Mycorrhiza

A mycorrhiza (Gk.,: fungus roots, pl mycorrhizae, mycorrhizas) is a symbiotic (generally mutualistic, but occasionally weakly pathogenic) association between a fungus and the roots of a vascular plant.

I’ve been reading a great deal lately about commercial Mycorrhizal  products reported to improve soil and benefit plants. “MycoBoost”, Mycorite and a host of other brand names claim to:

colonize plant roots, expand into the surrounding soil and greatly increase the root’s ability to absorb water and nutrients for healthier plants and turf. This “good fungi” also pushes out disease causing micro-organisms for better plant health. MycoBoost restores the natural partnership between plant and fungus for healthier, happier plants

I’m always looking for that kind of result so I did some research. My considered (and amateur) conclusion is that I’m not going to use the commercial products. Mycorrhiza exist in most soils and are just as specialized as many of the plants that occur naturally in the same area. In my garden,the local beneficial fungi co-exist with low bush blueberries, sweet fern, oak, spruce and white pine. Like many of the plants here they are probably “pioneers”  – able to thrive in a harsh environment of sparse soil, salt air and extremes of temperature and humidity. Importing a foreign, concentrated variety overpowers the local fungi and then peters out, unable to survive for very long under those conditions. Also, it’s $20 @ pound plus shipping.

Mycorrhiza is encouraged by increased plant life, which then benefits plant life, and so on. I plan to encourage the plants, and have more respect for that white webby stuff that spreads under the mulch in the garden.

Now, I’m reading about potash. We’ll see where that goes. . .

2 thoughts on “Mycorrhiza

  1. i aim to replant new roses in existing sites that have had roses there.to enable me to be successful with new roses i have been instructed to dig out an 18″ area of the old soil and replace it with a quality lohn innes no3 compost ,but to also include in the mixture mycorrhizal fungi to give the roses the best start to their growing procedure.if as you suggest it is better to leave well alone the companies that promote this product are not giving the public the correct advice .but i am prepared to use this plant aid as it is not advised to plant roses in a spot previously occupied by an old rose.i am limited to space in my garden hence the explained reason.

    • So far, reports from other gardeners here suggest that the commercial mycorrhizal fungi soil mixes aren’t worth the extra costs for plants that don’t specifically need them, so I would not use it on roses. I do know a rose expert who insists on digging out the old soil and replacing it to replant roses – as you say. All the best with this work!

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