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Why plants need Mycorrhiza

Most plants have evolved a beneficial relationship with soil fungi called a mycorrhiza (meaning fungus root).

Extended Root System

Mycorrhizal fungi increase the surface absorbing area of roots up to 100 times, allowing the plants to utilize the nutrients and water in the soil more efficiently. You may find several miles of fungal filament in a small pot of soil.

Better uptake of nutrients
In addition to massively increasing the root surface area the mycorrhiza also release chemicals into the soil that dissolve locked up nutrients such as phosphorous and iron and take them up into the plant as and when needed. This extraction process uses nutrients already in the soil reducing the need for additional fertilisers. It explains why mycorrhizal plants can grow twice as fast with half the fertiliser of non mycorrhizal plants.

Some plants cannot take up nutrient without mycorrhiza. This is why you can plant a tree and it will not grow for several years, just living off stored resources until it has developed its own mycorrhizal fungi to access nutrients and water.

Reduced irrigation
Many studies have shown that in dry conditions mycorrhizal plants have access to and store more than twice the amount of water so mycorrhizal plants suffer far less from drought stress than non inoculated plants.

Reduced disease
Mycorrhizal fungi have no direct biocidal or fungicidal effect but they do form a protective barrier around the root stopping some pathogens from attacking the host plant. In addition a healthy plant is much less susceptible to disease.


Eleagnus on left inoculated with Symbio Mycorrhizal Transplanter no fungicides;
tray on right grown with inorganic fertilisers and 3 applications of fungicide

Improved soil structure

Because mycorrhizal plants need much less inorganic fertiliser (mineral salts) a healthier soil food web can develop. Mycorrhizal fungi capture nutrients, water and carbon taken into the plant by photosynthesis, thus conserving the nutrient capital in soils.

Mycorrhizal fungi also improve soil structure. Mycorrhizal filaments produce humic compounds and organic "glues" called polysaccharides that bind soils into aggregates and improve soil porosity. Soil porosity and soil structure positively influence the growth of plants by promoting aeration, water movement into soil, root growth, and distribution.

 


Camelia10vs20


Plant on left inoculated with Symbio Mycorrhizae and organic fertilisers. Plant on right grown with inorganic fertilisers only

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