Introduction to Mycorrhizal Use in Landscaping

What are Mycorrhizal Fungi?

Essentially, mycorrhizae are beneficial soil organisms that have a symbiotic relationship with plants, and play a vital role in soil health and plant health. “Myco” – “rhiza” literally means “fungus” – “root” and describes the mutually beneficial relationship between the plant and root fungus. These specialized fungi colonize plant roots in a symbiotic manner and extend far into the soil. Mycorrhizal fungal filaments (known as “hyphae”) in the soil are truly living extensions of root systems and are more effective in nutrient and water absorption than the roots themselves. More than 95 percent of terrestrial plant species form a symbiotic relationship with beneficial mycorrhizal fungi, and have evolved this symbiotic relationship over the past several hundred million years. These fungi pre-date the evolution of terrestrial plants, and it was the partnership with mycorrhizal fungi that allowed plants to begin to colonize dry land and create life on Earth as we know it.

Scanning Electron Microscopy Image of Mycorrhizal Spores and Hyphae

How do Mycorrhizal Fungi Benefit Landscapes?

Unfortunately, many construction zone soils and landscape media have depleted mycorrhizal populations. Not to mention the often toxic and less-than-ideal circumstances that urban landscape installations can face, with traffic, pollution, heat, and drought all playing a major role in plant mortality and landscape success. With the MycoApply® products we provide, landscape professionals can re-establish essential soil organisms and benefit from this age-old symbiotic relationship to get their plantings started right. When applied before or during planting, the mycorrhizal inoculation can provide a wide range of benefits that will improve plant health, such as increased:

  • water uptake
  • nutrient accumulation/utilization
  • transplant survival
  • stress tolerance

How Can Landscape Professionals Utilize this Technology?

There are a variety of different ways to add mycorrhizae into your landscape planting protocol. When transplanting new plants, MycoApply mycorrhizae can be added to the backfill or applied by dipping plugs or bare-root plants prior to outplanting. Mycorrhizae can also be applied to established plants using injections along the plant’s dripline or injecting the product directly into the root zone of mature trees.  MycoApply suspendable powders are a great addition to compost teas as well, as they can be tank mixed with fertilizers and other biological products very effectively and safely. MycoApply is excellent for turf or sod installation as well, as it can be added to turf seed, applied underneath new sod, applied as a broadcast to established turf, etc.

Adding Mycorrhizae Into Backfill

Drenching Plugs in Mycorrhizal Slurry

Sod Rolls Ready for Installation

What Plants Will Benefit from Mycorrhizae?

Mycorrhizal Applications offers both of the two major types of mycorrhizae – endo and ecto. Endo forms a relationship with 85% of plants, including most commercially important plants (leafy, green ornamental and vegetable plants). Ecto forms a relationship with 10% of plants, mostly hardwoods and conifers. If you’re installing a landscape bed and planting a variety of types of plants, an Endo/Ecto blend such as the MycoApply Endo/Ecto granular product is a great all-purpose option, as the combination of mycorrhizal species in these blends will associate with approximately 95% of plant species. With the use of an Endo/Ecto product, each plant species will be getting the mycorrhizae it needs to help it thrive.

Click here for a list of plant species and genera and the mycorrhizal relationships that they have: https://mycorrhizae.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/04/Status-of-Families-and-Genera-New-v1.3.pdf

How Does this Technology Affect the Bottom Line?

Adding mycorrhizae to a landscape installation is like adding an insurance policy to protect the plants against harsh growing conditions like low water, high heat, over-watering, salt toxicity, heavy metals, compacted “dead” soil, low soil nutrient levels, etc. This mycorrhizal insurance will minimize any plant warranty/guarantee claims, reduce the need for replanting, improve customer satisfaction with your services, and allow the products of your hard work to be enjoyed throughout the seasons and years to come!

Click here for our MycoApply Turf and Landscape Rate Sheet, for specific instructions on how to incorporate MycoApply into your operation: https://mycorrhizae.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/04/MycoApply-Turf-Landscape-Chart-v1.5-20180223.pdf

Click here for more information about MycoApply for Landscaping: https://mycorrhizae.com/landscape/

GreenPal Green Product Award

Aside from the OMRI-Listed and CDFA organic certifications that many MycoApply products carry, the MycoApply Professional Product Line has recently received the Green Product Award for eco-friendly lawn and garden care.  You can read more at the following link: https://www.yourgreenpal.com/blog/33-greener-lawn-care-and-gardening-solutions-that-you-can-start-using-today-the-complete-guide#MycoApply

Article by: Amy Schroeder

Mycorrhizal Applications – Sales Account Manager

July 20, 2018