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Cultivating Knowledge

Myths & Truths about Mycorrhizae

The importance of mycorrhizae cannot be overstated. Today, 95% of the world’s plant species form mycorrhizal relationships with fungi. Mycorrhizae has been around for over 460 million years, due to its ability to survive in multiple habitats ranging from humid to dry. Below are some misconceptions about mycorrhizae and the multiple benefits it provides to your plants.

Myth #1: There is no need to use mycorrhizae

Many plants will trade up to 50% of their carbohydrates with these fungi. Mycorrhizal fungi greatly improve soil characteristics, and make plants less susceptible to soil-borne pathogens. This fungi will establish a symbiotic relationship with the roots of your plants. They do this by invading the roots of veggies, flowers, shrubs, and trees; connect them; and then send out their filaments, called hyphae, as much as 200 times farther into the soil than the roots they colonize.

Myth #2: My soil already produces enough biology for my plants

Mycorrhizae actually enhances a plants ability to take up nutrients and water especially phosphorous which it transmits back to the roots. Tillage, fertilization, removal of top soil, erosion, nonnative plants are some of the activities that can reduce or eliminate this fungi. In many situations we have reduced or eliminated the soil organisms necessary for plants to function without high levels of maintenance.

Myth #3: You have to re-apply the mycorrhizae

You do not have to reapply mycorrhizae. But given all the wonderful benefits this fungi gives your plants, it makes sense that you would want to protect this fungus. For example, you can add a layer of mulch to shield soil organisms from extreme temperatures and drying out. Or by properly fertilizing, which entails not over fertilizing your lawn at the appropriate time of year is key to maintaining healthy mycorrhizal fungus population in your turf.

Myth #5: Mycorrhizae is fully capable of living on its own

Symbiosis is used to describe the close association between two, related species that are mutually benefiting from this association. These associations are obligatory ones in which neither organism can survive in nature if the two organisms are separated.

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