What Are Mycorrhizae And How Do They Work?
Mycorrhizae are actually a large group of fungi that build a symbiotic relationship with various plants. They either attach themselves to the root’s surface or may grow inside the plant’s roots. The fungi get its nutrition from the plant’s food; in turn, they send out small roots (hyphae) into the surrounding soil and absorb water and nutrients that are beneficial to the plants.
The weather and soil conditions on the dry hillsides in California don’t provide the ideal conditions for healthy plant growth; and in the summer heat, hundreds of gallons of water are used on a daily basis just to keep the plants well-watered and well-nourished. While the symbiotic nature of plant roots and the Mycorrhizae fungus has been known and used since ancient Greek times, its only over the last decade that this particular fungi have been widely used in and forestry, agriculture, ornamental horticulture as well as golf course management.
Mycorrhizae fungi have been commercially produced and made available to the agricultural and other green industries for about 10 years now; however, landscapers and home gardeners have been introduced to this concept only very recently. These beneficial fungi can be used to add to the beauty and health of the landscaping. It is an excellent way of reducing their dependency on herbicides, chemical pesticides and fertilizers.
Mycorrhizae - The Benefits
As mentioned at the outset, Mycorrhizae have a symbiotic relationship with the roots of various plants and they offer a number of benefits:
- Their hyphae or mycelium extend into the surrounding soil and act as auxiliary roots for the plant; they increase the water and nutrition absorption capacity of the plant’s roots by 10-1000 times. This is significantly more than what the plants’ roots are able to manage on their own.
- They have amazing growing capacity and even a thimbleful of soil can easily hold miles of these super-fine hyphae. Even as they help the plant absorb water and nutrients effectively, they too gain from the nutrition and protection the plant provides them.
- The hyphae are more effective than the plants own roots when it comes to absorbing nutrients and water. This is because they have a very fine structure and can effectively penetrate even the small spaces that normal roots cant. These filaments release potent enzymes that quickly dissolve various tightly-bound minerals such as iron, sulfur and phosphorus and provide these to the plants.
- The filaments also absorb and store water, which goes a long way in decreasing plant stress in drought situations.
- The mycelium binds the smaller soil particles into much larger aggregates, with the use of various humic compounds. The resultant soil structure allows for better movement of water & air which encourages distribution and root growth.
- Aside from this, these filaments also attack the disease-causing organisms that infiltrate the root zone via various methods. Some of these filaments produce antibiotics that either eliminate or immobilize disease-causing organisms.
- Some Mycorrhizae filaments entrap nematodes that feed on roots, and kill them.
- Certain Mycorrhizae provide the plants effective protection from fungi such as Rhizoctonia, Phytophytora and Fusarium, all of which can cause diseases in plants.
- All of this goes a long way in improving the survival rate of plants, enhances root and top branches growth.
- They help plants bloom better which results in better fruit production.
- Since there is a marked improvement in the soil structure, the plant is protected from disease as well.
- The plants are better equipped to fight against weed plant invasions.
As you can see, Mycorrhizae are beneficial to the plantings in your landscape, garden and yard, in a number of ways. For more information about how these fungi work, what the application schedule should be and before you place your order for Mycorrhizae, call us at this number-1-888-673-7645. You can also send us your queries via this online form.