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Mycorrhiza Inoculation

The Friendly Fungus

Mycorrhizal Application

Practically all plant life is dependant upon a relationship with Mycorrhizal fungi. From Greek literally meaning 'fungus roots', Mycorrhizae form a symbiotic relationship with the roots of 95% of the worlds' plant families, and aid nutrient exchange, increase resistance to disease and drought, and ultimately reduce the need for chemical fertilizers by around 40%. Mycorrhizae make plant growth possible, linking the roots of plants to the surrounding soil. In short, neither can survive without the other.

  Please click below to read more about;


Benefits of Mycorrhiza

  • 100% Natural and Organic Treatment (Mycorrhiza is a living organism)

  • Tried and Tested by nature over more than 400 million years

  • One off Treatment that Lasts the Duration of a Plants' Lifetime (when planting in final position)

  • Easy and Safe to Apply

  • Increased Drought Resistance and immunity to heat stress

  • Decreased Requirement for Chemical Fertilisers and Pesticides

  • Faster Growth due to increased uptake of soil Phosphorous

  • Increased Resistance to Root Diseases

  • Improves Soil Structure on Eroded or Reclaimed Sites or Steep Banks (helps bind soil together)

  • Helps Limit Weed Invasion (through improved soil structure)

  • Increases Plant Diversity

  • Increased Root Area, Flowering & Fruiting

  • Increased Survival Rates of Transplants and Seedlings

  • Can be Applied to Mature Plants and Trees

  • Mycorrhizal roots take hold faster in newly planted plants

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Flowering and fruiting is boosted by the presence of Mycorrhrizal Fungi in the soil Green Man Conservation Application Of Mycorrhizal Bacteria At The Planting Stage, Particularly On Former Brownfield, Or Intensively Farmed Sites


 Above Right; Flowering and fruiting is boosted by the presence of Mycorrhizal Fungi in the soil Above Left; Application Of Mycorrhizal Bacteria At The Planting Stage, Particularly On Former Brownfield, Or Intensively Farmed Sites


How does Mycorrhiza work?

Symbiosis is the close association of two or more different organisms. One type of symbiosis is known as mutualism, defined as an association that is advantageous to both parties. The most common-and possibly the most important-mutualistic, symbiotic relationship in the plant kingdom is known as Mycorrhiza. Mycorrhiza is a specialized, symbiotic association between the roots of plants and fungi that occurs in the vast majority of plants-both wild and cultivated. In a Mycorrhizal relationship, the fungi assist their host plants by increasing the plants' ability to capture water and essential elements such as phosphorus, zinc, manganese, and copper from the soil, and transfer them into the plant's roots. The fungi also provide protection against attack by pathogens and nematodes. In return for these benefits, the fungal partner receives carbohydrates, amino acids, and vitamins essential for its growth directly from the host plant. Basidiomycetes (mushrooms, bracket fungi, etc.) are the fungal, Mycorrhizal partners of trees and other woody plants. Zygomycetes (moulds, etc.) are the fungal partners of non-woody plants. It has been estimated that Mycorrhizal fungi amount to 15 percent of the total weight of the world's plant roots. [1]. A 1996 study by the USDA Agricultural Research Service where young seedlings where planted in a forest next to mature trees found that the young plants were essentially 'fed' by the older trees through the extensive root network and Mycorrhizal relationship contained in the soil around the new plant roots. This discovery turns on its head the traditional way of understanding nutrient adoption in the natural world.

More than 90 percent of plant species form a symbiotic arrangement with beneficial soil Mycorrhizal fungi. The roots are colonized by the soil fungus, which attaches to the roots and extends far into the surrounding soil environment. The colonized root is called a Mycorrhiza. Mycorrhizal fungi are the dominant microbes in undisturbed soils accounting for 60 to 80 percent of the microbial biomass. They are fundamental to plant establishment, supplying the water and nutrients needed for survival and, in exchange, receiving essential sugars and other compounds supplied by the plant.

Mycorrihiza Forming Extra 'Roots' For The Host Plant Aiding Nutrient Uptake & Moisture Absorbsion From Soil

Mycorrhizal fungi increase the surface absorbing area of roots 10 to 1,000 times, thereby greatly improving the ability of the plants to use the soil resource. Estimates of amounts of Mycorrhizal filaments present in soil associated with plants are astonishing. Several miles of fungal filaments can be present in less than a thimbleful of soil. Mycorrhizal fungi enhance nutrient uptake not only by increasing the surface absorbing area of roots, they also release powerful chemicals into the soil that dissolve hard-to-capture nutrients, such as phosphorous, iron and other complex soil nutrients. Mycorrhizal fungi form an intricate web that captures and assimilates nutrients, conserving the nutrient capital in soils. In non-Mycorrhizal conditions, much fertility is unavailable to plants or lost from the soil system.

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Mycorrhiza boosts plants ability to resist disease and carry them safely through sudden changes in weather Mycorrhiza boosts plants ability uptake nutrients and survive drought


Above Left; Mycorrhiza boosts plants ability to resist disease and carry them safely through sudden changes in weather; Above Right; Mycorrhiza boosts plants ability uptake nutrients and survive drought, severe cold or heat


Why do we need to apply Mycorrhiza?

As we have seen Mycorrhizal fungi occur in natural systems where over millennia plants and fungus have formed a mutually beneficial synergy, each benefiting from the presence of the other. In more recent years, mankind's intervention through increasingly intensive farming methods, monoculture techniques and a view of simply providing a plant with exactly what it needs has led to the decrease of naturally occurring Mycorrhizal fungi. Many growers will use imported soils or composts, or use the soil around them more intensively than a natural system would normally allow in order to supply the demand, meaning most of the plant nutrient needs to be imported and added.

