[nafex] mycorrhizal fungi failure?

Tom Olenio tolenio at sentex.net
Thu Dec 6 09:54:47 EST 2001

Dear Plant Health Care, Inc.,

I am a member of NAFEX (North American Fruit Explorers
www.nafex.org) and there has been some discussion lately on
our groups email list regarding the effectiveness of
mycorrhizal fungi.  As "Plant Care Health" is the worlds
leading supplier of mycorrhizal fungi, I hope that you can
answer a few questions and I will share your answers with
the group.

We have had a couple of reports that mycorrhizal fungi did
not enhance apple tree growth.  The reports even indicated
that inoculated trees were even slower growing.  To quote
the report "While I was expecting good results, to my
surprise, the plants treated with the fungus did more poorly
than the non treated plants. The non treated tomatoes were
larger, healthier looking, and had more tomatoes. On the
apple trees, the treated plants seemed to grow more slowly,
and with only a fraction of the growth over the summer of
the non treated trees".

One of these reports came from zone 3 and another from zone

I am not sure of the cultural practices of each location but
you could you advise us on;

  a) What cultural practices would inhibit the beneficial
       properties of mycorrhizal fungi?

  b) What environmental problems would inhibit the
       beneficial properties of mycorrhizal fungi?

  c) Since the most common mycorrhizal fungi pentrate
      the root cell walls, what would be the effect of
      mycorrhizal fungi colonizing a root system and then
      the fungi dying off due to natural or cultural
      (would the root system be compromised to some extent
       by the dead mycorrhizal fungi incorporated into the
       root cells?)

   c)  Are there strains of mycorrhizal fungi that have
        compatability with apple, peach, pear and other
        crops than others?

Thank you very much for your time, and I look forward to
reading and sharing your reply with the group.

Tom Olenio

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