What is it and why does it make healthier plants?
The word mycorrhizae comes from the Greek words mykes, meaning fungus and rhiza, meaning root.
Mycorrhizae refers to the symbiotic relationship between fungus and plants. These are some of the most common symbioses found in terrestrial ecosystems. The mycorrhizae fungi co-inhabit the rhizosphere and attach to the root systems of the plants.
When the fungi attach to the roots they uptake nutrients from the soil and transport them to the roots. The fungi provide soil resources to the plant in exchange for photosynthates that the plant produces through its leaves.
Plants grow better when they are mycorrhizal. This is especially true when plants are challenged by pathogens. The way that pathogens are suppressed by the mycorrhizae is highly varied. It includes improved nutrition of the host plant, changes in the chemical composition of a plant’s tissues, and changes in the bacterial communities of the root zone.
The fungi act as a method of disease controlIn the case of sheathing mycorrhiza, the fungi create a physical barrier between pathogens and plant roots. Mycorrhiza also thicken the root’s cell walls through the production of carbohydrates. They also compete with pathogens for the uptake of essential nutrients and stimulate the plant’s production of metabolites increasing resistance to disease.
In addition to disease resistance, mycorrhizal fungi can also impart to host plants a resistance to toxicity and resistance to insects, ultimately improving fitness and vigor.
In more complex relationships, mycorrhizal fungi can connect individual plants within a mycorrhizal network. This network functions to transport materials such as water, carbon, and other nutrients from plant to plant, and can even provide some type of defense communication via chemicals signifying an attack on an individual within the network. Not only can plants use these signals to start producing natural insect repellants, they can also use them to start producing an attractant to bring in natural predators of the plant’s pests!
I find this particularly amazing
This relationship is found in over 80% of plant species, including crops and greenhouse plants, most vegetables, grasses, flowers, and fruit trees.
It is particularly beneficial in areas where the soil does not contain sufficient nitrogen and phosphorus, or in areas where water is not easily accessible. The mycorrhizal mycelia (filaments) are much finer and smaller in diameter than roots and root hairs, vastly increasing the surface area for absorption of water, phosphorus, amino acids, and nitrogen, acting like a second set of roots! These nutrients are essential for plant growth, therefore plants with mycorrhizal associations have an advantage over their non-mycorrhizal associated counterparts that rely solely on roots for the uptake of materials.
Mycorrhizae and Cannabis
Any plant is only as healthy and vigorous as its roots. Because we can’t see the roots it’s difficult to understand what they need. When it comes to cannabis, optimizing root health is imperative to achieving the highest potential of your genetics. There are multiple products available to add to your soil to achieve vigorous healthy root systems. Mykos and Great White are two products that I have personally used to assure my cannabis has access to this highly beneficial symbiotic relationship. Light Warrior by Fox Farm is a premixed grow media that has mycorrhizae in the mix. It’s completely organic, and is a great product for seedlings and clones. Adding a mycorrhizae product to your starts gets this going in the soil and amazing things happen.
In conclusion, the plant kingdom has consciousness. These plant species work together to achieve optimum health and safety. For the biggest healthiest cannabis plants take advantage of this 400+ million year old natural symbiotic relationship.