CBX releases bound up nutrients
One of the important functions of the biological soil community is managing nutrients. Soil organisms continually transform nutrients among many organic and inorganic forms. (Organic compounds contain carbon. Inorganic compounds do not.) Plants primarily need simple inorganic forms of each nutrient. Soil organisms create many of these plant-available nutrients and help store nutrients in the soil as organic compounds.
Soil organisms include the bacteria and fungi, protozoa and nematodes, mites, springtails, earthworms and other tiny creatures found in healthy soil. These organisms are essential for plant growth. They help convert organic matter and soil minerals into the vitamins, hormones, disease-suppressing compounds and nutrients that plants need to grow. Their excretions also help to bind soil particles into the small aggregates that make a soil loose and crumbly. The job is to create the ideal conditions for these soil organisms to do their work. This means providing them with an abundant source of food (the carbohydrates in organic matter), oxygen (present in a well-aerated soil), and water (an adequate but not excessive amount). Perhaps one of the least recognized and understood beneficial contributions of organic matter is in providing organic compounds that function as natural chelating agents for a number of essential plant nutrients. Iron (Fe), manganese (Mn), copper (Cu), and zinc (Zn) become more soluble and plant-available in the soil solution by complexing with one of the numerous organic compounds. In addition, these nutrients naturally chelated by the organic compounds are more easily moved to the uptake sites on the plant root hairs. Without the presence of these natural organic chelating agents both iron and manganese tend to be chemically bound in unavailable forms, while both copper and zinc are inherently water insoluble.
Some individuals advocate that the addition of organic matter in new high-sand root zone constructions is not needed, because it will eventually be formed through root decomposition. While roots will eventually contribute significantly to the soil organic matter content, the lack of needed organic compounds in the early developmental stages of the turf can result in significant turfgrass nutrient stresses that delay proper rooting and turf development. This, the natural chelating is one of a number of beneficial effects from organic matter that justify the inclusion of an organic matter component in the original high-sand root zone construction. In addition, it emphasizes the importance of developing an active, living root system in all soil textures, which will contribute significantly to a sustained, acceptable level of organic matter within the soil root zone.
In the soil environment microorganisms produce a large variety of byproducts some of which are quite surprising. A whole host of microorganism can decompose nitrogen containing organic compounds and release ammonia and ammonium into the soil solution. This in turn is oxidized for energy by other bacteria producing nitrite and nitrate. The rate of nitrate production is faster than nitrite production so nitrite build up in soil is rare. Some free living and some symbiotic bacteria can take nitrogen from the air and combine it with organic compounds to produce amino acids. At the other end of the cycle there are bacteria that can break down nitrate and convert it back to nitrogen gas.
During the decomposition of organic matter in soil a number of products are produced. In aerobic soils this process is oxidation and the chief products are carbon dioxide and water. Microorganisms carry out this process not for either of these products but for the energy they can get from the process. In anaerobic soils microorganism also break down organic compounds for energy but in this case the final products are water, carbon dioxide methane and energy.
CBX stimulates activity amongst a broad range of biological life. When applied to the soil, CBX encourages natural recycling of organic matter, resulting in micro-tunnels similar to the activities of earthworms do, just on a microscopic level. These micro-tunnels create a natural aerification process, allowing space for air and water to penetrate and releases bound up nutrients.
For more information on other ways to increase the health of your soil see also of information on poor drainage, black layer, compaction, disease pressure, hydrophobic conditions, low organic matter, low SRD, poor aerification and thatch.