicken litter and it has added gypsum to help break down clay particles. Plus, because it is organic, you really can’t overdose (or at least not easily!).

Obviously if you are a lover of certain plants, then a specialist fertiliser is best, however if you’re like me and grow mainly ornamental plants for their foliage, then Rooster Booster works on all of these, whether it’s trees or conifers – even my box hedge. Rooster Booster is truly a product for all gardeners – even if you’re lazy like me and just want to improve your soil’s wettability and feed your plants at the same time.

About Rooster Booster – Exclusive to Bunnings, Rooster Booster is a unique blend of the highest quality composted raw manure, specifically formulated for the most effective and safe feeding of all your garden plants. It promotes natural healthy plant growth – essential plant nutrients are released slowly into the soil, stimulating microbiological activity making further nutrients available to the plant. Rooster Booster also helps the development of healthy well-structured soils. It promotes microbial and earthworm activity which bind soil particles together to improve soil structure and tilth. Better soil structure allows roots to grow unrestricted in a nutrient rich environment.

Rooster Booster includes eNcase – eNcase contains a wide diversity of beneficial bacteria, which when applied, enhance and stimulate many of the natural functions that occur in the soil such as aiding in breaking down organic matter (including thatch), enhancing the lawns ability to with stand heat and moisture stress & acting as a deterrent against pests and disease. It is manufactured from composted poultry manure – one of nature’s oldest and most natural fertilisers. It is composted and steam treated to ensure it is pathogen and weed free, and is then pelletised for easier, cleaner handling.

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