Biostimulants are specialist substances used by hydroseeding contractors to stimulate seeds to meet their healthy, maximum potential and cause regeneration of healthy soil.
Biostimulants are not fertilizers. However, by incorporating them into the hydroseeding mixture, fertiliser use can be reduced greatly thanks the positive affects biostimulants have on the soil environment around the seed.
When applied through hydroseeding, the biostimulants work to promote soil microbial activity causing increased soil tilth and nutrient availability. Biostimulants contain the bacteria, hormones, soil microbes and nutrients required by new grass plants as they germinate and develop.
WHAT ARE BIOSTIMULANTS?
Biostimulants are specialist substances designed to foster plant development from germination to maturity. They can be applied to plant, seeds or soil, as well as any other growing media that may enhance the plant’s overall ability to develop and gather nutrients. In the hydroseeding industry, biostimulants are typically used by contractors to stimulate grass seeds. More widely, these mixtures are made up of diverse formulations of compounds, substances and micro-organisms that help improve crop vigour, the size of yields and quality. This is distinctly different from the benefits provided by traditional fertilisers, for example. The primary difference between biostimulants and fertilisers is that while a fertiliser must provide nutrient as its main function, biostimulants promote plant growth by other means than just providing nutrients.
WHAT DO BIOSTIMULANTS DO?
Biostimulants influence several metabolic processes such as respiration, photosynthesis, nucleic acid synthesis and ion uptake. Given their proven success in the hydroseed industry, biostimulants have become increasingly more popular across Europe. With further acceptance from NGOs, governmental bodies and academia, biostimulants are becoming a popular choice in various industries. Some reasons for this include:
- Biostimulants improve the efficiency of the plant’s metabolism to bring about increases in yield and crop quality;
- Biostimulants increase the plant’s tolerance to abiotic stress, as well as aiding in their recovery;
- Biostimulants enhance the quality attributes of plants or lawns. For example, they can enhance the depth of colour, sugar content, fruit seeding, etc;
- Biostimulants enhance soil fertility, particularly by fostering the development of complementary soil micro-organisms.
WHY USE BIOSTIMULANTS?
Biostimulants are not fertilizers; instead of providing nutrients, they operate through different mechanisms and compliment the cultivation of organisms in the surrounding soils. By incorporating them into the hydroseeding mixture, fertiliser use can be reduced greatly thanks to the positive affects biostimulants have on the soil environment around the seed. Similarly, biostimulants differ from crop protection products because they act only to help the plant’s vigour and stimulate growth – they do not have any direct actions against pests or disease. This means that crop biostimulation should be complementary to crop nutrition and crop protection.
Biostimulants, however, should not be used as a replacement for good agronomic practices – specifically regarding nutrition and protection. That being said, biostimulants are a good way to maintain high levels of soil microorganisms and have a proven record for keeping turf healthy, hardy and thriving during periods of intense stress.