Beneficial Microbes for Agriculture

Microbes include fungi, bacteria and viruses. Farmers and ranchers often think of microbes as pests that are destructive to their crops or animals (as well as themselves), but many microbes are beneficial. Soil microbes (bacteria and fungi) are essential for decomposing organic matter and recycling old plant material. Some soil bacteria and fungi form relationships with plant roots that provide important nutrients like nitrogen or phosphorus. Fungi can colonize upper parts of plants and provide many benefits, including drought tolerance, heat tolerance, resistance to insects and resistance to plant diseases.

Lotus: Is it Friend or Foe?

During spring and summer, many people become concerned about plants growing in their ponds. This concern may or may not be justified, because aquatic plants are desirable for many pond management goals. Lotus (Nelumbo lutea) is a conspicuous emergent aquatic plant that frequently grows in local ponds. Lotus has several other common names such as yoncopin, water chinquapin, yellow nelumbo, pond nut, rattle nut and duck acorn. Lotus has large, round, entire leaves that float on the water or perch above the water. A lotus leaf does not have a slit unless it is torn. The flower is large and pale yellow. The stalk bearing large seeds bends over in the fall, and the large holes in its flat surface cause it to resemble a shower head. It typically grows in water 1 to 6 feet deep and seldom persists long in water deeper than 7 feet.

Sericea Lespedeza – A Friend or Foe?

Sericea lespedeza is a deep rooted drought tolerant perennial legume that was introduced in the upper south region of the United States from Japan in the late 1890’s. Sericea is especially tolerant of low fertility and low acid subsoils. Sericea became important as a low quality forage plant in the 1920’s and 1930’s when it was used for pasture and erosion control.