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Hi! I was talking to a compost tea brewer yesterday and he told me that mycorrhizea harms certain plants by stunting their growth. I'm fortunate to have heard this before I propagated seeds or transplanted this year.
I was informed about a web source with information about plants that don't respond to mycorrhizea such as cabbage, blueberry and sedge. Many Dave's Garden members are still waiting to plant so I wanted to help folks who are interested in finding out which type of mycorrhizea to use or if they should avoid it. The following page describes how mycorrhizea affect different groups of plants:
I will look at the thread, however just a quick question for you DoGooder. Are you saying there are more than one type of Mychorrizae? Think that is what you said. So, guess I had better read the thread. I did not know that. No idea. Jen
Jnette, I'm not an expert but as I understand it there are two major types of mycorrhizae: ectomycorrhizae and endomycorrhizae. 90% of plants benefit from the ecto type, 5% of plants benefit from the endo type, and 5% of plants don't need mycorrhizae. Also, some plants like willow benefit from both endo and ecto mycorrhizae.
Beneficial microbes are all the rage this gardening season. I have a dry product that contains both ecto and endo M, and a liquid product, "Thrive", the version for vegetables, that I'm going to use. It's been highly promoted in our area. As for me...time will tell - I'm trying to give my veggies a "leg up" during this horrid drought we've been experiencing.
I attended a presentation last year about soil microbes and the effectiveness of beneficial types working in symbiotic relationship with a plants roots - extremely interesting. The advice was to add organic matter to your garden soil, provide enough moisture for them (your native population) to live and multiply to keep the cycle going vs. just pouring a "miracle product" on the soil thinking its going to make the difference.
I read the link that you provided. Looks like those products help the natural composting process in growing media. Regarding the drought issue you mentioned, perhaps adding greensand will help. Greensand has not harmed any of my plants and it has been especially beneficial to plants that need frequent watering such our umbrella tree and Million Kisses Begonia.
RickCorey_WA, thanks for the link with mycorrhizae information! It says that mycorrhizae grow better in soil than in soil-less media, so maybe I will add soil and mycorrhizae to some of my seedlings to see if it helps their growth.
Hmmm, maybe that's one reason my seedlings get wimpy if I hold them in cells or pots too long. The roots really really DO need their symbionts.
I read one article about "multiplying" mycorrhizae for arid regions. You were supposed make a spore-rich innoculm by growing certain myco-friendly cover crops in healthy soil that started out with plenty of mycorrhizae.
"... a mixture of host plants are sown - members of the grass and legume family have been shown to be infected by mycorrhizal fungi easily:
maize and beans
or millet or other members of the grasses family with a legume such as lentil.
Onions or leeks are good too."
After 3 or so minths of growth, cut the plants down and stop all watering.
"This effectively kills the plant and tricks the mycorrhiza that has infected the roots into quickly releasing spores.
After one further week the roots of the host plants are pulled up, roughly chopped into 1cm long strips and mixed back into the soil. This soil and root mixture becomes your inoculum."
>> this is the first time I heard that mycorrhizae can hurt anything
not that I knew anything myself about any risks.
My post immediatly above yours was suggesting ways to increase mycorrhizae in arid soils, and speculation that lack of mycorrhizae in my seedling cells might be making them wimpy if held too long away from real soil where they would find the mycorrhizae they lack.
I'll find that microbiology text tonight. It opened my eyes how many varieties there are, and how complex some plant species get. In some plant species, literally FOUR different species of mycorrhizae would take up residence in different parts of the root and soil, and each perform specialized tasks.
It must provide a major benefit, for such complex inter-species co-evolution to occur. I guess plants and fungi are smarter than politicians about co-operation!
It gives a new meaning to "grass roots" organizing.
WShat's especiallyh cool to me is that both plant roots and root-fungi cooperate to both extract water and minerals from soil, but also improve soil's structure, drainage and water-retention. Win-win-win, in biological, mechanical and chemical domains.
Nature doesn't seem to have any problems about wsorking "accross the isle" and "out of the box", or "inter-disciplinary". I think Mother Nature forget to tgeach her children about "not my job" and "zero sum game".
Sorry I forgot to look for the microbiology text, but imagine that I typed 10 lines of dense Latin plus several "wows" and "cools". I recall that some would slip into viens in roots and/or root hairs, others would mostly sit on the surface of root hairs, and I THINK some actually penetrated root cells.
Both roots and fungi would change their morphology once they started living together.