Experimenting with inoculating conifers with ectomycorrhizae (ectomycorrhizal fungi)
How to Inoculate Ectomycorrhizal Fungi
Mycorrhizal fungi are generally known as successful tools to increase plant growth and health. Ectomycorrhizal fungi are generally the easiest type of mycorrhizal fungi to inoculate and transplant because they are easily found by woody plants and they do not need to be attached to a host plant to survive.
- Mycorrhizal fungi - Fungi that grow in conjunction to plants in a symbiotic association where the fungi increase the plant's water and nutrient uptake and the plant supplies the fungi with carbon through their roots and mycelia (fungal roots).
- Ectomycorrhizal fungi - Mycorrhizal fungi that attach their own mycelia to the roots of the host plant using their Hartig Netwithout invading the host plant's roots. Ectomycorrhizae are usually associated with woody plants, including trees such as fir, pine, beech, oak, and birch.
- Hartig Net - The net-like formation of long, branching fungal cells that connect to the host plant's roots.
- bottom halves of liter bottles
- plastic spoon and fork
This may require outside research to properly identify plants and fungi
Timing is key. It is best to start this project when the ectomycorrhizal fungi have fruiting bodies (mushrooms) for identification purposes.
In a wooded area, identify a tree or plant that commonly has ectomycorrhizal fungi associated with it.(If possible find one within the same genus or species as the plant you will transplant to in order to ensure success.)
Identify an ectomycorrhizal fungus associated with the tree or plant that you found in step one.
Using your plastic spoon and fork, carefully dig around the fungus and approximately 8 inches (20.3 cm) down so that you can clearly see its mycelia.
Remove a small section of mycelia attaching the mushroom with the plant root.(The mycelia will grow back and produce another mushroom next year).
Place the section of mycelia in the halved container bottom and surround it with a soil and compost mixture.
Thoroughly wet the soil mixture and add more if necessary.
Continue to water or check on the growth of mycelia daily for three weeks.
Once the ectomycorrhizal fungus is fully established it can be transported to its new host plant.
Make sure to continually check on the fungus during the first few weeks to ensure success.
Sources and Citations
- ↑Peterson, R, H Massicotte, L Melville (2004).Mycorrhizas: Anatomy and Cell Biology. NRC Research Press, Ottawa: 7-8.
- Paul, E, F Clark (1989).Soil Microbiology and Biochemistry. Academic Press, San Diego: 205-209.
Video: Wild Harvesting Mycorrhizal Fungi Using THESE?
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