A complement of soil microorganisms is an important part of a high quality organic fertilizer. Contrary to popular belief, these microorganisms rarely, if ever, actually colonize in the soil unless the soil is totally sterile, which only occurs if the soil has been artificially sterilized. These invading organisms never significantly contribute to the activities of the soil ecosystem. What they actually do is serve as a stimulus for the native resident microorganisms to build their numbers and fight off the outside invaders.
When a foreign army invades a sovereign nation, the nation that has been invaded quickly builds their armed forces to fight off the invaders. The native microorganisms do the same thing. As they build their numbers the native microorganisms consume the invaders and eventually wipe them out. It is the food value from the amino acids contained in Nature Safe that really allows the native microbes to build their populations to massive proportions. Nature Safe contains up to ten times more readily available organic nutrients than its closest competitors, so there is abundant food available for the native microbes to use as they are building their populations. That is the BIG advantage of Nature Safe. The microbes that were artificially introduced only acted as a stimulant.
While some organic fertilizers do not add any microorganisms, it is very important for them to be present in a high quality organic fertilizer. The actual species of microbes that are present is not very important since they do not colonize anyway. The important thing is that there be a wide variety of organisms to stimulate the growth of as many different native species as possible. For the record, however, some of the microorganisms that are contained in Nature Safe include bacillus subtilis, bacillus cerus, bacillus polymyxa, bacillus megaterium, flavobacterium, penicillium, rhizopus, aspergillus, sassharomyces, torula, and rhodotorula.
Some companies try to stipulate how many microbes of each species are present in their product. This is a number that is usually expressed in terms of the microbe numbers per gram of product. While that may look impressive on paper, it is impossible to guarantee. These microbes are living, breathing organisms and their populations tend to be quite dynamic. In a short period of time, their numbers can rise and fall dramatically. It would be roughly analogous to putting fifty rabbits in a huge cage that was stocked with abundant food and water, leaving it alone for six months and then trying to guarantee how many rabbits were contained in that cage. If the conditions remained ideal, there might be a thousand rabbits, but if the conditions were very unfavorable, there may be only ten.
The methods that are used to introduce these microorganisms into the soil so that they can act as a stimulus are also important. Some people try to introduce them as a liquid spray along with their fungicide applications. The products used in this method are commonly referred to as “bugs in a jug”. While they usually do contain quite a few different species of microbes, they are usually even less effective. When they are applied as a liquid to the leaf surface during the day, the ultra violet rays from the sun kill most of the microbes before they can ever be watered into the turf. The only alternative is to spray the turf after the sun goes down, and that is not usually a very popular time for turf managers to do their spraying. When these microorganisms are introduced in a granular fertilizer, they are somewhat protected from the UV rays because they are inside the particle. The particle does not stick to the leaf, but tends to roll off of it and down into the turf canopy where it is further protected from the UV rays.
As usual, Nature Safe stands alone at the head of the pack. Some products can provide a few of the benefits derived from using Nature Safe, but none can match Nature Safe on a point by point basis and still provide anywhere near the readily available food for the soil microbes that can be found in Nature Safe. Some microbes feed only on the less readily available organic sources such as plant residue, manure, and sludges. These microbes rarely change in numbers, rarely run out of food, and they grow and reproduce slowly. Therefore feeding them sludges and manure is not going to change their numbers appreciably. If you really want to greatly increase the soil microbe populations, you have to feed the microbes that consume the readily available organic nutrients, and that is accomplished by applying Nature Safe.