Ask the Experts: Healthy Soil – What Is it, and How to Achieve It?

What’s the number one priority when growing and managing turf and landscapes? We checked in with John Huber, our Sustainable Products Leader and a 35-year veteran of the Green Industry to learn more. “I’ll give you a hint. It rhymes with toil,” says John.

1. What Makes Healthy Soil?

Soils are similar to our bodies. A healthy soil requires a thriving, diverse biomass made up of beneficial bacteria and fungi. This is true when it comes to our bodies. Our small and large intestines are teaming with beneficial organisms when healthy. Processed foods, sugar, high sodium, low fiber and medications will promote pathogens while killing off beneficial microbes. This will ultimately manifest itself into numerous health issues.

Healthy soil takes a lot of work but it’s often pushed to the back burner and is overlooked until chemical controls and synthetic fertilizers repeatedly fail to show improvements or produce positive results. When you compare agriculture and greenhouse practices to professional turf and landscape, soil is everything to the growers and farmers but it’s an afterthought to most professional lawn care applicators and landscapers. There are many reasons for this, but we need to move beyond that and focus on the future of the industry and the lessons we can learn from farming and greenhouse growers.

We are all struggling with the same adversity in the form of inflation, supply chain calamities, shortages, and the fear that we will lose customers and ultimately fail. These are all temporary problems so long as you expose yourself to current, accurate information and plan ahead.

Take the time to investigate the current trends in agriculture. The cutting-edge technologies being implemented and developed now in farming, will play a monumental role in the future of the professional landscape industry. Once you start searching for news on advanced agriculture technologies on the internet, the algorithms will have great information hitting your news feed on a daily basis. Two good topics to research further on Google are:

Farmers Testing New Fertilizer Alternative: Bacteria

  • These articles discuss bacteria that fix nitrogen from the atmosphere.

Building up the Brix for Healthier, Nutrient-Dense Crops

  • These articles examine the importance of Brix levels within the plants. It’s a huge deal for farmers and vineyards. They talk about Brix every day. They measure Brix levels every day. They build their entire programs around raising Brix levels. So, what is Brix and why is it that we almost never talk about Brix in the professional landscape industry? Brix is a measurement of the sugar content within a plant, Brix is an important indicator of a healthy plant. The more efficiently plants take up water and nutrients the higher the Brix level.

We almost never talk about Brix in the professional landscape industry because it’s not something that is taught or promoted by the top turf grass science programs in the nation. We are still teaching students to grow turf in much the same way we grow corn. This anachronistic approach only compounds the multitude of problems we grapple with regarding turf quality, water preservation and best environmental practices. It’s not sustainable!

2. Achieving Health Soil

What do most people do when they don’t feel well? They go to the doctor, who gives them prescriptions for drugs that temporarily mask the problem and ultimately throw gasoline onto an already raging fire.

We now have probiotic supplements to boost the levels of beneficial life in our guts. This is a 13-billion-dollar industry and projected to hit over 17 billion by 2027. People are becoming more health conscious. Look at the yogurt industry which just topped 40.5 billion in global sales. The health benefits of yogurt are linked to the probiotics that naturally occur through the fermentation process. For the dairy wary health enthusiasts, we now have yogurt made from nuts, legumes and coconut milk.

So, what’s trending now for soils? Is there a way to counteract the adverse effects of the conventional fertilizers and chemicals we dump on our lawns and landscapes that have left the soil devoid of beneficial life? Yes, there is!

  • Microbial soil inoculants have been around for a few decades but many have drawbacks that have prevented them from catching on within the Green Industry. Make sure to do your research before committing to a soil inoculant.

And, what is a soil inoculant? It’s definitely not a vaccine shot into the ground to boost immunity against brown patch disease. Soil inoculants work by embedding microorganisms into the soil. Just like probiotic supplements, Soil inoculants that deliver the most positive results are those that contain  diverse populations of beneficial microbes with the highest number of colony forming units. We call it BioDiversity.

If you’re still trying to wrap your head around how you will get through this year and keep your bottom line healthy, Central Turf & Irrigation Supply has solutions for you!


Last week we launched bioMD a new, cutting edge soluble, microbial soil inoculant product that will help you save money, reduce labor and increase quality to help you grow your business and build market share.
  • bioMD is a Soluble Microbial Soil Inoculant: A complex combination of beneficial microbial strains, viable organic microbial food sources, essential enzymes, biomass activators and natural soil penetrants for hyper-rapid biomass animation.
  • With over 34,000 unique strains of beneficial microbes, bioMD is the most bio-diverse microbial soil inoculant in existence.  
  • We call it “The Ultimate Biodiversity”.

bioMD is a soluble powder that comes in a 16 Oz pouch that will treat 5 acres at a fraction of the cost of conventional fertilizers. It’s the perfect companion product for our number one selling 12 week feeding fertilizer, Jackpot.

“When you apply Jackpot products, it’s like you’ve prepared a lavish Thanksgiving feast. Apply HVN bioMD Soluble, Microbial Soil Inoculant along with Jackpot products and now you have all of your dinner guests attending your Thanksgiving feast.” Myles Buckley Agronomic Subject Matter Expert-Central Turf & Irrigation Supply

The list of features and benefits of Hudson Valley Natural microbial soil inoculants seems to be infinite.

  • Increases Brix Levels.
  • Enhances Efficiency of fertilizer.
  • Increases organic matter in soils.
  • Oxygenates root zones.
  • Improves seed germination.
  • Promotes greater root mass.
  • Promotes disease suppression and resistance.
  • Promotes thicker cell walls and healthier stalks.
  • Tank mix with herbicides and insecticides. Do not mix with fungicides.
  • No refrigeration or special storage and handling required.
  • Helps insulate you from exorbitant freight costs.

To learn more about bioMD and what’s in the pouch, go to or contact one of our fifty-seven branches and ask to speak with one of our subject matter experts.

About John Huber

John is in his thirty sixth year in the Green Industry. John began his career as a greenhouse grower and spent 15 years  guiding  his own turf management company in southeastern Virginia using cutting-edge organic based technologies.

For the past 18 years, John has been involved in fertilizer manufacturing, formulation, supply chain and logistics, helping thousands of professional turf companies across the United States grow their business, increase the quality of their services and streamline their programs for optimal efficiency.