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Mycorrhizae for established trees

Posted by Zea Sonnabend 
Mycorrhizae for established trees
May 11, 2013 04:37AM
We planted two acres of fruit trees last year (1 acre of apples and 1 of mixed pears, quince, fig, citrus and more) and I read Michael's book in the middle of the planting season so we only got mycorhizzal inoculant on the later planted things (the figs, blueberries and citrus) but not the apples or pears. Can I go back now and inoculate? And how? I have a soil probe and could try pushing it into the root zone and putting some of the powder into it for each tree, or should I sprinkle it on the surface and water it in? Or mix it into compost or fertilizer and chop it in with a hoe? We haven't put down mulch yet and have been hoeing around the young trees to keep down weeds until we figure out a good source of mulch and good way to spread it.

Ideas appreciated.

Fruitilicious Farm
Zone 9b in California

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 05/15/2013 06:23PM by Michael Phillips.
Re: Mycorrhizae for established trees
May 13, 2013 05:21AM
If there is a deciduous forest in the vicinity you have a free, and locally acclimated source of mycorrhizal fungi. Placing trees in old hayfields and without such a local fungal source it might be advantageous to purchase those mail order sources, but the jury I believe is still out on their importance in producing healthy trees. Great care in transport, species selection and longevity in your environment are wildcards, so do your research and find a well respected source of inoculum. Then test with a control and let us know how it turns out.

Walden Heights Nursery & Orchard
Zone 3 in Vermont
Re: Mycorrhizae for established trees
June 06, 2013 05:09AM
I agree with Todd that you can harvest some local mycorrhizal fungi from your property or adjacent deciduous forested areas. Should you need to go further to source some local product, you could use that same mycorrhizae harvested to produce a large future source by inoculating your own compost piles or making a raised bed dedicated to decomposition . . . Your own little fungi farm -- then you can harvest handfuls as needed to inoculate desired soils at any time down the road.

If you need or prefer to mail order it, Bio-Organics (the makers of the root dip Michael profiled in his book) also makes a soil drench product based on the same strains of mycorrhizae. Very easy to use, mixes with water and can be poured around trees or added to a back pack sprayer and applied by spray stream where desired. It will soak into the root zone and you will be all set.

I use the root dip and the soil drench products from Bio-Organics. I am a fan of both.

As Todd suggested, you have planted a good number of trees, having a control group that doesnt get inoculated would be a valuable experiment.

Good question Zea

Gopher Hill Apples
Zone 8 in California
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