So would you say that a Great Dane is smarter than a Chihuahua because it has a much larger brain? Or that a big squash seed is any better at what it does than a little radish seed?
Taking this thought somewhat further, microscopic mycorrhizal fungi spores also have the ability to "germinate" at appropriate times and are genetically programmed to then perform specific evolved functions. These tiny invisible particles are every bit as capable of "remembering" their parents' survival strategies as are plant seeds.
For annual seeds which lie dormant over the winter months, some combination of springtime temperatures and soil moisture will cause them to germinate for a new season's growth. This is a very effective survival and reproduction strategy.
For mycorrhizal fungi, which are dependent on host plants, it is a chemical signal from a new root nearby that causes the dormant spores to activate, attach to those roots, and colonize the surrounding soil. Both the plants and the fungi benefit greatly from this association - a strong symbiotic relationship called mutualism.
This particular area of microbiology has been the subject of much study in recent years, as harnessing the power of mycorrhizal fungi for agricultural purposes promises to boost yields in a cleaner and more sustainable manner than chemical fertilizers - building up soils instead of depleting them.
The basic idea of a microbiology-based growing method is not just putting seeds or transplants into soil, but also introducing appropriate living organisms to generate usable nutrients and protect roots from pathogens.
For growers who want to test the effects of mycorrhizae, it is as simple as putting the right species of dormant spores in the soil and backing off of high-analysis synthetic fertilizers. The appropriate fertilization strategy is to use gradual-release lower-analysis products, and also to ensure that all essential major, minor, and trace elements are present in the soil (volcanic-origin minerals are useful for this). The absence of any essential element will prevent a plant from performing at its full genetic potential, even with mycorrhizae on its roots.
BioOrganics offers inoculants that contain tens of thousands of multi-specie dormant spores per jar. These inoculants are best used at seeding or transplanting time, or mixed with water and applied as a drench to trays of nursery seedlings. We also have a clinging-gel root dip for bareroot trees and berries that effectively holds the spores right where the new roots will develop.
Fungi spores may be extremely small, but they absolutely know what to do if given the chance.
Cheers, and good growing, my friends,