The subterranean world of Mycorrhizae

In the world of indoor gardening there are literally hundreds of products that all claim to make a difference for your plants, whether they are lights, nutrients or soils. Don’t get me wrong there are many fantastic products out there. In this industry everybody is looking for the healthiest and biggest plants which in turn give the highest possible yields. There are few things less rewarding than seeing your plants thrive after all the care and attention that you have given them. There is a lot more than meets the eye though.

Under that lush green canopy there is a whole separate world that we cannot see with our eyes. Below the surface there is a hive of activity that keeps your plant thriving. Microscopic organisms that are busy decomposing organic materials and transforming them into nutrients that the plant can take up through it’s roots. It is safe to say that it is the roots that provide the basis for a healthy plant to thrive. What if I told you that there is a way to increase the surface area of your rootzone by up to 700 times? Mycorrhizae can do exactly that!

 

What is Mycorrhizae?

The word “mycor-rhiza” literally means fungus-root. Mycorrhizae is a beneficial fungus that needs a physical connection with a plants roots to survive. It is not the fungus that is the sole benefactor of this connection. The plant itself benefits tremendously from the fungus attaching to its roots as well. The plant and the mycorrhizae form a symbiotic relationship that is highly beneficial to the plant. These benefits include, increase nutrient uptake, higher yields, increased resilience to outside stress factors.

There are different types of mycorrhizae. The ecto-mycorrhizae attach themselves only to the surface of the roots, endo-mycorrhizae penetrate the cells of the roots. This allows them to become a functioning extension of the plant’s roots. This greatly increase the surface area of the root system and thus allows the plant to take up air, water and nutrients much more efficiently. Can you already see the benefit for your plants? Besides helping the plant take up nutrients this bigger and healthier rootzone can also store the valuable nutrients for later use.

The Benefits of Mycorrhizae

  • Greater flower and fruit production and higher yields
  • Larger and healthier plant growth
  • Enhanced stress resilience (drought and heat)
  • Improved uptake of water and nutrients
  • Increased plant health makes them less susceptible to pest and diseases
  • Reduced need for fertilizer
  • Improves soil structure

 

*the difference between a plant with and without the help of mycorrhizae

How to use Mycorrhizae

In most organic soils mycorrhizae are present to one degree or another. It depends however on how many spores are in the soil already. By boosting the substrate with added mycorrhizae you can make sure that there is a large and healthy amount of spores present in your substrate. Mycorrhizae works great in organic soil, cocos substrate, rockwool as well as other soilless media.

What is most important is that the mycorrhizae make physical contact with the roots, this is required in order for them to be activated. So how should you apply mycorrhizae?

  • You can mix a water soluble mycorrhizae in with your nutrient solution
  • You can sprinkle the mycorrhizae directly onto the roots when transplanting
  • You can cover the surface of the hole where the plant will go with mycorrhizae

By providing your plant with carbohydrate fertilizer you will also feed the mycorrhizae in your substrate, which will allow them to develop even faster.

The downside to Mycorrhiza

There is none! Yes, you read that right! You can’t go wrong when using mycorrhizae. You should always stick to the manufactures advise on how to use the product, but you can’t burn your plants with mycorrhiza. Mycorrhiza does not contain any NPK so it is not a fertilizer product. If you give your plant to much, the excess mycorrhizae will simply die with no negative effects to your plants.

 

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