September Opponent of the Month: Beneficial Microbes

Beneficial microbes include a range of bacterial, fungal and other microorganisms that can improve plant growth and assist in keeping healthy plants free of pests and diseases. These organisms are not pests, but can be used to manage various pests including fungal, bacterial and insect species. That is why they have been included in this months ‘Pest of the Month’. A recent factsheet on this topic has been published on the Australian Plant Production Standard website that discusses:

  • how beneficial microbes interact with plants to increase nitrogen fixing, produce plant hormones and help to protect plants from pests,
  • the types of bacterial and fungal products that are available in Australia for use in production nurseries, and
  • recommendations on how to use these microbes well.

Not all products that are available on the market will work well for all production nurseries. Ensure that you evaluate data available from your supplier and complete small scale trials at your nursery. This should involve treating a range of plants that you produce with the product and leaving at least some plants untreated as a point of comparison. This will help you to make management decisions about whether the product can be incorporated into normal production practices at your business.

For more information, read the factsheet.

Figure caption: Trichoderma wrapped around and feeding on a plant pathogen.

Photo by Duy Le and Liz Dann, University of Queensland.