What the heck is Mychorrhizae and why is it a good thing?
Over the past few years, many companies have been adding in Mycorrhizae to their potting mixes, fertilizers and other products. At Sandy’s Back Porch, we swear by our ProMix with mycorrhizae. It is the only potting mix we use in our greenhouses and our annuals love it! If you wonder what it is and what it does, here is the answer.
Mycorrhizal fungi have occurred naturally in the soil for 450 million years. They form a close symbiotic relationship with plant roots. “Myco” literally means “fungus” and “rhiza” means “root” which describes the mutually beneficial relationship between the plant and root fungus. These specialized fungi colonize plant roots and extend far into the soil.
The mycorrhizae content in soils has been greatly diminished in areas that have been disturbed by construction, or farming practices that have used pesticides and other chemical products. The soil has become insufficient to significantly enhance plant growth.
How Mycorrhizae Works
Mycorrhizae work by creating an extensive network of microscopic filaments that increases the plant’s capacity to absorb more water and nutrients such as phosphorus, copper and zinc. This process in turn enhances growth and favors rapid development of roots and plants.
Other important benefits include enhanced rooting of cuttings, increased root generation, increased drought resistance, increased salt tolerance, reduced transplant shock, and enhancement of other valuable organisms in the soil.
The Benefits of Mycorrhizae
- Faster root establishment – Roots with mycorrhizae spread over the available space more rapidly thanks to their spectacular extension.
- Reduces watering needs by 30% – Roots with mycorrhizae have more surface area to absorb water.
- Increase plant survival by 75% – Roots with mycorrhizae have a greater capacity to absorb nutrients from the soil. Therefore, you get plants that are healthier, more vigorous, and more resistant to stress.
- Increase phosphorus absorption – Up to 80% of phosphorus absorbed by plants is by mycorrhizae.
- Improves soil structure and prevents erosion – The root extension (filaments) provided by mycorrhizae holds soil particles together, which reduces erosion. Furthermore, by improving soil structure mycorrhizae allow better water penetration of about 25% , thus slowing down erosion and stabilizing the soil.
Once established, this biological approach to growing plants is clean, powerful, and sustainable. Your soil will continue to improve year after year!