Azospirillum, Fixing Nitrogen Like a Boss
Flatulance, while this might be an oversimplification, is essentially the process from which Azospirillum convert nitrogen gas to plant usable, ammonia (NH3). When it comes to nutrition nitrogen is the limiting factor in plant growth, playing a key role in almost every process of a plants life. In effect, azospirillum also affect almost every process of a plant’s life. So yeah, it’s pretty important!
Nitrogen exists in our air and our soil. Actually, 78% of our atmosphere is made of nitrogen (N2). The way it exists in our atmosphere doesn’t do much for our plants unless it can take on a solid form. Nitrogen-fixing bacteria take in nitrogen the way that we do oxygen.
Then they excrete it as a solid form that plants can use. When nitrogen is taken from gas to solid, it is called nitrogen fixation.
There are two main types of nitrogen-fixing bacteria: free-living and mutualistic. The free-living bacteria are the self-sufficient, independent radicals of the group. Azospirillum is a mutualistic type of bacteria that creates symbiotic (mutually beneficial) relationship with the soil and the roots that grow in it. They are also known as root-colonizing bacteria or rhizobacteria.
The efforts of azospirillum can only be matched by a couple of other rare events in nature that require much more energy than releasing a few little bacteria to do the dirty work. Other natural elements responsible for nitrogen fixation include: ultraviolet radiation, electrical equipment and being struck by lightning. We suggest sticking with picking up a bag of Xtreme Gardening Azos for your azospirillum fix.
Are All Bacteria Created Equal?
There are three different strains of azospirillum- amazonense, brasilense, and lipoferum. Along with a few other defining characteristics, it is their cell size and shape sets them apart from one another. They all have been found to work well with grasses, sugarcane, rice, maize and sorghum. Although, their little bacteria-sized magic works when applied to other types of plants as well.
Azospirillum amazonense differentiates itself from the other two common strains due to its ability to be more resistant to soil acidity than the others. This is good to know if dealing with soil that has a lower than ideal pH score.
Azospirillum brasilense is probably the most well-known and common bacteria used in plant growth. It has been studied more than other species of azospirillum. It is the species of azospirillum that is most often used in fertilizers and growth supplements available today. To get heady, what chemically sets this specific bacteria apart is its ability to use the beneficial carbohydrates ribose and mannose. Without the presence of Azospirillum brasilense your plants would have a hard time making use of the sugars that ribose and mannose provide.
Azospirillum lipoferum’s name can be translated to “small, fat bearing, spiral”. This species of azospirillum is set out from the others for elongating the roots in plants more than the other species.
You Wanna Put What in My What?
Class: Alpha Proteobacteria
Azospirillum is a grower’s little helper. When adding azospirillum to your soil, you are allowing them to go to work on the root zones of your precious plants. The bacteria reproduce and multiply on the root hairs and create little swollen bumps called root nodules. It is inside these nodules that these little bacteria do the work, you might say they can work from home… They convert nitrogen gas to ammonia (NH3), an important element that you find in fertilizer and is very beneficial to plant’s health.
Ready to brush up on your Latin root words? Azospirillum is considered a biofertilizer because it is living (“bio”) and promotes growth (“fertilize”). When you add azospirillum to your soil, it offers gas exchanges and nutrients that are beneficial to the growth of your plants. The use of biofertilizers helps to avoid using chemical fertilizers and helps you to enhance your grow in a more natural way.
Supplementing with azospirillum in your grow will help your plants convert nutrients into energy and grow at a faster rate. It is a growth tool and supplement. The benefits of using this bacteria have also shown to help plants become generally stronger all around. Scientific studies have proven that incorporating azospirillum in your grow will increase drought resistance in plants, provide protection against the adverse effects of salts, and increase resilience when faced with toxicity and pollution within their environment. Basically, azospirillum gives your plants superpowers.
What Would WTG Do?
The best product we have come across to boost azospirillum content is Xtreme Gardening’s Azos Beneficial Bacteria Natural Growth Promoter. It comes in 2oz, 6oz, 12oz and 8lb bags to serve all sizes of grow operations. It puts to work the most commonly used azospirillum brasilense to bump up the growth rates of your plants. Azos is a product with a history of helping to create world record-breakingly large plants and produce, such as the 2015 pumpkin that weighed in at 2,230.5 pounds! You can use this product on your fruits, vegetables, flowers and herbs, or whatever else you choose to grow in your garden.
How Do I Use It?
Again we are going to emphasize using Xtreme Gardening’s Azos if you are looking to introduce Azospirillum to your grow, don’t waste your money on the other brands.
1) Raised Beds and Soil
Azos can be used in all different growing mediums from soil to hydroponics to aquaponics. If you are going to use it in your initial setup or a backyard garden, add a tablespoon to the hole you will be placing your plant in. Alternatively, you can also apply it directly around plant roots or dust the entire root ball with one tablespoon of Azos.
To make the best use of it when growing clones, make a mixture of four tablespoons of Azos and a gallon of 6.0 pH water. Soak your material of choice (i.e. coco, rockwool or plugs) in the mixture for about 10 minutes. While your material is soaking, make a more potent solution that is one part Azos and two parts 6.0 pH water. Use this dense solution to soak the root tips of your clones in for about 15 seconds before putting them in their presoaked plugs.
If you have an automated system that delivers your water and nutrients, you can add Azos to that as well. Make sure that your water’s pH is at 6.0 and add one tablespoon to every gallon of water in your reservoir. Your system will do the rest!
To have the same effect during the vegetative stage, you can mix a light solution and use it to water in your plants. You will want to mix two tablespoons of Azos to every five gallons of water that you add to your reservoirs or soil. The manufacturer recommends applying this mixture once a week to see the best results. Use warm water (65-80℉) when mixing any type of solution to better allow the Azos to disintegrate and be evenly distributed.
5) Brew a Tea
For super crazy results, you could brew Azos with Xtreme Tea Brews at the rate of two tablespoons per gallon and applying it weekly.
Can I Make it Myself?
Planting legumes and bean crops (i.e. clovers, alfalfa, peanuts and soybeans) help to fertilize the soil and fix the nitrogen in the areas they are planted. Leguminous crops are great for your garden. They already have root nodules that house nitrogen-fixing bacteria. When your plants are alive and thriving, they use the fixed nitrogen for themselves. The great thing about them is when they die, all that great fixed-nitrogen sticks around in the ground. By rotating your crops, you can release the benefits of those leguminous crops upon the next crop that are placed in that same area of soil. Make sure to let your nitrogen fixing plants die before removing them for the added nitrogen benefits.
The More You Know, The Better You Grow
Who knew that these little buggers could have such a big impact on your grow? Nitrogen-fixing bacteria are a great tool to have in your arsenal to help your plants grow to the best of their potential. Releasing azospirillum into your soil to convert the nitrogen that exists in our air to a form that they can use is like being a great wingman. You’re giving them a leg up they wouldn’t have had before.
The thing we like the most about using azospirillum is that it is all natural. They eliminate the need to use chemically, genetically engineered fertilizer to get better results out of your grow. Way to Grow loves its Azos, and so will your plants!