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Synthetic fertilizers are chemical compounds that are artificially manufactured and used to supplement the nutrients in the soil. They are commonly used in agriculture and horticulture to promote plant growth. While synthetic fertilizers can be a useful tool for increasing plant growth, research has shown that they can also have negative effects on soil microbe health.
If you are new to this blog my name is Ashley and I am a soil scientist. I am located in a Canadian Zone 3 and a USDA Zone 4. I write articles, make YouTube videos, Instagram & Facebook posts all designed for Canadians and Cold Climate gardeners using science-based methods. If you are looking for anything specific be sure to let me know in the comments down below.
Soil microbes, such as bacteria and fungi, play a crucial role in maintaining the health and fertility of the soil. They help with nutrient cycling and soil structure, among other things. However, the use of synthetic fertilizers can have negative effects on soil microbes.
Studies On Synthetics & Microbes
A study published in the journal “Nature Communications” found that the use of synthetic nitrogen fertilizers decreased the diversity and abundance of soil microbes, leading to a less healthy soil ecosystem.
Another study published in the journal “Frontiers in Environmental Science” found that the use of synthetic fertilizers can disrupt the balance of beneficial microbes in the soil, leading to an increase in harmful bacteria. This can ultimately have negative consequences for plant growth and crop yields.
How Much Synthetic Fertilizer Is Too Much?
It is important to note that the effects of synthetic fertilizers on soil microbe health can vary depending on the type and amount of fertilizer used, as well as soil type and climate. However, these findings highlight the importance of considering the potential impacts of synthetic fertilizers on soil health before using them.
While synthetic fertilizers can be a useful tool for increasing plant growth, they can also have negative effects on soil microbe health. It is important to carefully consider their use and potentially explore alternative options for maintaining soil health.
Here are the links to the two studies that I mentioned in the video:
- Nature Communications: https://www.nature.com/articles/s41467-018-07195-y
- Frontiers in Environmental Science: https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fenvs.2019.00141/full