Soil Biology - Fungi Part II : Microbial vs. Fungal Dominance

Stages & Types of Plants

So why do we separate our Microbial and Fungal products? Why not just put them together? Well, this is because of how “microbially dominant” systems differ from “fungally dominant” systems. Microbially dominance favors soft-stem plants. This is important because, during the early stages of ALL plants, you want to encourage this. We want our plants to grow as vigorously as possible; being soft-stemmed allows your plants to be flexible, malleable, and easily manipulated. In some plants, we eventually shift to fungal dominance, but some plants prefer bacterial dominance throughout their lifecycle. Things like leafy greens, microgreens, and cover crops (like clover) prefer a microbially dominant system. 

On the other hand, fungally dominant systems favor woody-stem plants. This means it can help flowering and fruiting plants immensely. During the later stages of their life, when their fruit and flowers are in full bloom and are producing heavily, they need that strength and rigidity to help hold up all of this extra weight. The combination of fungi and highly available silicates complete with other minerals is the quickest way to encourage this woody-stemmed nature. If we start applying these products at too high of a rate too quickly, it can actually slow/stunt the growth of your vegging plants and truncate the size potential of your flowering/fruiting plants. 

Again, this is why it is SO important to separate microbial (bacterial) products from fungal products. If you’re brewing a “tea” there is no need to have the fungi in that mix because spores (the offspring/propagules of fungi) do not proliferate and begin growing outward until they become established in a media substrate. Plus, fungal products are generally encased in an inert clay carrier because they don’t need the same food once they hit the soil, just as microbes do. They just need something to protect them slightly from light and air for shelf-life reasons. This clay carrier provides no benefit to the plant or your tea and can only serve to clog your drip lines and muddy up your tank.