Here in the midst of winter, plans start to focus on springtime activities. Too often we forget that the problems encountered in the previous growing season resulted from mistakes made in preparations of soil for planting. Short-sightedness and commitments to schemes which are oblivious to requirements of the soil microbial eco-system lead to lack-luster performance months, even years later.
A look at root system development is essential to proper diagnosis. Here is an example of roots which developed with hormones necessary for fine root hair development, a lack of anaerobic respiration leading to ethylene in the soil which would have produced shallow pancaked roots. Instead plenty of carboxylic acids to promote microbial colonization of the roots and adequate calcium have created the proper root system architecture.
Warming soil means that the microbial world is starting to work. Soil temperature increases throughout the depth of the plowlayer are critical. More stored heat energy translates into more root system growth and colonization and thereby, total plant health and performance. The crux is how to facilitate this activity without destroying soil eco-system components that facilitate gas exchange, aggregate integrity, capillary water movement and leave the microbial communities intact.