In essence, most plants are grown intensively, and if they are not looked after as intensively when they are bought and planted, which most are not, they will become ill and probably die. A nursery that provides for the botanical needs of a plant through Mycorrhizal treatment as well as the standard 'healthy appearance', would be offering a high level of service that would positively affect the quality of their plants and their reputation, and is a cost that should be recouped on the sale of a higher quality plant sold with an immune system attached.

The addition of Mycorrhizal fungi is most beneficial when the plant is young, and providing the soil and root system is to be retained when transplanting, a one off treatment is adequate to last the lifetime of the plant.

The application of Mycorrhizae is particularly important when planting into sites that have had one use for many years - agricultural land, eroded or damaged land, Brownfield sites, in fact in honesty most sites that are earmarked for planting and most plants from nursery stock will benefit from Mycorrhizal application.

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Green Man Conservation Mycorrhizal Inoculation - A Struggling Cherry Tree Due To Root Disturbance From Neighbouring Ground Works Inoculated With Mycorrhiza The Previous Season - A Massive Flush Of Flowers Adorn The Tree


 Above; Mycorrhizal Inoculation in Mature Trees - A Struggling Cherry Tree Due To Root Disturbance From Neighbouring Ground Works Inoculated With Mycorrhiza The Previous Season - A Flush Of Flowers Adorn The Tree


Types of Mycorrhizal Fungi

There are three dominant associations Mycorrhizal Fungi adopt when colonising a plants' roots. this is either Intercellularly, (existing, occurring and functioning within a cell), as Arbuscular Mycorrhizal Fungi (AMF). Arbuscular Mycorrhizal Fungi are the most common type of Mycorrhizae on the planet, and 90% of all plant families contain AMF. Arbuscular Mycorrhizal Fungi is also known as Vesicular Arbuscular Mycorrhizae (VAM), or 'Endomycorrhizae' (a term that has now been deemed unreliable in describing this group)

Extracellular activity, (existing, occurring and functioning outside a cell), is known as Ectomycorrhizal Fungi (EcM), and are found between the roots of around 10% of plant families, mostly woody plants including the Birch, Eucalyptus, Oak, Pine and Rose families. Ectomycorrhizas consist of a hyphal sheath, or mantle, which covers the root tip and surround the plant cells within the root cortex. In some cases the hyphae may also penetrate the plant cells, in which case the Mycorrhiza is called an ectendomycorrhiza. Outside the root, the fungal mycelium forms an extensive network within the soil and leaf litter. Nutrients can be shown to move between different plants through the fungal network (sometimes called the wood wide web). Carbon has been shown to move from birch trees into fir trees thereby promoting succession in ecosystems.

The third most important relationship is Ericoid Mycorrhiza. They have a simple intraradical (grow in cells) phase, consisting of dense coils of hyphae in the outermost layer of root cells. There is no periradical phase and the extraradical phase consists of sparse hyphae that don't extend very far into the surrounding soil. They might form sporocarps (probably in the form of small cups), but their reproductive biology is little understood.

Ericoid Mycorrhizae have also been shown to have considerable saprotrophic capabilities, which would enable plants to receive nutrients from not-yet-decomposed materials via the decomposing actions of their ericoid partners

Midgley, DJ, Chambers, SM & Cairney, JWG. 2002. Spatial distribution of fungal endophyte genotypes in a Woollsia pungens (Ericaceae) root system. Australian Journal of Botany 50, 559-565

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Application of Mycorrhizae

Mycorrhizal application is easy and quick and does not require specialist equipment, training or personal protective equipment. Physical contact between the Mycorrhizal inoculants and the plant root is the only precursor to getting inoculation right. Mycorrhizal inoculants can come in a powder form and be sprinkled onto roots when plants are transplanted, watered in via existing irrigation systems or just with a watering can, worked into seed beds prior to seeds germinating, added into potting soil and provided in situ to growers, applied as a root dip gel or probed into the root zone of existing plants and trees if they are more mature.

Basically is is easy and the form Mycorrhizal fungi come in, and the method of application can be changed to suit the application and the existing plant system.

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Mycorrhiza Vs Fertiliser


Many fertiliser regimes push top growth at the expense of root development, making plants vulnerable to stressful environments. Frequent, high levels of fertiliser produce an unbalanced and often unsustainable shoot-to-root ratio. Mycorrhizae, on the other hand, feed your plants and stimulate root growth. Unlike Mycorrhizae, fertiliser cannot help prevent root disease, improve soil structure or promote other beneficial microbes.


Of course if the nutrient in the soil is woefully lacking, added fertiliser will help the plant - organic natural fertilisers work best with Mycorrhizal inoculants, and improving the soil in the traditional way before planting if it is very poor coupled with the addition of Mycorrhizal inoculants will provide the best results.


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[1] "Mycorrhiza." The Handy Biology Answer Book.. Visible Ink Press., 2004. 18 Apr. 2010.


Abridged excerpt by Dr. Mike Amaranthus

Dr Amaranthus spent 20 years with Oregon State University and the U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service, where he wrote more than 50 research papers on mycorrhizae. He is the recipient of the USDA Highest Honors for scientific achievement.


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Mycorrhizae Help Increase Blossom and Fruiting, & Increase Health & Vigour

Green Man Conservation Mycorrhizal Inoculation - A Struggling Cherry Tree Due To Root Disturbance From Neighbouring Ground Works Inoculated With Mycorrhiza The Previous Season - A Massive Flush Of Flowers Adorn The Tree

Mycorrhizal Friendly Fungus Forming A Symbiotic & Mutually Beneficial Relationship With Trees & Plants















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