Mycorrhizal fungi

Discussion in 'Planting, growing, nurturing Plants' started by Mirrabooka, Jan 27, 2016.

  1. Mirrabooka

    Mirrabooka Junior Member

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    I am in Australia's Southeast, on The Mornington Peninsula.

    I am looking for suggestions of reputable suppliers of Mycorrhizal Fungi.

    I am also curious about members experience in "do it yourself" cultivation of Mycorrhiza, and practical advice about application to existing/growing trees and plants.
     
  2. Mirrabooka

    Mirrabooka Junior Member

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    I have embarked upon a 'hair brained project' to collect soil from beneath thriving trees of neighbours properties, and adding the collected soil around the corresponding seedlings on my property. Chestnut tree soil to chestnut seedling, oak tree soil to acorns being planted, apple tree soil to newly planted apple trees, avocado tree soil to newly planted avocado seeds (to be grafted onto later).

    Is this stupid? Is there a way to 'amplify' any mycorrhizae in the collected soil to enhance the benefit to the recipient trees?

    How specific are mycorrhizal fungi to plant species? Will avocado tree seedlings thrive on 'any old mycorrhizae' ? Do walnut trees thrive on 'any old commercial mycorrhizae'? Can 'exotic' mycorrhizae help vegetable garden plants and fruit trees compete against nearby eucalyptus trees? Can mycorrhizae increase the vigor of weeds such as blackberry?
     
  3. 9anda1f

    9anda1f Administrator Staff Member

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    Actually Elaine Ingham recommends this strategy of inoculating your soil with samples taken from healthy "wild" woodlands. Good on ya for coming up with it on your own! From her course, there are so many species of bacteria, fungi, nematodes, etc in existence that only a small portion have been identified and classified ... her point is diversity of soil life is key and they will self-balance for your particular environment.
    Apparently fungi were once (and in many cases still are) classified as not-good, so plenty of fungicides have been applied over the decades in of the "green revolution". Given an appropriate balance of soil life (including fungi), the harmful ones will be suppressed (by various predations) and those helpful to the nutrient/sugar exchanges with the plant root will be enhanced.

    We use "BioOrganics" brand Mycorrhizal Landscape Innoculant to help our degraded semi-arid soil begin to rejuvenate, then mulch heavily. It advertises to contain 9 types of Endo and 8 types of Ecto mycorrhizal fungi spores: https://bio-organics.com/product/mycorrhizal-landscape-inoculant/
    It appears to be good stuff as we've been seeing mushrooms pop up after rain events!
     
  4. Mirrabooka

    Mirrabooka Junior Member

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    I find myself wondering if the basis of "plant guilds" might be plants with a common preference for a particular soil ecology, mycorrhizal fungi, etc
     
  5. songbird

    songbird Senior Member

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    i agree that taking samples from existing healthy stands is the best and cheapest method of doing this. sounds like you are doing the sorts of things i'd be doing if i were on degraded land and had to get trees going. mulch towards the end of the rainy season if you are going to have a hot dry spell. keep the mulch out from the bark of the tree so that it doesn't encourage fungal attack of the tree.

    like to like soil innoculation, yes, species of fungi and bacteria can be adapted to certain plants. so it can be good and also important to study the trees from where you get the samples first to make sure they are healthy in appearance. there have been numerous studies of areas where the trees did poorly until they were innoculated.

    i know some folks use brews of various sorts to amplify the numbers but to me this is a lot of extra work and the numbers will return to "normal" soon after the solution is applied to the soil. the base line numbers are what will be supported by the trees and plants exudates and the amount of fodder/organic materials that cover the area and also moisture, climate, wind, sun, etc.
     
  6. Pakanohida

    Pakanohida Junior Member

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    Not at all.

    For example, around a typical apple tree guild you have bulb plants around the base of the tree so as to prevent grass, but also small animals from girding the tree. Outside and around that are mulch plants, nutrient accumulators, and insectiary plants. Very often artichoke and cardoon are used here and they are not normally found together in nature. Nutrient and insectiary plants are or can be from areas apples are, but more often then not it is based on soil needs. Lastly, veggies around the edge by the drip line around the apple tree outer edge.
     
  7. Brian Knight

    Brian Knight Junior Member

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    I like the thinking but caution you could also be bringing in pests and diseases too. My cherry trees for example have been hit hard with leaf spot, which is apparently worse when native cherries are nearby. A location without any of those spores could be inoculated by bringing in soil from an infected location. Many cultured varieties or more susceptible to stuff than natives.
     
  8. Flatland

    Flatland Member

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    I was wondering do the fungi just come by themselves if you add a lot of organic matter? My thinking is when making bread you can use commercial yeast or you can just leave the dough without yeast out and it will get any passing yeast. Takes a bit longer but if you are patient they will come. Just asking if anyone knows?
     
