What is Competitive Exclusion?
If you’ve read over any of our product descriptions, you’ve probably come across the term “competitive exclusion,” and while the folks around our offices throw that phrase around in everyday conversation, we realize that most people have never heard it before. Therefore, we decided to take some time to fully explain what competitive exclusion is and how it plays a key role in the majority of our products.
Competitive exclusion is the principle stating that two species competing for the same resources cannot coexist. When one species has even the slightest advantage or edge over another, then the one with the advantage will dominate in the long term. One of the two competitors will always overcome the other, and in the case of soil, the species in question are on a microscopic level.
If you were to go outside and pick up a handful of dirt, the resulting mass would appear largely uneventful and boring. After all, it’s just a scoop of dirt right? What’s there to see? Well, that clump of dirt in your hands is teeming with microscopic life. There are hundreds of millions of bacterial cells in every gram of soil, and that’s just bacteria! We haven’t even mentioned fungi, actinomycetes, microalgae, protozoa, nematodes, and other invertebrates. In fact, there are more organisms in a gram of soil then there are humans on the earth!
When you start to look at the soil this way, it begins to take on a whole new light. In many ways, the soil itself mimics a living organism. You can have healthy soil, rich with beneficial biology leading to the growth of healthy plants, OR you can very easily have unhealthy soil, which results in the growth of unhealthy, weak plants if there’s any growth at all. That’s where we come in. At Southland Organics, we focus on the health of the soil which inevitably leads to the health of the crops or turf. If the soil is unhealthy or packed with harmful biology, it will prevent the plants from reaching their maximum potential, or worse, will simply snuff them out. This unhealthy soil occurs naturally or artificially due to human involvement. Either way, the result is an environment that is not conducive to proper growth.
Along with the organic acids and carbon, our turf and crop products are packed with beneficial biology. In fact, there are over 25 unique strains of beneficial bacteria present, not to mention the valuable fungi and other biology. Now here’s where the competitive exclusion takes place. Let’s say that your lawn has been over fertilized and the excess nitrogen has caused an imbalance of nutrients that causes a depletion of other important minerals such as calcium, phosphorus and magnesium. The result is a weak lawn that is prone to different pathogens or an infestation of harmful organisms. When you apply a product like Turf Genesis or JumpStart, it releases millions of beneficial organisms that simply outcompete the harmful ones, because when you fully populate an environment with beneficial or even harmless biology that is dominant over other species, it will force those harmful species out.
One example of this is the fungus Trichoderma. Trichoderma not only stimulates plant growth but it is also a known predator of root-feeding nematodes and other disease-causing organisms. Then we have Bacillus Subtilis and Bacillus Mojavensis, bacterias that similarly increase plant growth as well as induce immune resistance. In this wonderful black liquid, there are loads of different good bugs like these. Some increase nutrient uptake and stimulate the growth of the plant, and some don’t even have an affect on plants, but they do a wonderful job of killing the bad bugs.
When you boil it all down, we simply harness Mother Nature’s natural response to harmful biology. We believe the tools to defeat these problematic pests have already been engineered for us, and the proof has been seen time and time again. There’s no need to waste money on expensive, synthetically made products that will often do more harm than good. The answer is natural. The answer is effective. The answer is Southland Organics.