The value of Mycorrhizal fungi in soil
What are Mycorrhizae?
The term mycorrhizae describes the mutually beneficial (symbiotic) relationship between specialised soil fungi and the roots of most plants on the Earth. Mycorrhizal fungal filaments in the soil are extensions of root systems and are more effective in nutrient and water absorption than the roots themselves. Approximately 95% of plant species on the planet form a symbiotic relationship with the beneficial mycorrhizal fungi.
Are they Important?
Mycorrhizal fungi increase the surface absorbing area of roots, thereby greatly improving the ability of the plant to access soil resources. Mycorrhizae are an essential part of a healthy soil microbiome, and several miles of fungal filaments can be present in less than a thimbleful of soil.
Mycorrhizal fungi increase nutrient uptake not only by increasing the surface absorbing area of the roots, but also release powerful organic compounds into the soil that help to solubilise hard-to-capture nutrients, such as organic nitrogen, phosphorus, iron and other “tightly bound” soil nutrients. This extraction process is particularly important in plant nutrition and explains why non-mycorrhizal plants require high levels of fertilisation to maintain their health. Mycorrhizal fungi form an intricate web that captures and assimilates nutrients, conserving the nutrient capital in soils.
Do you Need Them?
Research studies indicate mycorrhizal populations are slow to recolonise naturally so introducing mycorrhizal fungi in areas where they have been lost or in artificial growing media can dramatically improve plant performance.
In summary, the benefits of mycorrhizal relationships are huge. The fungal mycelium bring water to the roots; they also bring such elements as phosphorus, nitrogen, manganese, copper, and zinc. They create a physical (and perhaps chemical) barrier against root pathogens and even plant parasitic nematodes. Not only that; mycorrhizae can greatly increase a plant's tolerance to heat and pH extremes.
We use tons of high quality Mycorrhizal fungi in our Grow mix (they are the small pale bluish-green specs), so if you would like to improve your grow from the word 'go' just go ahead and place an order:-)