Biotic Soil Media

ProGanics™Biotic Soil Media™(BSM™)is designed as an alternative to topsoil on challenging and difficult-to-access sites. ProGanics will accelerate development of depleted soils/substrates with low organic matter, low nutrient levels and limited biological activity. This Engineered Soil Media™
(ESM™) helps build soils to their fullest potential for vegetative establishment and more effective erosion control.

PATENT PENDING. ProGanics Biotic Soil Media is a combination of recycled Thermally Refined®
bark and wood fibers with a proprietary blend of biopolymers, biochar, seaweed extract, humic acid, endomycorrhizae and other beneficial constituents. These components work synergistically to create a holistic solution to improve the agronomic potential in the rhizosphere. Unlike peat harvested from fragile wetlands, all components of the ProGanics Biotic Soil Media blend are naturally derived and renewable, and engineered to optimize moisture retention, growth and establishment of vegetation.

ProGanics outperformed leading Biotic Soil Amendment (BSA) products in replicated random block design greenhouse trials for Total Percent Cover and Total Biomass. No BSA performs like ProGanics BSM when it comes to establishing sustainable vegetation. Please contact Profile Technical Services for additional information on this study

ProGanics brochure

Soil needs plants as much as plants need soil.

It’s called the plant-soil feedback, and the interactions between the two form the vital ecosystems that support all life.

When soil is prone to erosion, we use plantings and technologies erosion control blankets. But when plants need nutrient-rich soil to thrive, what’s our solution?

Across the world, soil profiles are missing the organic matter they need to help establish vegetation. This prevents new growth from taking hold, and can lead to severe impacts on local climates.

Biotic soil technology is one of the most effective forms of soil restoration and rejuvenation. Not only is it a cost-effective planting aid and soil erosion technique, but it also offers the kind of flexibility that traditional topsoil can’t match.

What Is Biotic Soil Media?

Biotic soil media (BSM) is the name given to any manufactured growth or engineered soil that contains recycled, biodegradable fibers, biostimulants, biological inoculants, and other nutritive additives. It improves the soil’s natural chemistry, structure, and texture.

It’s specifically designed to promote the regeneration of denuded soil and, subsequently, accelerate vegetative establishment and growth. Most importantly, it conserves what topsoil you already have and helps to build soil in place.

What exactly is denuded soil?
In an ideal soil profile, the makeup would look something like this: water would take up 25%, organic matter 5%, minerals up to 45%, and the rest would be pore space taken up by air.

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The two most common types of denuded soil are eroded soil (poorly drained), and compacted soil.

In poorly drained soil, the water component increases and the organic matter level remains the same, at 5%. It’s compacted soil that has the most problems — here, there’s an excess of minerals, but organic matter drops to 1%.

Neither of these can support natural nutrient cycling.

In denuded soil, there’s barely any organic matter because there’s scarcely any topsoil remaining. Sometimes, the ground begins right at the subsoil section where there’s less than 1% of organic matter.

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That’s why biotic soil media is so important. It’s engineered to promote an ideal growing environment and re-introduce the elements needed for topsoil to return to healthy levels.

Can You Import Topsoil?

We’re already losing about 1% of our topsoil every year to erosion, most of which is due to agriculture. This leads some to consider the idea of importing topsoil as a solution for denuded soils.

Importing topsoil means you’re taking it from somewhere and moving it to a new spot. Ostensibly, the place you remove the topsoil from suffers. Even worse, there’s simply not enough quality topsoil available to service all areas.

Even if soil is available, it may be too wet or the ground too frozen to dig and then transport.

Importing topsoil is also a logistical problem, and that makes it a costly avenue. You’ll need to obtain, haul, and then place the topsoil. On steep slopes, this placement is ineffective and can actually increase erosion potential. Then there’s the matter of needing to reclaim the borrow areas.

With all these factors at play, the best solution available to you is to build topsoil with organic matter in place. Again, biotic soil media is the best solution.

How Does Biotic Soil Media Work To Rebuild Soil?

Biotic soil media is the first step of the five fundamental for soil rejuvenation. For revegetation, you need to:

  • Create the right soil conditions
  • Pick the right plant species
  • Select the correct erosion control materials
  • Inspect and maintain your efforts

The components of biotic soil media amend the existing soil with the right organic matter. From there, it’s a matter of using the right fertilizer at the right times, tilling the land appropriately, aerating, and then prepping the ground for the next batch of vegetation.

Biotic soil media engineered with a specific use in mind can:

  • Provide moderate erosion control performance
  • Aggregate soil formation, leading to more pore (air) spaces
  • Promote vegetation establishment


Common Biotic Soil Media Components

There are some common components to biotic soil media — you may even be familiar with them already. Biotic soil media can be broken down into two categories: erosion-centric fibers and soil building components.

