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Mycorrhizal Fungi - NOT Just For Food Crops!

One of the top uses of mycorrhizal inoculant is for landscape plantings. Most flowers and ornamental shrubs have evolved a dependence on mycorrhizae for nutrition and protection, and nursery plants rarely come with the beneficial fungi already established on the roots. For introduced plants (non-natives), the types of indigenous mycorrhizal fungi in the yard may not be the best match.

A 10-cent dusting of spores in the planting hole can mean a huge difference in the survival of a valuable shrub or in the performance of flowers. A drenching of water-soluble inoculant on a bed of flower seeds or new lawn can enable those plants to thrive with minimal attention and care.

As always, the poorer the soil the greater the benefit that will be seen from inoculation. The most dramatic benefits will occur when spores are introduced at seeding or transplanting time.

For professional landscapers, it should be a routine matter to put mycorrhizal spores on new plantings, as insurance that useful biological agents are in the soil. This is particularly true when dealing with the poor topsoils that are commonly found in new housing developments. (The fungi will actually improve that soil for their host plants.)

Just as you only need one match to start a fire on either a large or small pile of brush, you only need a small dose of inoculant to start a mycorrhizal association on either a large or small plant. The fungi, once introduced anywhere on a plant's roots, will quickly colonize the entire root system and remain with the plant for life, unless damaged by systemic fungicides or overuse of high-analysis fertilizers.

There are a few types of plants, such as rhododendrons, that use a type of fungi that is not available in inoculant form, but probably 90% of all landscape plants benefit from either Endomycorrhizal or Ectomycorrhizal spores being put on their roots at planting time. Our Landscape Inoculant contains a blend of eight Endo types and seven Ecto types. This makes the odds very good that at least one of those 15 types will be a match for any plant in any soil in any region.

Please note that the introduction of biological agents should not, repeat NOT, be viewed as an "add-on" to a standard chemically-oriented routine, but rather as an "instead of" method. With the right soil biology at work, lawns will need very little fertilizing and will never build up thatch, flowers will be far more drought and disease resistant, and trees and shrubs will be more like healthy wild plants that never receive human assistance.

All our inoculants (Endo, Micronized Endo, Root Dip, and Endo-Ecto Landscape) have a two-year guaranteed shelf life at room temperatures, so keeping a jar on hand. Putting a small pinch in every new planting hole is a simple way of giving a powerful gift to your ornamentals. Try some plants with and some without to make an interesting comparison.

Cheers, my friends,

Don Chapman
President, BioOrganics, Inc.

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