The natural forest is our favorite laboratory. Natural undisturbed forests can be the perfect example of nature at its best. One may ask, how does all that diversity of plant life survive without nutrient inputs, scheduled watering, or routine pruning? There is an underground symbiotic relationship that is responsible for sustaining this ecosystem, a partnership between plants and mycorrhizal fungi that has been in place for hundreds of millions of years.
Our company was founded in the Forestry Industry in the mid 1990’s. We were known as Forest Mycorrhizal Applications (a little history lesson here) supplying slurries of ectomycorrhizae throughout the US and Canada. We found through research and field applications that if nursery managers inoculated their seedlings with mycorrhizal fungi, they saw fewer culls and greater survival upon transplanting. Mycorrhizae form a symbiotic relationship with the seedling and form numerous, long filaments that mine the soil for nutrients, excrete antibiotics, and reduce drought stress. Inoculated seedlings not only have a stronger root system due to the extensive filaments but also enjoy increased height and caliper.
Natural occurring mycorrhizae can be eliminated in the field by high temperatures such as severely burned land, erosion, mechanical or natural disturbance, etc. Nursery practices that include fumigation, use of soil-less growing media, and high levels of water and soluble nutrients produce plants that are devoid of these essential symbiotic mycorrhizal partners. When high levels of fertilizer and water are provided, these plants may grow well in artificial media and a well-managed nursery setting, however, those same seedlings will not easily adapt to field conditions without the mycorrhizal fungi that help sustain them in the natural environment, under stress, etc. At less than half a cent per seedling, mycorrhizal inoculation is easy and affordable insurance. Ectomycorrhizae can be added to your growing practices in a number of ways, including application through your existing watering system, including in your growing media, or application as a plug drench.