What will be the health of your soil after your project is completed? If you don’t know, don’t worry, most people can’t answer that. But most will agree that it will likely be poor, compacted and far from ideal for long-term vegetation establishment. Usually imported topsoil is brought in or the subsoil is seeded and then everyone sits back and waits for it to grow. In the later circumstance it’s often tempting to use longer lasting and stronger erosion control material because it’s known that it will take longer for the vegetation to establish and this solution is thought to mitigate the risk.
The development team at Verdyol realized this wasn’t really a solution. They sought a way to improve the subsoil with essential building components found in topsoil to amend the material found on site while also preventing erosion at the same time. This was a better solution then using longer lasting products to cover up poor soil. So we partnered with North America’s leading master gardener supplier of growing technology to greenhouses worldwide. The team set out to create a scientifically formulated growth medium that provided erosion control with organics and amendments so vegetation could thrive even in tough conditions.
Three specialized formulas were developed and have been tested for the past several years on the various sites including the multi billion dollar Hydro Quebec James Bay project in Northern Quebec and Milner Ridge in Manitoba. The products and the case studies can be found here on our website. So to review….risk is reduced the quickest when you can establish permanent vegetation quickly and get the project signed off. To achieve these results you should use an erosion control product that will prevent erosion while it also improves your top soil thus reducing your risk of poor vegetation establishment.
The components in the Biotic Earth line are Canadian Sphagnum Peat Moss, plant based organic soil enhancers and growth stimulants. Alfalfa meal is added to Biotic Earth Black and BFM to helps recondition poor soil, degrade hydrocarbons, reduce sodium.
A beneficial fungus called Mycorrhizea and micronutrients further help to improve the soils health. The base components of soil are air, water, organics and minerals such as clays, sands or loams silt.
The micro and macro pores are very important for air and water to be able to travel freely through the soil structure. During construction activities we lose the organic material and the micro and macro pores in the soil. This is where Biotic Earth Growth Mediums come into play by replacing lost organics and over time the HGM will provide the necessary organic and biological binders for improved soil aggregate formation and therefore provide for better chance of improve pore space in the soil. Helping to create pores space. The “A horizon” or “topsoillense” of the soil is where the majority of microbial activity and germination occurs. By simply spraying a thin layer of hydraulic growth medium vegetation can establish in this lense layer and root into the subsoil for additional moisture.
The world didn’t start off one day with topsoil. It took centuries of decaying plant matter to develop. Verdyol Biotic Earth Hydraulic Growth Mediums kick start the process and add the first layer of organic material and growth stimulants. We do not claim to create a topsoil or be a replacement for using existing topsoil. We simply expedite the vegetative process by improving the soil for long term use by adding the missing organics while preventing erosion at the same time.
Since there are varied climates, rainfall and soil types it is important for you to complete a soil test to establish the pH, as well as organic and nutrient requirements so if an area specific amendment if needed you can specify that and the contractor can add it to the growth medium.
Despite what some people may think topsoil is not formed overnight. While it can take extensive amounts of time, in some cases up to 100 years for an inch of top soil to develop the HGM line of products provide the building blocks to expedite this process.. It is created by decaying plant material mixed in the mineral environment that is then processed by the bacteria and organisms, which call this layer their home. Over time the soil becomes more fertile as more and more organic material is recycled through the microenvironment.
When we begin to construct on land we end up stripping away or degrading this top layer. Then we have to spend large sums of money to replace it or deal without it.. The Biotic Earth Line uses Peat Moss, a known growth medium as the base organic material to help improve the subsoil. Although Peat Moss is environmentally mined in Canada it is strip mined from Peat bogs that have developed over thousands of years and reclaimed before depletion. This rich, stable organic material is the ideal medium to add. Greenhouses use Peat Moss because it is the perfect foundation to build upon as it is weed free, extremely versatile and lasts up to 8 years compare to less than one year for Compost.
Organics hold moisture and nutrients better than mineral material so its role in soil health is to hold those nutrients so they can be transferred to the roots of the plants. This is done symbiotically and enhanced with the addition of Mycorrhizal (MY-CROW RISE – AL) fungi which works directly with the plants. Growth stimulants and micronutrients are also added to help boost initial germination and kick start the bacterial activity by providing additional nutrients and creating a place for the beneficial bacterial to flourish.
Not all soil is the same but plants have long adapted to changes and extreme condition so over time they will reclaim most types of soil in the correct pH range as long as it’s not contaminated with harmful materials. As society continues to grow and build, topsoil will be a more precious resource that will constantly be moved and degraded and it is our collective responsibility to minimize this loss and prevent erosion. Verdyol’s Biotic Line of Hydraulic Growth Mediums will continue to help to improve our soil for more efficient and effective vegetation growth and erosion control.
