What Are Mycorrhizae?

“Myco” – “rhiza” literally means “fungus” – “roots” and describes the mutual benefit between the tree and the fungus. These specialized organisms live together inside the roots of trees and help them absorb nutrients and moisture. Fungus hyphae in the soil are just branches of the tree’s roots, and they’re much better at absorbing nutrients and water than the roots themselves. Over 95% of all terrestrial plants have developed a symbiotic association with mycorrhizas, and these organisms have coevolved with plants over millions of years. In return for food, the mycorrhizas protect the host plants against pathogens such as viruses and bacteria and help them draw minerals out of the soil.

Mycorrhizas are beneficial because they help plants get the necessary minerals and nutrients they need from the soil. Plants benefit from mycorrhizas because their roots grow better with fungal partners nearby.

How is symbiosis established?

Mycorrhizas can be collected from three sources: Spores, Colonized Root Fragments, and Vegetative Hyphae. These propagule units are collectively called “Propagule Units” (PUs).

For plants to successfully colonize soil, their seeds need to be present in the ground and close enough to actively grew plant parts (i.e., the rhizosphere). As the plant grows, its leaves release compounds called phytohormones into the surrounding environment. These phytohormones act as signals for nearby organisms to respond by producing enzymes that break down complex organic molecules into simple ones. These simple molecules are then absorbed into the plant and used as nutrients. If there are no living plants near the seed, the fungus cannot absorb the nutrients from the dead plant, so it dies. However, if the source is close enough to an actively-grown plant part, the fungus can take up the nutrients from the decaying plant and use them to grow.

When using AMF propagules, you can incorporate them into the growing medium (substrates) before or after plant placement or top-dress the plants with the propagule mixture. You can also use the propagules as a dip or sludge when sticking cuttings or seedlings, applying them to the roots before placing them in the ground or using them in the holes where transplanted plants are established. Finally, you can apply the propagules to the surrounding soils.

What are the Main Benefits of Mycorrhizae?

Mycorrhizae are beneficial for plant roots because they help them grow better. Their main benefit for commercial growers has improved nutrient efficiency.

Increase water absorption and utilization.

There are some other benefits of mycorrhiza besides making plants grow faster.

Mycorrhiza has many additional benefits for plants and their environment beyond the three mentioned above. These other benefits may be found here. If you have any questions about mycorrhizal applications, please feel free to contact us.

Anyone who wants to improve their soil health can benefit from mycorrhiza

Mycofertilizers are used widely throughout the world to enhance plant growth and health. They are handy for crops grown in dry regions where rainfall is scarce. Mycorrhiza is a  beneficial partner because they help increase water uptake and nutrient availability in the soil. They also promote healthy root systems and overall plant vigor.

There are different types of mycorrhizal fungi.

Examples of Endomycorrhizal Fungi:

  • Glomus intraradices(AKARhizophagus irregularis)
  • Glomus mosseae
  • Glomus aggregatum
  • Glomus etunicatum
  • Glomus deserticola
  • Glomus clarum
  • Glomus monosporum
  • Paraglomus brasilianum
  • Gigaspora margarita

Examples of Ectomycorrhizal Fungi:

  • Rhizopogon villosulus
  • Rhizopogon luteolus
  • Rhizopogon amylopogon
  • Rhizopogon fulvigleba
  • Pisolithus tinctorius
  • Suillus granulatus
  • Laccaria bicolor
  • Laccaria laccata
  • Scleroderma cepa
  • Scleroderma citrinum

What species of mycorrhizal fungi do I need?

One of the many advantages of including mycorrhiza in your growing practice is that they help create an environment where your plants thrive. As part of this thriving environment, there is increased biodiversity. Therefore, by choosing products with a more significant number of species of the types needed, you will be able to provide better care for your plants during their entire life cycle.

Research shows that different types of mycorrhiza help plants perform differently depending on their environment and time of year. Some help plants grow faster, while others help them cope with drought conditions. Some help plants deal with salt stress, while others help plants get nutrients from the soil. And so on.

So we recommend choosing plant-based fertilizers with greater variety (at least four different fungal species) so that you’re sure to provide the perfect soil microbes for your growing operation, landscaping project, tree care, etc.

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