The Lifelong Support of Mycorrhizal Fungi for Plants


When it comes to growing healthy plants, gardeners are always on the lookout for the best ways to support their growth. One technique that is widely recognized is the use of mycorrhizal fungi. These tiny organisms play a vital role in establishing and maintaining a healthy garden, connecting plants with the nutrients they need to thrive.

Mycorrhizal fungi form a symbiotic relationship with plants, where they connect to the roots and create a network that lets plants tap into nutrients and water in the soil. This network is made up of the hyphae, the thread-like structures of the fungi, and it extends the plants’ root system, allowing them to access nutrients that would otherwise be unavailable.

Thanks to mycorrhizal fungi, plants can better absorb essential micronutrients, such as phosphorus, nitrogen, and potassium. These nutrients are crucial for plant growth and play an important role in maintaining their health. By using mycorrhizal fungi, gardeners can ensure that their plants have sufficient access to these vital nutrients.

In addition to providing access to nutrients, mycorrhizal fungi also improve soil structure. They help bind soil particles together, creating a more stable soil matrix. This is especially helpful in sandy soils, where water tends to drain quickly and nutrients may be washed away. The formation of arbuscules, structures formed by the fungi inside the roots of the plants, further helps in nutrient exchange and water absorption.

Using mycorrhizal fungi in the garden is relatively easy. There are various products available, such as granular or powder formulations, that can be applied directly to the soil. Gardeners can also use compost or mulch that is already established with mycorrhizal fungi. It’s best to apply these products during planting or transplanting to ensure the fungi have enough time to establish themselves.

Mycorrhizae Fungi Molasses Rock Phosphate

The mycorrhizal fungi were first discovered in the late 19th century by scientists examining the symbiotic relationship between plants and fungi. They found that each type of fungus interacts with a specific group of plants, forming a mutualistic relationship.

One of the key features of mycorrhizae is their ability to bind with bacteria and other microorganisms. This is important because it helps to create a healthy and nutrient-rich soil environment for plants to grow in. The mycorrhizal fungi do this by releasing certain compounds, including molasses, that provide energy for the bacteria. Together, they work to support plant growth and maintain soil health.

Rock phosphate is another important component in the mycorrhizal fungi’s role in supporting plant growth. Rock phosphate is a mineral that contains phosphorus, which is a crucial element for plant development. The mycorrhizal fungi are able to release enzymes that break down rock phosphate, making the phosphorus more readily available for plants to use.

When mycorrhizal fungi and rock phosphate are used together, they can greatly enhance plant nutrition. The mycorrhizal fungi help to spread and bind nutrients to plant roots, while the rock phosphate provides a steady supply of phosphorus. This combination can result in healthier and more productive plants.

In addition to their role in plant nutrition, mycorrhizal fungi also play a crucial role in maintaining soil health. They can help to suppress weed growth by competing with them for resources. The mycorrhizal fungi also form a network of filaments in the soil, which helps to improve soil structure and water retention.

Overall, mycorrhizal fungi are a useful and beneficial agent for plant growth. They provide a lifetime of support to plants, helping them to obtain the necessary nutrients and maintain a healthy soil environment. Incorporating mycorrhizal fungi and rock phosphate in your gardening practices can have long-term benefits for plant health and productivity.

Mycorrhizal fungi – supporting plants for a lifetime

Mycorrhizal fungi play a crucial role in supporting plant growth and development by forming a mutually beneficial relationship with plant roots. These fungi are able to enhance the uptake of phosphorous and other nutrients from the soil, and in return, they receive carbohydrates from the plants.

Establishing mycorrhizal fungi in the soil is essential for the overall health and well-being of plants. They are particularly important in environments where the soil is nutrient-poor or lacking in phosphorous. In such conditions, mycorrhizal fungi act as an important intermediary, helping plants acquire the nutrients they need to thrive.

Mycorrhizal fungi form a network of fungal threads, known as hyphae, that extend throughout the soil. These threads are able to access nutrients in the soil that plants themselves may not be able to reach. Additionally, mycorrhizal fungi are capable of producing structures called arbuscules, which further promote nutrient uptake.

Most plants benefit from mycorrhizal associations, although some are more dependent on them than others. Certain plant families, such as orchids and ferns, rely completely on mycorrhizal fungi for their survival. Other plants, like many trees and shrubs, may not rely on mycorrhizal fungi as heavily, but still benefit greatly from their presence.

In addition to nutrient uptake, mycorrhizal fungi also play a role in improving soil structure and water retention. By integrating themselves into the soil, these fungi can create a more stable and healthy environment for plant roots. Their presence can also help protect against soil erosion.

Mycorrhizal fungi can be introduced to the soil in several ways, including through the use of commercial inoculants. These inoculants contain a mixture of mycorrhizal fungi that can be applied directly to the soil. Research has shown that applying mycorrhizal inoculants can help establish and maintain a healthy mycorrhizal community in the soil.

