Top 5 Reasons To Use Mycorrhizae In Your Garden.
5. Can give your plants up to 10000% more root mass (yes 10000%!)
4. It makes a plant heartier and more resistant to drought, pests and disease.
3. Use less water to grow even better plants.
2. Use less compost and fertilizer, meaning less work, energy and waste go into your garden.
1. Plant yield and growth will explode!
Runner Up: They look really cool when you see them pop up on your seedlings.
Mycorrhizae (or Myco’s for short) form a mutually beneficial relationship with the roots of most plant species. Let me simplify the science. The fungus colonizes roots of plants and breaks down certain nutrients for the plant, in return for those nutrients the plant feeds the fungus the sugars it so craves, its just a fungus with a sweet tooth looking for its next fix, which it is willing to work for. The mechanisms of increased absorption are both physical and chemical. Mycorrhizal mycelia, tiny little hairs which you can see on the roots, are much smaller in diameter than the smallest root, and thus can explore a greater amount of soil, providing a larger root mass for absorption of water and nutrients. While only a small proportion of all species has been examined, 95% of those plant families are predominantly mycorrhizal. And here is the real kicker, it may be myco’s that allowed waterborne plants to move to the dry land many millions of years ago!
Mycorrhizae should be everywhere, but due to pollution, runoff, pesticides, herbicides and anti-fungal sprays, mycos are missing in many gardens and raised beds, not to mention all indoor potted plants that are started with sterile soil.
Two Types, Two Jobs, Too Easy
There are two types of mycos, endo and ecto. Rather than bore you with my poorly explained science, I will simply tell you that endomycorrizae are for most vegetable and fruit species in your garden (spinach and lettuce type plants do not colonize with it, though it will not hurt them either), and ecto are for a lot of trees and some flowers such as roses and orchids. I just generally get a mix of ecto and endo so that it can both colonize the plant I am planting and rebuild the soil by possibly colonizing other areas and plants.
Technically there is a third type, but it is for bogs and not commonly sold or needed.
You can spray on myco, you can use it as a root inoculate when you transplant or plant, or you can “drill’ a small hole in the soil and spray or sprinkle some in the hole for existing plants. The key is to get it in contact with the roots.
So have heavier yields with less fertilizers and compost for less than $20 an acre. And I will give you a little tip that the guy at the garden center may not. You can use a small amount of myco and culture it in your potting soil, use it in house plants and then put that medium in the garden when done recycling the myco or you can even grow your own with certain grasses etc, but I just find it easier to buy a box or two a year (about a pound) for our whole farm to use.
Here is a good video if you want more info, the more you know, the more you can grow.
Research shows that the lack of mycorrhizal fungi can create problems with many plants, shrubs and trees when they are growing in our gardens, so make sure you get some before this spring.