About mycorrhizal fungi and fruit trees
Mycorrhiza are fungi found on nearly 90% of plants on earth. In nutrient-poor or moisture-deficient soils, nutrients taken up by the fungal hyphae can lead to improved plant growth and reproduction. As a result, mycorrhizal plants are often more competitive and better able to tolerate environmental stresses than are non mycorrhizal plants. Two types of mycorrhizal fungi exist. Endo and Ecto. About 5% of plants benefit from Ectomycorrhizal fungi.
Tropical fruit trees are endomycorrhizal. This mycorrhizae lives inside the roots. In the tropical jungles, the mycorrhizae digest the litter which continually falls from the trees, being decomposed and recycled back into the trees. It works in conjunction with the roots of the trees and does an absolutely fantastic job.
Mycorrhiza, is defined as a fungus-root.
Fungus (Myco) and the Roots (rhiza) Mycorrhiza
The term was first applied to fungus-tree associations in the writings of the German forest pathologist A.B. Frank in the year 1885. Since then we have learned that a majority of land plants form symbiotic relationships with fungi. Mycorrhizal colonies form on plant roots in natural conditions in healthy soil.
These fungi in combination with other beneficial soil microbes and other organisms release nutrition from the soil and they transport these nutrients to the plant. The plant provides the fungi, bacteria and other organisms in the soil with carbon and carbohydrates. In this (win - win) symbiotic relationship the fungus and the plant benefit. Additionally the increased surface area of fungi all around the roots helps defend the plant from soil borne diseases and assists in water absorption.
Mycorrhizal Fungi is just one part of the Soil Food Web. Understanding the interactions between these organisms and using the knowledge of natural soil science is the fundamental principle for organic or natural food production.
Healthy soil requires more than just beneficial fungi, it also needs bacteria and many other organisms, minerals, water etc. In general, Most fruit bearing trees benefit from higher concentrations of mycorrhizal fungi than vegetables. Vegetables are better cared for when concentrations of beneficial bacteria populate the soil.
Pepe's Planting Tip:
When planting a fruit tree mix mycorrhizae with some soil in a ratio of 1 to 10. Do not use chlorinated water or you will kill the beneficial fungi. Avoid using soil fungicides. When adding after a tree has been planted follow these steps.
Make some holes about six inch deep and about 3 feet in from the tree's drip line. Add a scoopful into the holes and cover with the soil.
For smaller potted plants, poke holes in the soil using a stick or a pencil. Place about one teaspoon of mycorrhizae in each of the holes. Use three holes for example in a 10 inch diameter pot. You can also add the mycorrhizae to seed starter mixes for planting seeds.
Below are links for two great products you should consider trying. Use it when planting your fruit trees.