Garden for Nutrition Index

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Beneficial Fungus in Garden Soil

Mycorrhizal Fungus Overview

Endomycorrhizal Fungus for Annuals

Ectomycorrhizal Fungus for Perennials

Plants by Mycorrhizal Type
Complex Relationships

Endomycorrhizal Inoculation
Ectomycorrhizal Inoculation

Fungal Bio-controls

Mycorrhizal Fungus Overview:

Beneficial mycorrhizal fungi are naturally present and have a mutualistic relationship with many plants. In this mutualistic relationship, carbohydrates are transported down the plant root, where the fungus steals some for their own growth. In return, the fungus frees up nutrients (especially phosphorus) and helps pull them up into the plant. The fungus and the plant need each other to thrive. Beneficial fungus also produce natural antibiotics which help to suppress harmful bacteria.


Endomycorrhizal Fungus for Annuals:

This fungus, also called vesicular-arbuscular mycorrhizae, is appropriate for most annuals and some perennials. It is present in undisturbed soil as long as it has roots to feed on. It blooms underground and produces spores which are not easily spread by the wind, but are spread by insects, birds, animals, etc.


Ectomycorrhizal Fungus for Perennials:

Ectomycorrhizal fungus produce mushrooms that spread by wind blown spores. They mostly form relationships with woody or perennial plants.


Plants by Mycorrhizal Type:

Below are lists of plants grouped by mycorrhizal type. There are many exceptions, which will be discussed afterward.
Oklahoma State
NIFG - fungal relations

Complex Relationships:

Fungal relationships are very complex. Almost all plants can be endo and ecto if grown next to a proper host plant. ( "Mycorrhizal Symbiosis by Sally E. Smith and David J. Read"). And, plants that are naturally both endo and ectomycorrhizal can tie the two networks together; mainly willow, cottonwood, aspen, walnut.

PLOS ONE - mycorrhizal network shared across many plants

Nature - Complex Plant Fungus Networks

Willow, Cottonwod, Aspen, Walnut - have both ecto and endo
Alder - narrow, host specific
Grapes switch to ectomycorrhizal
Brassica and ectomycorrhizae

Brassica can be mycorrhizal if planted next to a host plant

Lavendar - nursery guild
Improving pasture with Ectomycorrhizae


Endomycorrhizal Inoculation:

The major disadvantage of commercial fungal inoculant is that these introduced non-native fungus are almost always overwhelmed and replaced by native fungus. These commercial inoculants may not even survive the soil, PH, climate, etc. long enough to be replaced by native fungi. Commercial inoculant is seldom necessary unless soil has been greatly disturbed and undisturbed soil cannot be found. Make your own inoculant instead.

Homemade Arbuscular inoculant from roots
Arbuscular fungus are obligate biotrophic symbionts
Introduced Mycorrhizal persistance
Indigenous mycorrhizae

Crops which encourage the widest range of mycorrhizal fungus: Sorghum - Sorghum bicolor (L.) Moench (C4) and Leek - Allium porrum (L.).

Crops which encourage the highest numbers of mycorrhizal fugus: pea, Lentil, barley, bean.

If you are planning on using local soils to inoculate new plantings with, it might be a good idea to use one of these labs to test the source of your inoculant. And then of course, test your new plantings the next year to make sure everything has transferred over.

Soil Food  Web


Ectomycorrhizal Inoculation:

For ectomycorrhizal fungus you can gather safe mushrooms within a reasonable distance of your orchard planting site to inoculate with.

Ectomycorrhizal Submerged Fermentation
Paul Stamets - Mycelium Running
Homemade Ectomycorrhizal Spore Slurry

SunSeed - practical ideas for self made inoculant
Ectomycorrhizal slurry



FAO - Making Money by Growing Mushrooms

UN - Mushroom Cultivation
Advanced Cultivation of Mushrooms
Thunderstorms encourage fungal fruiting


Fungal Bio-Controls:

Gabe Brown - seedlings start best with mycorrhizal fungus

Trichoderma sp.: A beneficial fungus that can be applied as a bio-control agent.

ATTRA - Trichoderma

Suppress harmful fungus by growing Brassica nigra or B. juncea in rotation.

GCIRC - Fumigation effect of Brassica roots

Kentucky State - Brassica juncea - Pacific Gold

Cornell - incorporation of Brassica
Scientific American - Aspergillus flavus to suppress aflatoxin

Garden for Nutrition Index