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Understanding How Mycorrhizal Works and 10 Ways Your Garden Can Benefit from These

Have you tried cultivating your garden but experienced very poor yield? Are you tired of using fertilizers to grow your garden?

In a new national survey conducted in 2018 by the National Gardening Survey, up to 77% of American households were involved in gardening, with 35% made up of older gardeners.

Are you one of these gardeners or is your soil being uncooperative?

If the latter is the case, you need to get some mycorrhizal fungi.

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Mycorrhizal fungi are very significant for people, plants, and the planet. . By partnering with several land plants, the fruiting bodies of mycorrhizal fungi have great significance for gardeners across the globe. 

They arecrucial to this period,where natural resources are depleting on a global scale.

This thorough guide will show you how you can benefit from using mycorrhizal in your garden and how to go about incorporating these clever fungi in your planting protocol. 

Here’s a quick look at the contents of this article:

  • Mycorrhizal - the clever fungi
  • Why do you need mycorrhizal in your garden?
  • Activities that militate against the growth of mycorrhiza in the soil
  • Management practices that can impact mycorrhizal populations
  • How to add mycorrhizal to your garden
  • Vegetable crops that do not need mycorrhizal

Now, to the main content!

Mycorrhizal - The Clever Fungi

One of the best organisms for your garden soil is a fungus called mycorrhiza. In Greek, it means fungus root and can also be referred to as vesicular-arbuscular mycorrhiza (VAM). It is broadly classified into two types - Ectomycorrhizal and Endomycorrhizal.

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This beneficial fungus establishes a symbiotic, graceful relationship with the roots of plants like vegetables, trees, shrubs, and flowers. After invading their roots, the mycorrhizal connects them, then they send their hyphae, also known as filaments, out farther into the soil.

These roots reach far into the soil where the roots normally would not colonize. The mycorrhizal present in the soil will help to mine a very wide area in search of water and nutrients, which it then sends back to the roots. In return, the plant provides the fungus with glucose.

By extending the feeding area, plants that associate with mycorrhizal are healthier, have fewer root diseases, require less fertilizer and moisture, are more tolerant to salt, and have very good root formation.

Why Do You Need Mycorrhizal In Your Garden?

Mycorrhiza is a clever fungus that has a lot of benefits to offer plants and the environment.

Are you wondering what these benefits are?

Here are 10 outstanding ways that mycorrhizal fungi can benefit you as a gardener:

  • They help to control soil erosion.
  • Increase plants’ tolerance to soil salinity.
  • Make your plants healthier and more vigorous.
  • Improve drought tolerance by helping you reduce watering.
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    • Help in maintaining nutrient cycling and soil quality.
    • Also optimize the use of fertilizers, especially those containing phosphorus.
    • They help to increase the quality and yield of crops.
    • Increase the establishment and survival of plants at seeding or transplanting.
    • Reduce the occurrence of diseases.
    • Hasten flowering and fruiting. 

      • Activities That Militate Against the Growth of Mycorrhizas in the Soil

        Mycorrhizal needs an enabling environment to flourish in your soil and nourish your plants.

        For the subterranean environment that your plants need to grow to exist, the labyrinth of the hyphae must remain undisturbed. Activities such as tilling and hoeing can destroy this delicate lace and re-establishing it could take months or years. If you make tilling a yearly event, mycorrhizal won’t have a foothold on your soil.

        If your soil has high organic matter content,  mycorrhizal will flourish there. Hence, you can consider adding compost as a way of encouraging the fungi to be more established and grow faster. 

        So, instead of digging your soil to add the organic matterthereby destroying the fungal net, you could place the compost on the soil surface. With time, it will decay naturally into the soil.

        Management Practices That Can Impact Mycorrhizal Populations

        Management practices are part of an inclusive mycorrhizal technology that refers to a set of complex tools that play a significant role in impacting the diversity and abundance of mycorrhizal fungi. 

        These practices could be agronomic (such as tillage, crop rotations, fertilizer, among others) or they could be approaches that are more directly targeted (such as mycorrhization helper-bacteria or inoculation using fungal strains).

