A Guide To Applying Mycorrhiza To Extend Root Systems
If you are looking for the best, you have to incorporate mycorrhizal bioinoculants in your fertilization program. Mycorrhizal fungi help plants in a variety of ways and, in fact, many land plants wouldn’t grow in the absence these fungi. In this detailed guide, we explain the proper guidelines to use mycorrhizal bioinoculants.
Why Mycorrhizae are the Best Nutrients
Healthy roots make healthy plants. Apart from providing a strong anchor, roots are tasked with absorbing water and essential nutrients for the growing plants. If the plant has strong roots that perform its activities well, this will eventually result in a thriving plant.
However, a root system can only grow so much and do so much. But in order to enhance its functions, it has, through millions of years, perfected a partnership with another organism called mycorrhiza (mykos - fungus, rhiza - roots). This partnership,, one of mutual benefit, is called a symbiotic relationship.
Mycorrhiza is a very close association between a fungus and the roots of a plant in which the fungus either produces a sheath around the root hairs (ecto-mycorrhiza) or grows inside the root cells (endo-mycorrhiza). It changes the root structure and produces long filamentous hyphae which is a sort of extension of the plant’s root systems and enhances their ability to absorb water and nutrients. Mycorrhiza also produces acids which solubilize many soil-bound nutrients (like phosphorus, calcium, potassium) to make them available to the plants.
Mycorrhizal fungi are present in undisturbed soils. However, soils in which active farming is carried out may be deficient in them. And thus to promote root for the healthy growth of plants, it is best to add a bioinoculant that contains different strains of mycorrhizal fungi.
How to Apply a Mycorrhizal Bioinoculant for Best Results
Before getting into the details of applying mycorrhizal bioinoculants, it is important to understand that because mycorrhizal fungi colonize a plant’s roots, direct root contact is vital for best results. Also, because the product contains live microorganisms, you need to protect it by keeping it away from direct sunlight in a cool, dark place. Mycorrhizal bioinoculants come in two types – granular and water-soluble. Let us dive deep into how to apply them.
- Granular Mycorrhiza
These are available in the form of water-insoluble granules that can be directly applied to the plant roots. Plant Revolution’s Great White 1® is a granular preparation of a single species of mycorrhizal fungi and is great for many kinds of vegetables, flowers, fruits, shrubs and trees. Great White Granular 4® is a preparation that contains four carefully chosen strains of highly effective mycorrhizal fungi. Plant Success Organics Granular contains both endo and ecto mycorrhizae as well as a robust bacteria package.
You can either directly sprinkle the product into the planting hole or the furrow before seeding, or mix the seeds and the product in the seed bag. However the latter method, though easy, may not give you better coverage than the former.
Transplants and New Plantings
You can directly sprinkle the product on the root ball before planting, or sprinkle it near the roots after planting and before covering with soil.
Mix the mycorrhizal bioinoculant in the potting soil before use. In this method, you may need more product and may not be as effective as adding the product directly near the roots because direct contact is important for effective establishment of the symbiotic relationship.
You can still use mycorrhizal bioinoculants for established plants. However, you will have to ensure that the product reaches the roots, or close to it. If you just sprinkle the product near the topsoil, the mycorrhizal fungi will be inhibited by exposure to sunlight.
While soluble mycorrhizal bioinoculants are preferable for a hydroponic system, you can also use the granular product. You will, however, have to add the granular product in the growing medium during transplanting. So, for example, if you are using rockwool, and you are transplanting from 1” cubes to 8” cubes, add a few granules to the hole in the 8” cube before inserting the plant.
- Soluble Mycorrhiza
Soluble mycorrhizal products are available as a powder or in liquid form. By following the dilution scheme mentioned by the producer, you can create the final solution by mixing the product inwater. Great White Premium Mycorrhizae® is available in a soluble powder form and contains 16 chosen strains of ecto- and endo-mycorrhizal fungi. Orca® is a liquid mycorrhizal product that also contains mycorrhiza and beneficial bacteria.
Soak the seeds in the prepared solution for around 12 hours (or overnight). This is called ‘biopriming’ and helps the mycorrhizal product attach to the seeds.
Transplants and New Plantings
For transplants, apply the solution directly to the root ball before planting. You can also add some solution to the hole before you insert the plant.
Depending upon the type of soil, you can either do a soil drench (for porous soils) or use an injection (for compact soils). The trick is to get the solution to come in contact with the roots as effectively as possible.
Things To Consider While Using Mycorrhizal Bioinoculants
Once established, you can use certain fungicides without harming the mycorrhizal fungi. So if you are using fungicides to control pathogenic fungi, you need to wait around three weeks for optimal mycorrhizal establishment. Also, use fungicides sparingly, as extensive use of different types of fungicides will harm the mycorrhiza.
Don’t till. Tilling will break the fragile hyphal network that cannot reconnect. Once broken, the fungus has to start all over again. Shorter hyphae reduce the root system’s water and nutrient uptake capacity.
Effective Mycorrhizae for All Your Growing Needs
Mycorrhizae are proven to be effective in boosting plant growth and improving the quality of the root zone by attracting beneficial microbes. If you are looking for a plant root enhancement, look no further than Plant Revolution’s mycorrhiza-based bioinoculants.
Plant Revolution’s premium products are potent biological soil amendment products that use effective combinations of natural microorganisms to help boost root development and plant growth. To shop our products, click here.