When applying mycorrhizal inoculants, it is best to mix them with soil or incorporate them into a planting hole. This ensures that the fungi are in close proximity to the plant roots and can establish a beneficial relationship. Another option is to mix inoculants with mulch and spread it around the base of plants.

In summary, mycorrhizal fungi are a vital component of plant ecosystems. They play a crucial role in supporting plant growth and health by improving nutrient uptake, enhancing soil structure, and promoting water retention. By establishing and maintaining a healthy mycorrhizal community in the soil, gardeners and farmers can improve the overall health and productivity of their plants.

7 Best Ways To Use Mycorrhizae To Increase Your Soil Quality

When it comes to improving soil quality, using mycorrhizae is one of the best methods. Mycorrhizae are beneficial fungi that form a symbiotic relationship with plant roots. They take up water and nutrients from the soil and provide them to the plant in exchange for sugars. This partnership is vital for the plant’s growth and overall health.

Here are 7 best ways to use mycorrhizae to increase your soil quality:

1. Use mycorrhizal fungi when transplanting your plants. This will help establish a strong root system for the plants to thrive.
2. Usually, mycorrhizae are added to the soil in the form of a powder or granules. Simply sprinkle them around the root zone of your plants.
3. Nutrition is crucial for mycorrhizal fungi, so keeping your soil well-fed with organic matter is important. This provides the necessary nutrients for the fungi to thrive.
4. Excessive use of chemical fertilizers can discourage mycorrhizal fungi. Without the fungi, plants may struggle to uptake sufficient nutrients. It is recommended to use natural and organic fertilizers instead.
5. When adding compost or mulch to your soil, make sure it is well-rotted and free from fungicides. Fungicides can harm mycorrhizal fungi and reduce their effectiveness.
6. Mycorrhizal fungi can be bought as inoculants, which are easy to use. Simply follow the instructions provided and apply them to your plants.
7. Studies have shown that mycorrhizae can greatly increase plant growth and yield. Therefore, using mycorrhizae during planting or transplanting times is highly recommended for better results.

By using mycorrhizae, you can improve the health and fertility of your soil. These beneficial fungi connect with plant roots and provide a constant supply of nutrients, especially phosphorus. This is crucial for optimal plant growth and development.

In addition to the above methods, you can also add mycorrhizae to your soil by using mycorrhizal products such as root dips, root drenches, or foliar sprays. These products provide a sterilized and concentrated form of mycorrhizae for easy application.

Using mycorrhizae is widely recommended by experts and farmers. It has been proven to be effective in increasing soil quality and promoting healthy plant growth. So, if you want to improve your soil’s fertility and provide your plants with the best possible growing conditions, make sure to add mycorrhizae to your gardening routine.

The Magic of Mycorrhizae Fungi

Mycorrhizae fungi are the unsung heroes of the plant world. These natural soil organisms form a mutually beneficial relationship with plants, supporting them throughout their lifetime.

Unlike bacteria, mycorrhizae fungi are not consumed by plants. Instead, they work together with the plants, spreading their hyphae into the soil to access nutrients that the plants cannot reach on their own.

Mycorrhizae fungi have a particular talent for accessing phosphates, which are crucial for plant nutrition. While plants can absorb water-soluble phosphates, they struggle to access the majority of phosphates found in rock. This is where mycorrhizae fungi come in, establishing a symbiotic relationship with the plants and supplying them with this essential nutrient.

The functionality of mycorrhizae fungi does not stop at phosphate uptake. These fungi also increase the plants’ ability to take up other essential nutrients, such as nitrogen and potassium.

Furthermore, mycorrhizae fungi support plants’ resistance to diseases and pests. By colonizing the plant’s root system, they create a physical barrier that prevents harmful microorganisms from gaining access to the plant.

The benefits of mycorrhizae fungi are not limited to supporting individual plants. They also contribute to the overall health and fertility of the soil. By maintaining a balanced ecosystem underground, mycorrhizae fungi help to keep soil nutrients in check and prevent an oversupply or depletion of certain elements.

To benefit from the magic of mycorrhizae fungi, it is important to create a suitable environment for them to thrive. This includes keeping the soil sterilized, as excessive use of chemicals can harm the fungi. Additionally, avoiding excessive tillage and maintaining a no-dig approach can help preserve the natural habitat of these fungi.

While mycorrhizae fungi are naturally present in most soils, their functionality can be increased by adding them to newly bought or planted areas. There are various mycorrhizal products available in the market that can be used to encourage the growth of these beneficial fungi.

So whether you are a gardener, a farmer, or simply someone who wants their plants to thrive, consider the magic of mycorrhizae fungi. They are the best natural allies for supporting healthy and resilient plants, and together with them, you can witness the wonders that these fungi can do for your garden or farm.

✿ Read More: Gardening Tips and Advice.

Dr Heidi Parkes

By Dr Heidi Parkes

Senior Information Extension Officer QLD Dept of Agriculture & Fisheries.