Mycorrhizae are natural soil microbes that improve the health and growth rates of plants. In nature, healthy soils contain these beneficial organisms, but they are deficient in eroded, heavily used and degraded soils. Industrial disturbance to the soil in large-scale agricultural practices, forestry cutovers, or mining activity, reduces or destroys these beneficial micro-organisms.
Applying the proper microbes to seedlings prior to planting provides a natural, biological means of maintaining plant vigor, increasing the plant’s resistance to soil-borne pathogens, and reducing the need for fertilizers and other chemicals such as herbicides. Application prior to field planting provides increased stress resistance to the seedlings before they are exposed to environmental stresses such as transplant shock, or extremes of temperature and moisture. In addition, mycorrhizae improve plant nutrition and therefore play a significant role in high yield crop production where environmental problems including soil erosion, soil depletion and water pollution with fertilizers, pesticides and animal wastes are a concern.
Mycorrhizae can be classified into two primary types: ecto-mycorrhizae, predominant in coniferous forest ecosystems (pine, spruce, fir etc.) and endo-mycorrhizae, which form associations with broad-leafed trees (maple, ash, walnut etc.) and with most agricultural, nursery and horticultural crops. Endomycorrhizae are also known as vesicular-arbuscular mycorrhizae, VA mycorrhizae or VAM. This name comes from their characteristic fungal structures–vesicles (V) and arbuscules (A)–which form within the cells of the roots and act as the nutrient interchange points between the beneficial mycorrhizal fungi and the plant.
Mikro-Tek’s products, registered under the Fertilizers Act with Agriculture Canada, include MIKRO-VAM®, a mycorrhizal species that has a broad host range including most citrus, grain, and vegetable crops, bedding plants, grasses and deciduous trees, as well as MIKRO-CONE® for conifer species.
For more information on mycorrhizal fungi, visit the website: http://microbewiki.kenyon.edu/index.php/Mycorrhizae