What are mycorrhizae fungi and why are they important to my plants? The term mycorrhizal comes from the Greek words mykes (fungus) and rhiza (root). Mycorrhizal fungi develop beneficial relationships with plant root systems.
The plant does the above ground work and the fungi work underground to gather nutrients and protect the roots. The plant benefits because of increased availability of water and nutrients and in turn the mycorrhizae thrive and increase from the nourishment the plant provides.
Mycorrhizae will also improve clay-based soils by separating the clay molecules to improve air and water movement around the plant’s roots. In sandy soils, these root networks help improve moisture retention.
Why do I have to add fungi to my soil. In nature undisturbed soils are abundant with fungi and plants can more easily form a natural relationship with beneficial mycorrhizal fungi. Since we live in areas where the soils have been disturbed through digging, tilling, moving soil around, it’s necessary to re-establish many of these organisms.
How do I get mycorrhizae into my soils? There are two ways to reintroduce beneficial mycorrhizae fungi. First, use a soil with mycorrhizal fungus in it.
This will greatly increase plant performance.
Second, add mycorrhizae using a liquid, water soluble or granular application. This can applied to new plantings or to established plants.
Mycorrhizal fungi need plant roots to survive, so it is important to apply close to the roots, where it will colonize and spread. Simply mix the appropriate amount of mycorrhizae with water and pour it close to the roots of your plants. You can use on edibles as well as ornamentals.