The rhizosphere is the zone of soil that surrounds the plant root. This zone is where the biology and the chemistry of the soil are influenced by the root – but, there is no distinct edge. The zone is about 1mm wide and is an area of intense biological and chemical activity. This area is influenced by the compounds that are exuded by the root, and of course, the microorganisms that are feeding on the compounds.
Why is the Rhizosphere important?
As plants grow through the soil, they release water soluble compounds such as amino acids, sugars, and organic acids that supply food for the microorganisms. The food supply means that microbiological activity in the rhizosphere is much greater than in soil away from the plant roots. In return, the microorganisms provide nutrients for the plants.
All of this buzzing activity makes the rhizosphere the most dynamic environment in the soil. Because roots are underground, the rhizosphere and its potential for plant health and growth has been largely overlooked. Only now has modern, biological farming began to unwrap the treasures that the rhizosphere holds.
The rhizosphere has been called, “the last frontier in agricultural science.” This is due to both the complex interactions that occur beneath the service and all the mysteries we’ve yet to unravel.
Tips for a Healthier Rhizosphere
- Inhibit the growth of competing plant species.
- Defend the rhizosphere and root against pathogenic microorganisms.
- Attract/repel particular microbe species and populations.
- Keep the soil around the roots moist.
- Obtain nutrients.
- Mineralize nutrients.
- Stabilize soil aggregates around the roots.
- Encourage plant growth.
- Interact with plant roots.
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