The Coreopsis on the left received the industry standard fertilizer treatment, with no mycorrhizal inoculant. The Coreopsis on the right received 30% less fertilizer than the industry standard, and was inoculated with MycoApply® Ultrafine Endo at plug stage.

For greenhouse growers, finding a new product that increases consumer satisfaction, reduces plant losses, improves plant quality and saves them money, may seem impossible. However, Dr. Hugh Poole, horticultural technical consultant, says that the products Mycorrhizal Applications offers could do all those things, and more.

Poole has known about mycorrhizal fungi for more than 50 years. He has worked with many horticulturists who have used the mycorrhizal fungi-based products, which accelerate plant strength by greatly increasing the surface absorbing area of roots, producing a healthier root system, according to Mycorrhizal Applications’ website. That symbiotic relationship helps foster better water and nutrient absorption.

“Professional growers and horticulturists often overcompensate by over-fertilizing, over-watering and pushing the crop out the door as fast as we can. Mycorrhizal fungi can and will be a big part of the solution,” Poole says.

Poole says growers will see several big differences in their crops after using Mycorrhizal Applications’ products over traditional fertilizers. “Growers have noticed more compact growth habit, darker foliage [and] more lateral breaks producing more flowers and fruits,” he says. “They have also commented on lower fertilizer usage and the ability to reduce stress on the shelf and in the ground.”

After performing several trials and demonstrations with the MycoApply® inoculants at both the California Spring Trials and Cultivate’17, Poole saw an increase in the quality of the plants even with reduced fertilizer use.

“We had a display there where we demonstrated the reduction in fertilizer usage to produce plants of comparable size, or better even, with less fertilizer,” he says. “We also encourage and support growers to perform their own trials in their operations and growing conditions, rather than just take our word for what MycoApply® mycorrhizal inoculants can and cannot do.”

In addition to improving the quality of crops, Poole says Mycorrhizal Applications products are easier to use than traditional fertilizers. Specifically, he thinks the MycoApply® products are useful for growing container and landscape plants.

“One of the company’s flagship products, MycoApply® Endo, is a granular formulation that can be incorporated into a growing medium prior to transplanting or top-dressed and watered-in after transplanting,” he says. “MycoApply® Ultrafine Endo is a more concentrated powder that can be incorporated in the growing mix or top-dressed, like the granular product. Both products can be blended with fertilizers and be broadcasted to establish plantings.”

Growers of perennials and nursery crops can see visible benefits in crop uniformity and growth habit for crops that last longer than four to eight weeks, Poole says.

“Our research and scientific literature suggest a 30 percent reduction in nitrogen, phosphorus and water requirements for many crops and faster plant establishment after transplanting,” he says.

Poole says mycorrhizae won’t be able to solve every problem a grower has, but it will make growers aware of over-fertilization, over-watering and high shrinkage problems.

“The biggest hurdle for greenhouse growers, is that the crop cycle is so short,” he says. “The full benefits of the mycorrhizae are realized by consumers.” Growers who are interested can learn more by visiting mycorrhizae.com

Poole adds that Mycorrhizal Applications is great to work with. “Mycorrhizal Applications is a very passionate and science-based company with a diverse range of mycorrhizal offerings for most plant types and growing conditions,” he says. “Their personnel are very knowledgeable and professional and will be a great partner for any grower wanting to explore the opportunities of mycorrhizae.”