This will help you grow more healthier and drought-resistant plants

This will help you grow more healthier and drought-resistant plants

It’s a quick introduction to mycorrhizal fungal fungi. It also includes some tips for helping your plants.
Mycorrhizal mushrooms are organisms that live in soil and embed in the roots. They support plants by extending their root systems and extracting minerals and water from the soil. This symbiotic relationship also benefits the fungi because the plants send sugars to the fungi to fuel them. They do not have direct sunlight and cannot photosynthesis. This relationship is often more than a nice-to-have.

This is the way land plants have been since 450 million years ago. The Earth was an oceanic planet at the time. Plants like algae could find the nutrients they required in the water surrounding them. Plants had to learn how to survive on the land as the oceans receded. The colonization of the land was not an easy task for freshwater or marine plants to do. It was stressful. They had to search for nutrients in the soil and not in nutrient broth. This partnership has existed from the beginning between plants and fungi.

Scientists have discovered direct evidence from plant-fungal interactions at that time. Modern-day plants share almost all the same genes that are involved in this symbiosis, according to genetic analysis. Today, only 5% of plants are mycorrhizal. This is because they have lost this ability.

There are many types of mycorrhizal mushrooms. The two most common ones are “endo” (the main one) and “ecto” (the secondary). Endomycorrhizal fungi are responsible for between 80 and 85% of all plants, including most leafy and deciduous plants and most farm crops. has a partial list. The fungi that develop inside these plants’ root systems is called “endo”. The roots have fungi that produce small filaments (called “hyphae”) that extend from the roots. They help acquire and transfer nutrients, provide resistance and store and transfer water.

Another type of fungus is used for woodier plants. An ectomycorrhizal is a common method of treating conifers and some northern hardwoods such as oaks, lindens, or beeches. They use a type of fungi which binds to their roots and penetrates only the outer layer of the roots (hence the “ecto”) These fungi often produce mushrooms above ground. You may see mushrooms in your yard or in the forest as a sign that there is an active ectomycorrhizal community.

Properties of Mycorrhizal mushrooms

Mycorrhizal mushrooms have one of the most powerful properties: they create networks in the soil. This allows plants and trees to share resources and can better withstand environmental stressors. Researchers have found sugars flowing from an evergreen pine to a nearby deciduous oak in spring. This was when beech’s bare branches limited its ability to photosynthesis. In summer, when the beech had fully leafed out, the flow reversed, and the conifer was given the sugars. In fall, the flow reversed again. These two species were collaborating to survive.

Sometimes, reports about plants communicating with each other are laced in references to magic or spirit or intelligence or superpowers. This can make it seem woo-woo. However, the knowledge of forest ecologists and indigenous peoples who have been studying plants for many years is now supported by scientific research. This includes tracing chemical compounds through networks and analyzing DNA.

Also, controlled experiments are conducted. Science has made great strides in studying fungi. Bruns explains how it took him a while to find the active fungi when he started his work in this field. The team would take a soil core and wash it off. Next, they would extract the root tips and use a dissecting microscope, then a compound microscope, to try and identify what it was. They had to still extract individual roots tips, amplify a specific molecule, and then analyze it in a laboratory. Between the time we pulled out the root and when we had an answer, it would take months.

This field has seen a lot of growth in the past decade. We can learn more about the underground support of our plants and help protect our trees and crops from changes in temperature, humidity, pests, disease, and other factors that come with climate change. It is also possible to better understand how these fungal networks can be used to store carbon underground.

This may make you wonder how it applies to your yard. It is unlikely that you can take a soil sample from your yard and send it off to DNA analysis. You can start to pay more attention to the soil your plants grow in. Soil is not dirt. It is where all types of life live — bacteria, fungi and all other organisms — all working together to provide nutrients for plants. This is what will make you a better grower if you truly honor it. It’s not about damaging it or destroying it.

This could mean that you use a fork to aerate your soil instead of a rototiller and choose to mulch the surface rather than stirring in the amendment. A variety of plants can be added to provide additional support via a shared mycorrhizal network. More photosynthesis will also help the fungi get more nutrients, which will, in turn, strengthen the underground network and fortify the plants.

You might consider taking soil from a location with a healthy variety of plants. It is one that does not use herbicides or fertilizers. This soil will likely have a healthy population of many types of mycorrhizal fungal fungi. These fungi can live in your garden if you place soil close to roots or have some root tips. The soil can be placed in a new hole or you can simply remove the mulch and place it near the roots of plants that could benefit.

There are commercial products that contain mycorrhizal spores. Some spores work better with certain plants than others. We want to keep the underground ecosystem diverse so that the best ones are able to contain many types of spores. Sprinkle some in the holes of your plants to reduce stress on transplants. There are several ways to apply it. One should suffice as the fungi can propagate in the garden once they attach themselves to a root system. The mycorrhizal fungal fungi will, unlike fertilizers and other soil amendments, improve soil structure, prevent root diseases, stimulate inter-plant communication, absorb and store water, and nourish the plants. They can be used to supplement compost or other amendments, helping to remove organic material and extract nutrients. They will not pollute water or cause excess emissions like fertilizers.