Users of Nature Safe have long recognized that turf grown in semi-shaded conditions does much better when fertilized with Nature Safe than with synthetic sources of nitrogen. Turf that had previously been of only marginal quality was greatly improved when put on a steady diet of Nature Safe. Naturally, some of this improvement comes from such things as the suppression of pathogenic organisms, the increased rooting due to lower salt indexes, and improved soil structure. While these factors are all important, possibly the most important factor is the increased carbon dioxide levels that are generated by healthy, active soil microbes.

The normal level of CO2 found in our atmosphere is 300 PPM or 0.03% of the total atmosphere by volume. We know, however, that plants can not only tolerate much higher levels, but that they will actually thrive under such conditions. Geologists who study the fossil records of our Earth, tell us that during geologic eras when the Earth’s atmosphere was naturally enriched with CO2, the face of our planet was covered with much more lush vegetation than we see today. This is thought to be due to a worldwide increase in the rate of photosynthesis in plants, due to the elevated CO2 levels.

Greenhouse growers have found that artificially increasing carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere surrounding their plants creates larger, healthier plants. This is due to the fact that plants use carbon dioxide and water plus sunlight in the photosynthetic process to make and store simple sugars. This process is often represented by the formula:

6CO2 + 12H2O (C6H12O6 + 6H2O + 6O2). If extra carbon dioxide can be added, photosynthesis or the manufacturing and storing of food, increases. This food is then used in the process of respiration.

In a closed environment, such as in a greenhouse, artificially enriching the environment with extra carbon dioxide is a relatively easy task. One simply closes the vent windows in the greenhouse and then pumps in CO2 from dry ice. For plants such as turfgrasses that are grown out of doors, it is virtually impossible to artificially enrich the environment with carbon dioxide.

Turf grown in semi-shaded conditions frequently uses more stored food for respiration than it can manufacture during the limited times that sunlight is available for photosynthesis. When this occurs, the plant literally overdraws its bank account of stored food. The plant then becomes weakened and it can easily succumb to other stress factors.

A healthy biologically active soil that is fertilized with a high-energy source like Nature Safe will produce more carbon dioxide than soil that is fertilized with synthetic nitrogen sources. The plant can then manufacture more food in the limited amount of time that it is exposed to sunlight. This extra food production can be the difference between live healthy turf and dead turf when summer stress factors are at their peak.