These include:

– Bark, wood, straw, flax, natural fibers: Phyto-sanitized for organic matter, providing body and erosion resistance as well as high moisture retention, stalling weed seeds and pathogens.
– Porous ceramics and biochar: These are stable, porous particles that have a high capacity for water retention and act as a habitat for bacteria and fungi.
– Beneficial bacteria: Included to colonize fresh substrates, these bacteria are integral to soil’s natural processes, nitrogen fixation, aggregation of soil particles, and the maintenance of its nutrients.
– Endomycorrhizae: A mutually-beneficial association between fungus and plant roots, essential to the nutrient and water uptake, improving drought, disease, and salinity resistance.
– Humic acid: Humus, a major organic component of soil, peat, and coal produced by biodegradation of organic matter.
– Seaweed extract (cytokinis): Phyto-hormones (plant growth substances) intended to promote cell division or “cytokinesis” in plant roots and shoots.
– Polysaccharide biopolymers/flocculants: Additions that increase water-holding capacity, viscosity of the BSM, bond strength, and even determine how far the media can be shot through seeding equipment.

Each of these components gives BSM a distinct advantage when addressing the problem of soil degradation. And even though it’s a planting aid first, BSM’s erosion control does get beyond the surface and provides a solution for the long-haul.

Benefits Of Biotic Soil Media

Bringing denuded soil back to life is a worthy project. It’s not complicated, and all you need is the right planning, materials, and time.

Put together the right tools and technologies, then let nature take its course.

Plus, you don’t need as much material when you work with biotic soil media. You have less to apply, and that costs you less as well.

The benefits of biotic soil media will speak for themselves:

Benefit #1) More Cost-Effective When Compared To Traditional Topsoil

Let’s say you had 300 acres of land to reclaim.

When importing topsoil, you’d need around 11,000 truckloads of material in a truck that measures 22 cubic yards. At a depth of 6 inches, you’d need 242,000 cubic yards of topsoil.

At $10 per cubic yard, it would cost you $2.42 million simply to purchase this material. Even if there were no costs for transportation, the installation would cost you. At $8 per cubic yard, that’s $1.9 million to place the topsoil.

That’s a total cost of $4.4 million.

Biotic soil media, on the other hand, can be applied at a rate of 3,500 pounds per acre. You’d need around 45,000 bags. At $45 per bag, that’s a total purchase cost of $2.08 million. Next, installation for 300 acres would be only $600,000.

Your total cost for using biotic soil media, an application that takes less material than topsoil, would run you around $1.7 million.

That’s a 40% savings, not to mention a faster and less painstaking application.

Benefit #2) Easy To Apply Through Conventional Equipment

Biotic soil media applications call for a one-step approach. They come in pre-packaged labels mixed with water, seed, fertilizer, amendments, and other components. It’s quick and easy to load BSM into any 3,000-gallon hydromulcher.

Biotic soil media forms a consistent slurry for smooth shooting and it’s easy to apply the medium below rolled erosion control products like erosion control blankets.

Benefit #3) Can Be Designed To Accelerate Vegetation Growth

When you improve the soil’s health, you can promote faster and more robust vegetation establishment. In a test between treated and untreated soil after 18 months, soil with BSM applications showed:

  • Soil respiration increased by 271%
  • Bacteria and fungus for growth increased by 142%
  • Organic matter improved to 2%

The steady rate of soil chemistry improvement is accumulative. The better the soil becomes, the faster it promotes new vegetation to take root.

Benefit #4) Promotes Regeneration Of Denuded Soils

Biotic soil technology focuses on restoring and supporting natural organic matter to build. In denuded soils, the levels of organic matter are always less than 1%.

Once BSM is applied, soil can start to regenerate its bacteria, pH levels, and nutrients. Erosion control blankets and other preventative methods can then provide cover, water retention, and protection while biotic soil media triggers the nutrient cycle to begin anew.

Benefit #5) Great For Slopes

The fact that biotic soil media is an engineered technology is one of its most significant advantages. If you’re looking to restore a sloped or hilly area using plantings and vegetation, you can use biotic soil media specially designed to withstand heavy downpours on a slope.

During an attempt to restore vegetation on a slope after a copper mine construction, site supervisors decided to go with BSM rather than topsoil.

The results were stunning: In five days, vegetation began to emerge and, within two months, full vegetation took root in a spot where there had been only rock surface before.


Biotic soil media comes with multiple advantages.

When used as a planting aid, it promotes vegetation. It’s flexible and robust enough to also act therapeutically.

In other words, using biotic soil media to rebuild the soil helps heal the land.

This has positive effects that resound beyond soil chemistry, affecting everything from carbon levels to the nutrient cycle, water tables, and more.

If you’re looking for a completely refreshed area using sustainable planting aids, contact Granite Seed today. Learn more about how we can help establish new vegetation, apply and place this medium, and bring your land back to life through biotic soil media.

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Contact us our experts are available to help with your reclamation, erosion control, turf and native seed projects.