The science of plant health has moved well beyond basic plant nutrition. Research has shown the importance of proper nutrition, vitamins, plant hormones, light wavelengths, and even beneficial fungi.
Beneficial fungi that live in the rhizosphere(root system) of your plants, create a symbiotic relationship that can really help your plants thrive!
There are two primary ways these relationships work, and they involve two types of mycorrhiza. Endomycorrhiza(Endo – inside) and Ectomycorrhiza(Ecto – outside).
Endomycorrhizae penetrate the root walls, and feed on the host plants steady supply of carbohydrates in the form of sucrose and glucose. In return they create mycelia, thread like structures that extend outwards from the root walls. The mycorrhizae’s mycelia make both water and nutrients more available to the host plant through an increased surface area.
Ectomycorrhizae live outside the root walls of the host plant, and play host themselves to nitrogen fixing bacteria. These bacteria convert nitrogen into nitrate, which becomes usable to the host plant. The relationship increases the nitrogen available to a host plant, and allows a host plant to grow in nutrient poor locations.
Mycorrhizae effectively harden the host plant to drought, nutrient deficiency, and disease. Geek speak put aside for a minute, this is really good stuff. Fortunately, you don’t have to know someone on the inside of an agriculture research lab to get some either. Many products on the shelves at local nurseries, home improvement stores, and hydroponic shops, will carry products containing various mycorrhizae. If all else fails, buy it online.