        Here are three management practices in gardening that can also affect the colonization of roots, mycorrhizal fungal populations, and also influence the changes taking place on the soil.

        Tillage: Tilling your soil will destroy the formation of the fungi’s extra-radical mycelial network. It also causes species to shift within the soil.
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    • Crop rotation: Practicing monoculture is bad for the diversity and populations of mycorrhizal fungi, especially when you grow crops that are not mycorrhizal hosts or crops that do not depend too much on mycorrhizal symbiosis.
    • With less crop rotation diversity, the fungal community will be less parasitic and less diverse. This will make them colonize host plants less aggressively.

    • Fertilization: If you continually apply phosphorus to the soil, you will inhibit the development of mycorrhizal fungi. Plants rely less on fungi when the nutrients become abundant in the soil. Decreased dependency brings about a decrease in the diversity and richness of the mycorrhizal fungal community.
    • How to Add Mycorrhizal to Your Garden

      Mycorrhizal can help you get up to 60 percent more phosphate and 30% more nitrogen,  and a couple of nutrients and trace metals for your plants to flourish. With this, your plants will not require fertilizer and the root fragments will be in great condition year after year.

      How Can You Add Mycorrhizae to Your Garden?

      Well, it is important to start early. First mix the seeds with very little inoculants. Then when the seeds begin to germinate, the root hairs will partner with suitable strains. However, if your plantings are more established or you have larger plants, you will require more mycorrhizal for the  extensive root network.

      There are a couple of ways to add these beneficial fungi to your garden plants. It is recommended that you combine several steps to make sure the plants partner with the mycorrhizal fungi forever.

      Tip: When using mycorrhizal fungi, be sure to take note of the following:

      • Direct root contact
      • Use non-chlorinated water
      • Keep in a cool, dark place, away from direct sunlight
      • Adhere to the product’s instructions to enjoy better results.

      Do not use city water when using mycorrhizal. When using a bucket with water, allow it to sit overnight first.

      Are your inoculants granular or soluble?

      Whichever one you choose, the focus is to have direct access to your plants’ roots and boost their growth.

      A. Granular Inoculants

        It is important to take note of the frequency with which you apply mycorrhizal fungi so that you can reduce transplant shock and also get the plants well established.

        You can also make additional mycorrhizal treatments every 10 to 14 days until the final transplant takes place. About 7 days before transplanting or repotting, add more mycorrhizal treatment. This will give the mycorrhizal fungi more time to colonize the root mass of your plants and ensure they grow successfully.

        Here are some techniques you can use to add granular mycorrhizal to your lovely garden:

        1. Seeds

        The seed banding technique involves applying mycorrhiza into a furrow or planting hole before direct seeding. Make sure the planting depth is adequate, has been watered, and everything that will make the seed germinate properly is in place.

        First, mix a cup of your mycorrhizal inoculant into a cubic foot of your seed starting mix. With this mix, you can germinate your seedlings.

        However, do not use potting soil containing fertilizer as it could backfire and also prevent your plant roots from getting infected.

        1. New plantings/transplants

        Incorporating granular mycorrhiza for new plantings can be done in several ways. You can either apply it directly to the roots or add it to your backfill.

        For best results, you should apply it directly to the roots of the planting. This will guarantee colonization and more success.

        Simply sprinkle a little mycorrhiza on the root ball before planting. A one-gallon transplant may require only ½ teaspoon.

        If you are planting directly into your garden and ground soil, you should first dig a hole, add compost to your soil and mix properly. Then shape and size the hole before dropping 1 tablespoon of inoculant at the bottom. The roots of the crop you are transplanting will sit on the inoculant.

        1. Soil amendment

        Another way of adding natural, beneficial fungi to your soil is by incorporating mycorrhiza into your potting mix or soil blend. This is because most bagged or store-bought soils lack beneficial nutrients and beneficial fungi.

        For mycorrhizal fungi to colonize and survive, there has to be root mass, otherwise, the dormant beneficial fungi may  lose their viability. So, know the shelf life of the product you are using, which is usually one year or more.

