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Using mycorrhizal fungi reduces watering needs, increases nutrient uptake for healthier plants

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CC BY 2.0 Thergothon / Wikimedia Commons

How mycorrhizal fungi can make healthier, drought-resistant gardens (Video)

by Kimberley Mok

Gardening season is in full swing, and resourceful gardeners are always on the lookout for helpful tips. Here’s one that we heard through the grapevine: using mycorrhizal fungi in your garden will reduce its watering needs, and also increases your plants’ nutrient uptake, resulting in healthier plants.

Mycorrhiza (“myco” is Greek for mushroom, and “rhiza” for root) refers to the symbiotic association between certain kinds of fungi and the roots of plants — literally, it’s “root fungus.” In this mutualistic relationship, the fungi will colonize plant roots and spread out a microscopic network of filaments underground called “hyphae,” thus allowing the plants to soak up more water and nutrients, while taking sugars in exchange. On its own, this network of fungal hyphae is called a “mycelium” — which we know has amazing properties, prompting mycologists like Paul Stamets to call mycelium “Earth’s natural internet.”

Read the full article: Treehugger

Published by

Willem Van Cotthem

Honorary Professor of Botany, University of Ghent (Belgium). Scientific Consultant for Desertification and Sustainable Development.