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Cultivating Knowledge

What is Mycorrhizae?

You might have heard about mycorrhizae before, but do you really know what it is? What it does? Well, we are here to tell you all about it!

Mycorrhizae is a fungi that forms a mutualistic relationship with the roots of most plants. A mutualistic relationship means that they both benefit from one another. This relationship provides the fungus (mycorrhizae) with regular access to carbohydrates such as glucose and sucrose in return the plant gets an extension to reach minerals and nutrients due to the large surface of fungal hyphae, improving the plants absorption capabilities. Chances are you’ve seen mycorrhizal fungi in the soil, you may have mistaken them for roots because they often appear as long, thin, white threads entangled among the plants true roots.

Mycorrhizal fungi seek out plants that have tiny bits of food dripping from their roots. They attach themselves to the plant and extend their filaments into parts of the surrounding soil that the plant can’t reach. A plant would soon exhaust its small area of surrounding soil nutrients, but with the help of mycorrhizal fungi, plants benefit from nutrients and moisture found further from home. In addition, they produce glomalin—a superglue that helps stabilize the soil.

Let’s take a look at how these “beneficial fungi” also help your plants grow:

  • Increased resistance to drought

  • Enhanced ability to absorb nutrients

  • Better stress resistance

  • Better seedling growth

  • Cuttings that form a strong root structure

  • Quick transplant establishment growth

More than 90% of plants respond positively to mycorrhizae. Vegetable gardeners will notice that their corn and tomatoes thrive when there are mycorrhizal fungi in the soil, while leafy greens, especially members of the brassicas family, show no response. Spinach and beets also resist mycorrhizal fungi.

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