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How Microbes Help with the Intake of Phosphorus

It takes a village to get a cannabis plant to grow big and healthy. We’re talking about the consortium of microbes found in the rhizosphere, the soil directly located around the plant’s roots. These microorganisms make up the hardworking community of beneficial bacteria that will help her to grow, flower, and sparkle. The number one rule for all growers to truly understand is that you can’t grow plants unless you grow your soil. Healthy, nutritious soil is the key to everything and one of the many nutrients found in good soil is Phosphorus (P).

The snag is that in order for plants to actually soak up the goodness of a phosphorus-rich soil through their roots, this primary nutrient must first be converted into phosphate. That is where microbes come into play. 

Phosphorus: Natural, Essential, and Limited

Phosphorus is, without a doubt, one of the most essential components found in soil and needed for plant growth. From early stages to flowering and harvest, this macro element can be found in soil, roots, and stems. It plays a crucial role across several key plant growth areas, including energy production, photosynthesis, disease resistance, cannabis metabolism, reproduction, seed formation, respiration, and genetics. In fact, both DNA and RNA are linked together by bonds that are made from Phosphorus. Cool, right?

Naturally, the cannabis plant is no exception. She needs a lot of Phosphorus to grow healthy, big, and fast. The problem is that Phosphorus isn’t always as available to plants as they’d like it to be.

Let’s begin by saying that Phosphorus has actually become a limited resource worldwide. It mainly exists in mineral form, and commercial agriculture has created an increasing demand for this macronutrient, which some scientists predict will have become completely unavailable by the end of the century. We urge all growers to understand the importance of taking care of the planet’s resources and to commit to an eco-friendly grow. 

In terms of exact figures, some studies show that the average Phosphorus content in soil is a mere 0.05% and, of that amount, only 0.1% is available to plants. This is because, by nature, Phosphorus comes in an insoluble form that’s fixed in the soil and the only way of making it available to plants is to rely on the consortium of microbes living in the plant’s rhizosphere to break it down into phosphate.

Problems begin when you don’t have the exact mix of microbes needed to increase phosphate production, and this is where Amplify comes in.

Originally developed for soil remediation and carrying a twenty-year legacy of laboratory, university, and field-study refinement, Amplify now stands is an aggressive and beneficial microbial blend existing within our carefully crafted, artisanal ferment. It empowers your garden with the baseline strength of Mother Nature paired with the refinement of contemporary science.

Micro nutrients in forest

Too Much P, Not Enough P

If you’ve grown before, you may have learned that fertilizers are powerful allies. But don’t get too attached, as the overuse of these products will have serious consequences. Overfertilizing will cause severe damage to the growth and health of your cannabis. Although cannabis is pretty good at digesting large amounts of Phosphorus, overfeeding your plants should be avoided, as this could cause the macronutrient to become chemically-bound and, as such, make it completely unavailable to your ladies anyway. Other healthy minerals, such as iron and zinc, could also be wiped out of the soil in the process.

Waterlogged soil, as well as a lack of fertilizing (finding balance is key in growing!), may cause the Phosphorus deficiency. Cannabis grows at a quick pace, sometimes so fast that it doesn’t have enough time to take all the necessary nutrients that it needs. Making sure that your plants have all the P they need is essential. 

But how can you tell if your plant has a Phosphorus-related issue? Cannabis’ health is greatly affected by P deficiency. They become less immune to diseases and their overall quality decreases. The growth of the plant stops and, as sugar accumulates and causes anthocyanin pigments to develop, leaves and stems lose their iconic green hues and become reddish or purple. 

How Can Microbes Help?

As we said before, the rhizosphere contains a multitude of microorganisms that help plants grow happy and healthy. What role do microbes play in this symbiotic universe? They help plants digest Phosphorus and use it more efficiently. 

How do they do it? Through their ability to modify local pH, microbes have the power to unlock bound nutrients, such as P, transforming them through solubilization and mineralization into a form that plants can intake. 

Bacteria and fungi need phosphate to grow, just like the plants they live in. Don’t forget that these are symbiotic relationships: microbes do get something in return when they work their magic. Your plants’ root give something in return: they release exudates into the soil. These substances include sugars, amino and organic acids that microbes are happy to include in their meal plan.

There are special little fungi called Arbuscular mycorrhizae (AM) that are perfect for cannabis plants struggling in the Phosphorus department. This microorganism forms an alliance with the plants’ roots, therefore increasing their surface. This allows the plant to extend the soil volume it can reach, and so the number of nutrients it can intake. When AM colonizes a plant, it is estimated that the fungus supplies 80% of the phosphate taken by the plant. This is what we mean when we say that it takes a village to ensure your plants grow as strong as they can.

So, microbes are an army that can help your cannabis plant find all the Phosphorus it needs to thrive. And, thankfully, they don’t hurt the environment when they do so. Amplify, our shelf-stable, full-spectrum microbe ferment, is all of this in a bottle. It mobilizes and transforms P so your cannabis can thrive. Interested? Send us a message for more information.