The Q&A Archives: Mycorrhizae

Question: I understand that your nursery uses Mycorrhizae with your potted plants. I am curious about it's benifits. I live in an area with clay predominatly, and anything that could help with establishing new plants sparks my interest. How long has Monrovia Nursary been using Mycorrhizae? How could I apply it to previously planted shrubs and trees. Where is a good source of this for the home gardener. Thank You. Al CLark

Answer: The word "mycorrhizae" literally means "fungus-roots" and defines the close mutually beneficial relationship between specialized soil fungi (mycorrhizal fungi) and plant roots. About 95% of the world?s land plants form the mycorrhizal relationship in their native habitats. In natural soil situations, plants enjoy mutually-beneficial relationships with many other organisms, many of them microscopic, and all these biological elements - plant roots, fungi, bacteria, earthworms, and other life forms - play some role in the lives of the others.

Over millions of years, mycorrhizal fungi and plants have formed a mutual dependence. The fungi are nourished by root exudates and in return bring great amounts of soil nutrients and moisture to their host plants. The use of mycorrhizal inoculants in the nursery industry is widespread; healthy roots mean healthier plants, and considering the stress a nursery plant goes though before it is finally planted in its permanent home, it's good insurance for the growers.

There are several sources of mycorrhizae available to home gardeners (and plentiful websites if you do a web search). Whether or not you want to purchase and apply these products is solely an individual decision.

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