mycorrhizae (m-k-r-z) - Noun; The symbiotic association of the mycelium of a fungus with the roots of a seed plant
Hmmm…this definition doesn’t help me too much and the word fungus scares me. While at my local independent garden center I noticed this word on several of their products which leads me to believe I should be using it in my garden. Why do some products have mycorrhizae and some don’t? Better yet, what is it really?
Mike Lieberman of Mother Earth News likens mycorrhizae to a probiotic for your plants. That is an analogy I can relate to. It naturally occurs and is the reason why rainforests are able to grow so big and so lush and so dense without any fertilizers or pesticides. Close to 95% of all plant species will form a symbiotic relationship with mycorrhizae. The application of mycorrhizae help your plants set up a healthier root system; the fungi colonize the plants’ roots and increase their surface area by up to 1000 times. A healthier root system means better absorption of the nutrients plants need to thrive. This, in turn, allows the plants to weather drought and disease more successfully and will help your plants through the shock of being transplanted. They are like magical vitamins!
Mycorrhizae can be found in both liquid and dry root stimulators and soil conditioners. The best time to apply a product containing mycorrhizae is during the plants’ growth season but it can be applied year round to maintain their health and vitality. A single treatment will last the duration of a plants’ lifetime.
Great Garden Supply carries a myriad of product lines that contain mycorrhizae: Black Gold, Alpha Biosystems, Dr. Earth, Espoma, Soil Moist and Humboldt. We are always happy to answer any questions you have about our products. Have you used mycorrhizae before? What are your experiences and have they been positive? We love hearing from our customers!