Ask Al a Question forum: Use of ectomycorrhizal fungi in container culture

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Feb 24, 2010 12:23 PM CST
Name: Joseph
Zone 7a Delaware USA
Hi Al,

Have you any experience in using mycorrhizal fungi in container culture? I mainly grow annuals in containers, primarily Ipomoea nil and I. purpurea. I have read that many species need the fungal symbiosis to survive, such as pine and other evergreen and hardwood species. I do know that disturbance of soil is deleterious to the soil fungi, as well as using too high P fertilizers. I have been using mycorrhizal fungi as a root dip when transplanting my young vine plants the past few years, and have been keeping the containers undisturbed from year to year. I use a low P fish product fertilizer and the vines seem to thrive and grow well.

I was just wondering about your thoughts whether there has been any studies you're aware of on this topic. Thanks for your views.

Best regards,


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[Last edited Feb 26, 2010 10:28 PM CST]
Quote | Post #73496 (1)
Feb 26, 2010 10:30 PM CST
Name: Joseph
Zone 7a Delaware USA
I meant to say endomycorrhizal fungi for the non-tree species I mentioned above. Sorry about that.
Feb 27, 2010 8:57 PM CST
Name: Al
5b-6a MI
I haven't used any inoculations of mycorrhizal fungi because containers are rather inhospitable to the fungi when they would do the most good. I see plenty of evidence of the fungi in early spring when I do my bonsai repots, without any effort on my part to inoculate, and again in late fall if I check to satisfy my curiosity, but I haven't seen any evidence of its presence during the warm months when plants are putting on the most growth and/or storing energy for the winter's rest. Perhaps it's the way I approach container culture, but somehow I feel it's related primarily to temperature flux, but ymmv.

Feb 28, 2010 7:06 AM CST
Name: Joseph
Zone 7a Delaware USA

You bring up a point I had not considered, container temperature, which is very interesting; I will re-read some literature in follow-up and let you know what I find. I appreciate your view very much. Thank you.

Aug 21, 2013 7:29 PM CST
Name: Rick Corey
Pacific NorthWet Zone 8a
I've read that roots tend to hold less endomycorrhizal fungi when their nutrient and water needs are already being met plentifully.

Like kicking a hitchhiker out of the car when you don't need him to read maps any more.

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