Does Foamstream have a negative impact on soil microbes?

One of the more frequent questions we get when demonstrating Foamstream is around whether the use of heat alongside the biodegradable, herbicide-free foam can cause alterations in soil microbe populations.  

The short answer is, no. The Weedingtech Australia Foamstream weed management application takes place purely at a surface level and does not penetrate the soil to a depth of more than 1mm. When applied and sustained by the insulating foam, the heat from the hot water reaches the weed root by traveling through the plant, not the soil. Soil is a poor conductor of heat, hence it’s use in building ovens and houses throughout history. The hot water and foam do not remain in the soil for long periods, and the biodegradable foam breaks down quickly leaving no residual chemicals in the soil. For these reasons, there is no evidence to suggest that the use of Foamstream will impact soil microbe populations.  

Many consider the use of Foamstream as positive for the soil microbiome. When weeds are killed, they return to the soil and act as an organic compost for the soil. Given that Foamstream kills weeds using water and a plant-based foam, it enriches the soil microbiome.  See the below illustration of the Foamstream process:  

Foamstream lifecycle

Interestingly, given its prevalence, there has been very little research into the impact of the use of glyphosate on the soil. Whilst there has been wide-spread investigation into the effects of glyphosate on human health, scientists are now concerned that we don’t know enough about the ecological safety of glyphosate, how it interacts with the natural environment and living organisms, and what happens as it breaks down. 

To date scientific studies about the impact of glyphosate on soil micro-organisms have provided contrasting results. Some have not found any threat from glyphosate, whilst other research shows effects that are of concern. These include impacts on the diversity, function and structure of the communities of microbes that live in the soil, and that are vital to soil health, especially when the herbicide is used regularly. Glyphosate can lead to the accumulation of nutrients such as phosphorus, which can lead to eutrophication and water quality problems in nearby bodies of water. In addition, glyphosate can persist in the soil for long periods, leading to potential long-term effects on soil health. 

Not only is Foamstream certified organic by the British Soil Association, Organic Farmers and Growers, alongside other organic certifications in Europe and the USA – the world-renowned Royal Botanical Gardens in Kew, UK has done extensive testing on Foamstream’s interaction with soil microbes and deemed it safe.    

The best way to experience Foamstream is to book a demo by either calling 1300 866 911 or 

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