        1. Established plants

        Are your seedlings established but still quite small?

        You can still inoculate them. These clever fungi are very beneficial when applied to established plants.

        Simply add 1 teaspoon of mycorrhizal inoculant close to the base of each small seedling. Blend well into the soil and water very well. Also, place around the drip line and cover well or mulch because mycorrhizal fungi cannot survive if exposed to sunlight.

        B. Liquid Inoculation

          What if you bought soluble mycorrhizal instead? How do you apply it?

          Here are different ways you can apply soluble mycorrhizal to your soil.

          1. Seeds

          Riming, also known as seed soaking, is a technique involving soaking seeds in mycorrhizal fungi or bio-stimulants’ solution. The bio-stimulants can adhere to your seeds and will be established at planting.

          The recommended time for soaking varies but, for best results, most gardeners use 8 to 12 hours.

          1. New plantings/transplants

          To add mycorrhizal to your transplants or new plantings, mix a solution of it with non-chlorinated water before adding it as a root or soil drench. Make sure you water  it well and it makes direct contact with the root.

          You can also use liquid inoculant to water your transplants then add little mycorrhizal fungi around the plant’s drip line. This will help to ensure that the root tips are adequately infected.

          Add the mycorrhizal every 10 to 14 days until plant establishment or not less than 7 days before transplanting.

          Besides, you can make your liquid inoculant jug from dried inoculants. To do this, mix a tablespoon of granules into 1 gallon or water jug. Shake properly before use and use the water very sparingly. It should only be used for a few days.

          1. Established plantings

          Mycorrhizal and plant bio-stimulants can be very effective when you add them to newly planted, established, or distressed plantings or trees.

          1. Soil or root drench

          Is your soil too porous?

          The root or soil drench works best on porous soils, especially when you water it in very well to make sure it makes complete contact with the root. You will find this technique more effective if your plants are potted or in a greenhouse.

          1. Soil injection

          Are you worried that your soil is too compacted to allow penetration of the mycorrhizal fungi?

          Soil injection is the best way to ensure that mycorrhizal penetrate to the roots’ mass. Once you can use a stake to get 6 to 8 inches deep into the root zone, you can follow a grid pattern along the drop line to ensure even distribution.

          When this is done, pour the mycorrhizal solution into the holes.

          Most professional landscapers and arborists prefer using commercial-grade root injectors.

          1. Hydroponic

          You can also apply mycorrhizal directly to your hydroponic systems. However, take care so you use the right filtration systems or mesh sizes in their specific setups.

          Because of the ingredients that most of these solutions are made up of, they are not always fully solubilized and will have to be either decanted or mixed to a suspended or agitated state.

          Vegetable Crops That Do Not Need Mycorrhizal

          Has your vegetable plant been unresponsive to mycorrhizal fungi?

          Although  over 95% of plant species can form symbiotic relationships with these beneficial fungi, some plants do not. If your vegetable garden contains crops from the Brassicaceae family and the Amaranthaceous family, you do not have to bother about them needing mycorrhizal fungi.

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          Here’s a list of some of the vegetable plants that do not need mycorrhizal fungi:

          • Vegetables in the Brassicaceae family
            • Broccoli
            • Cabbage
            • Collards
            • Mustard
            • Brussels sprouts
            • Cauliflower
            • Kale
            • Rutabaga
          • Vegetables in the Amaranthaceous family
            • Beets
            • Lamb’s quarters
            • Spinach
            • Amaranth
            • Swiss chard
            • Quinoa
            • Purslane

          Do You Need Mycorrhizal in Your Garden?

          All types of mycorrhizal fungi hold a lot of significance for our society and the planet we live on. Although most gardens already contain mycorrhizal,  it won’t hurt to add more mycorrhizal and also apply mulch to enhance the activities of the fungi.

          Did you inherit a piece of land that was formerly a building site or has been overworked recently?

          You need to give Plant Revolution a call. We can help to make your soil more productive than it has ever been. With our top-quality mycorrhiza products, we will make sure your garden yields bountifully.