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Why Insects Attack Plants

Our newsletters have often explained how mycorrhizal fungi attach to plant roots and bring great amounts of needed nutrients to the plant, functioning like millions of extra feeder roots. These well-nourished plants become more disease resistant and produce higher yields or more flowers.

A less obvious benefit is reduced insect attacks. In our grow testing, we can often tell the mycorrhizal plants from control plants from some distance away, not just by size but also by a difference in leaf damage.

This same sort of difference can be seen by comparing plants fertilized with slow-release fertilizer versus those given fast-acting forms, especially liquids. The quick greening and rapid burst of growth that you get after drenching plants with liquid fertilizer is obviously an invitation to harmful bugs.

So what's going on? There are different theories about this subject, but one is that certain insects are programmed by nature to eliminate sick or otherwise imperfect plants. When you create unnaturally lush growth on a plant, something about those leaves seems to be like a neon sign that triggers the "must destroy" instinct in bugs, even though the plant may look normal to our eyes.

Another theory is tha tcompletely healthy plants produce a substance that tastes bitter to insects - sort of a natural repellant - but a plant that is pushed with fast NPK fertilizer apparently does not form those anti-bug substances and tastes delicious.

Whatever the reason, the way to grow plants that won't require drenchings of toxic rescue chemicals is to use small amounts of slow-release nutrients that are delivered as-needed to the roots by biological action. The use of any high-analysis fertilizer, especially in liquid form, seems to be amajor cause of insect attacks.

Of course, the nice companies that so heavily promote their wonder fertilizers are also happy to sell you bug sprays later. But I'm sure they don't realize that their plant food is creating the need for insect protection. Real sure.

Cheers, and good growing my friends,

Don Chapman
President, BioOrganics, Inc.

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