[tomato] Mycorrhizae!!

Paul Reynolds (Tomato@GlobalGarden.com)
Fri, 05 Mar 1999 10:19:10 -0600

I'm just now catching up on my mail and as a newbie to the list was
pretty well put back by the arguments ensued over the mycorrhizae
issue.  Although I feel that the original posts were innocent, I think
it's time that as an Agronomist I put in my two cents worth.

First off, I have no personal vendetta for someone that has a commercial
interest in posting to a list such as this.  I am subscribed to numerous
professional lists and it is common amongst all of them.  However, it IS
kept to a minimum and usually doesn't spawn a response from the
"commercial interests" until there is a post posted that pertains to
their subject.

Mycorrhizae are a very important aspect to the relationship between
soils and plants.
The association is of great practical significance because it markedly
increases the availability to plants of several essential nutrients,
especially from infertile soils or soils that may be lacking in a
particular "essential" nutrient.  The fungi provide an enhanced
availability of several essential nutrients, including phosphorous,
zinc, copper, calcium, magnesium, manganese and iron.

There is NO such thing as a perfect soil.  Every soil in the US is
lacking in some form or another!   Especially if it has been farmed or
cropped or some form of harvesting has occurred for an extended period
of time.  Even today, we are finding that soils are severely deficient
in minor, but very important to plant growth, nutrients such as cobalt,
cadmium, nickel and some others.  Crops such as okra, cotton, kenaf and
other species of the genus Gossypium, are some of the most destructive
plants on the soil environment as a whole.

There have been numerous studies showing that the addition of
mycorrhizae to a fertilizer application improves a plants efficiency in
the uptake of numerous nutrients, not just N-P-K.  Folks tend to forget
about the other nutrients and tend to take it for granted that they
either aren't important or that they automatically exist and are
available to the plant in the soil environment.

I conclude that if a producer feels that they may be able to increase
the health and productivity of their plants, then it's worth the effort
and expense to incorporate Mycorrhizae in their management.  You never
know exactly until you try and what's it going to hurt if it's your
money, your time and your effort??

However, a word of warning.  There are numerous "shyster" companies out
there that only want to make a sale and are willing to sale ya anything
under the moon and promise that it is productive.

The mycorrhizae of most importance will be of the endomycorrhiza group.
The most important of this group is the vesicular arbuscular (VA)
mycorrhizae.  If the vendor you are dealing with can't even tell you the
name, then I wouldn't venture into their web of influence.

Thanks and I hope some of you can use this information.

Paul Reynolds