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Mycorrhizal fungi have been waiting a long time for people to catch on.

by Michael Phillips

Plants do best when partnered with their evolutionary allies, what we could call 'root fungi'. This symbiotic relationship works both ways: Plants supply photosynthate sugars to the fungi – the fungi in turn increase root reach many times over to bring an array of nutrients and water to the plant. So much so that this is the normal way that plants uptake balanced nutrition. Healthy plant metabolism fares best with biological underpinnings. All of which begins in the seedling stage with mycorrhizal inoculation.
Other benefits follow from there:
·  Protects roots from soil borne disease
·  Enables plant community messaging
·  Induces systemic resistance to disease
·   Ecosystem resiliency
·   Carbon sequestration
Seedlings benefit from this affiliation with fungi from the get go. Mycorrhizal spores germinate in the proximity of developing roots. This fungal connection is invisible to our eyes but can be readily sensed in robust plant health. Transplants see far less stress with fungal friends already in place. Out in the field, crops literally network as a community to keep health to the fore. All because as growers we are grasping that this is the normal way that plants uptake balanced nutrition.
Diversity is another piece of this puzzle. Organic growers have learned that flowering diversity above is important to creating beneficial habitat. The more the merrier, in fact. The mycorrhizal network is enhanced similarly by a diverse species mix of fungi as provided in Fungal JumpStart. Different plants form multiple affiliations with different fungi throughout the season. As above so below. And thus our green world thrives!

Michael Phillips, author of Mycorrhizal Planet, 2017, Chelsea Green Publishing.
Copies available from Ideal Compost Co.

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