Adding peat moss to soil improves the Cation (Cat- ion) Exchange Capacity, moisture holding properties and reduces the leaching of nutrients from the soil.
Let’s compare the water holding ability of different soils and organics. As you can see by this chart, one liter of peat moss holds 32% more moisture than compost and is only a fraction of the weight. When applied hydraulically by the pound, peat moss gives you more moisture holding ability for the dollar.
The Carbon nitrogen ratio is another way to compare soil amendments. This ratio is an indicator of the stability of the soil supplement. Lower ratios mean the supplement is very stable and will not draw down nutrients from the soil that plants need to grow. In general carbon nitrogen ratios of 30 to 1 or lower are the best. Sawdust or wood fibers have the highest ratio at 400 to 1. Thus sawdust soaks up water and nutrients, robbing plants of the essential nutrients they need.
Compost, with a 30 to 1 rating, is nearly ideal. However compost breaks down quickly in the soil. Peat Moss at 50 to 1 is near compost on the carbon nitrogen scale. It does draw down a small amount of nitrogen fertilizer, but not enough to hurt plants. Plus Peat Moss will last for years in the soil and continue to supplement your plant community while it grows and replaces this organic material. When we lined up the benefits of Bulk Density, water holding capacity, air filled porosity, structure stability, pH, salinity, nutrient content and the amount of pathogens, pest and weeds, Peat moss was the best universal soil amendment by far. That’s why we use it as the base of our Biotic Earth growth mediums.
Wheat and flax straw is the erosion control component of our Growth Mediums used for its superior carbon nitrogen ratio and erosion control capabilities as compared to wood based products. Using wheat straw means there are no trees that need to be cut down or processed with water, bleaches or dyes to get the required fiber to prevent erosion. Wood can be recycled many times and using virgin wood fiber or even recycled paper mulches for their fiber length takes them out of their recycled life cycle earlier than necessary meaning more trees need to be harvested and less recycling. Straw fiber on the other hand can be recycled for the first time as a mulch fiber and there is an abundance created every year on the wheat fields of North America. Being the bench mark that all hydraulic products strive to compare themselves to, it made sense to make our Biotic Earth growth medium with the same base fiber as straw blankets.
The first thing you need to do is a soil test to determine the organic content of your site. If the organic content is over 4% then you have a soil that has a reasonable amount of organic content and the addition of more organic although beneficial may not be critical. In that situation you would consider Verdyol HydroGold, a 100% straw based hydraulic mulch. But if you wanted to hedge your bets and still add the biotic component to the soil then you would specify Verydol Biotic Earth HGM, this 70% straw and 30% Canadian Sphagnum Peat Moss combination gives you effective erosion control on slopes up to 3:1 if applied at 2000 plus pounds per acre or 2400kg/hectare. Verdyol Biotic Earth HGM was used on the Hydro Quebec project.
In situations where all you have left is subsoil to deal with and your soil test show less that 4% organic content you should specify Verdyol’s Biotic Earth Black. A blend of 60% Canadian sphagnum peat moss, 40% straw fiber with flexible flax fibers, Mycorrhizal fungi, Tricontonal (Tri Cont Ton All) growth stimulant and micronutrients to feed the growing bacterial community this combination has been scientifically formulated by the team at Verdyol Plant Research and a world leading peat moss provider.
This powerful biotic is great on slopes less than 4:1. On steeper applications you can apply the Verdyol HydroGold with Tack or on extreme slopes of 2:1 or greater the Verdyol Biotic Earth Bonded Fiber Matrix or erosion control blankets. Biotic Earth Black is an organic nutrient infusion made to kick start the natural topsoil creation process. True top soil takes a long time to develop and this product speeds up the process with the help of peat moss, stimulants and nutrients.
Canadian Sphagnum Peat Moss has been used for years world wide by professionals in the greenhouse industry. Verdyol’s Biotic Earth Growth Medium allows for a very even and precise application over a large area. This growth medium should not be lumped into the same category as hydraulic mulch as this is more than mulch. This helps improve your soil long term.
Feel free to down load utilize our Hydraulic Growth Medium specification found on the Downloads page to ensure you are getting the right hydraulic product for your site.
Still not convinced? Want to see projects completed with Verdyol’s Biotic Earth Products? We have many projects currently working in North America which we monitor on a consistent basis.
Have a project that would be perfect for one of the Biotic Earth products, but you want more information and advice? Fill out the informational form above and one of our product specialists will get in touch to help you determine which Biotic Earth product is best for your situation.