  9. Brian Knight

    Brian Knight Junior Member

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    I think so Flatland. If conditions are right, fungi will appear for any feast.
     
  10. songbird

    songbird Senior Member

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    it depends upon what fungi, your location and many other factors, there are locations where they planted trees and nothing happened for many years, but as soon as they went back and innoculated things improved. so...

    if you are near other similar plants and the wind is right or the water flows right or animals move around and track dirt a bit then you may not need to do anything at all. over the course of many years nature will move things around as the plants move themselves around. in the scale of hundreds of years it all works out. in human time scale we want things done faster. just a few years...
     
  11. Pakanohida

    Pakanohida Junior Member

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    Marijuana growers world wide have been exploiting the beneficial microorganisms in Hydroponic and in ground grows with an explosion of soil additives that contain beneficial microorganisms.

    As an example:
    Happy Frog High Phosphate Bat Guano Fertilizer - This contains 20 species of beneficial microbes
     
  12. Mirrabooka

    Mirrabooka Junior Member

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    I wonder about the impact of introducing exotic trees into the Australian landscape. Will native mycorrhizal fungi colonise exotic trees? Eg a walnut tree making friends with a eucalyptus aligned micorrhiza? Asian bamboo and black wattle (acacia) associated mycorrhiza?
    ....and the impact of introducing exotic mycorrhiza upon native mycorrhiza...
     
  13. Mirrabooka

    Mirrabooka Junior Member

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    .....I'm thinking of buying a bucket of soil from the local biodynamic orchardist.....I wonder if it would be value for money?
     
  14. Pakanohida

    Pakanohida Junior Member

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    Walnut trees will most likely share effective microorganisms, however, Walnuts, like eucalyptus trees exude a chemical that makes a great many plants not grow under it.
     
  15. Mirrabooka

    Mirrabooka Junior Member

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    Quite right.

    Then again, the question, if we inoculate the plants we are introducing with its friendly mycorrhiza, will the friendly mycorrhiza protect the plant from the allopathic effects or walnut or eucalyptus, or grass, etc

    I have this exact problem with our place, where the vegetable garden bed of zone 1 is too close to some eucalypts, but the eucalypts serve a very valuable windbreak function for the house, and the entire zone zero/zone 1 area. I want to see if the recent introduction of commercial mycorrhiza to the vegie garden bed plants will provide this protective function for the veggies....
     
    Last edited: Jan 29, 2016
  16. Mirrabooka

    Mirrabooka Junior Member

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    I will also have to try planting an inoculated apple tree next to one of my black walnut trees to see if the apple tree friendly mycorrhyza can provide protection from the walnut juglone....will mycorrhyza inoculated fruit trees withstand the allopathic effects of grasses better than non-inoculated fruit trees? Will innocuated avocado trees withstand the fungal attacks of its enemy phytophthora?
     
  17. Mirrabooka

    Mirrabooka Junior Member

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    i also wonder if mycorrhizal inoculation of introduced plants might work as one strategy to help overcome the blackberry infestation I am grappling with, although I know of only one tree, black walnut, that is thought to have a direct allopathic effect on the blackberry.

    Might there be mycorrhizal species antagonistic to the blackberry, just waiting for an introduction to help defeat the introduced blackberry? In Australia the introduced blackberry is obviously utterly indifferent to native mycorrhyza, perhaps even recruiting of the native mycorrhizae to its cause, while indifferent to the allopathic effects of the eucalypts.
     
  18. Mirrabooka

    Mirrabooka Junior Member

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    Come to think of it, I have not seen blackberry compete successfully with willow trees...hmmmm?? A competitive mycorrhizal effect??...hmmm...
     
  19. Mirrabooka

    Mirrabooka Junior Member

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    I have recently introduced cricket bat willow cuttings to our property's eroding creek line, fully supported by David Holmgren, Geoff Lawton's and Peter Andrew's perspective on waterway erosion control in Australia. Will there be a willow tree-mycorrhizae based attack on the existing blackberry infestation?? We shall see...
     
  20. songbird

    songbird Senior Member

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    if i could i would be cutting back the invasive species to prevent their further spread via seeds. blackberry is a very tough problem. i would not experiment with slower acting methods because you'd get too far behind the curve in eradication. i think goats will eat it, cows will trample it to get at other food, smother it, dig it out, etc...

    as for the rest of your questions, there is way too much that is not known yet, we're merely scratching the surface when it comes to knowing how various fungi interact with plants, other fungi, microbes and the rest of the soil critters.

    having the space for doing tests of various kinds, taking pictures and keeping good notes might net you actual discoveries that nobody else has noticed before. :)
     

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