What Does Mycorrhizal Do
The full story of what effect mycorrhizal roots have on plants is still evolving. To date we know that some plants cannot live without mycorrhizal roots. We also know there are a few obscure plants that do not need mycorrhizae. Most brassicas, for example, which include broccoli, brussels sprouts, cabbage, and cauliflower do not associate with mycorrhizae. But the fact is that nearly all plant life is dependent on the association of mycorrhizae and plant roots. Mycorrhizae grow through the soil by extending its hyphea, which are the "roots" of the fungus, into the soil or soil-less application. These "roots" are extremely fiberious and engulf every tiny crack and cranny in the soil to absorb water, and nutrients in solution, and give this solution to the roots of the plant. We have seen up to 80% increase in plant roots and micro roots. Bringing you much more oxygen and nutrients to your plants life cycle!!!
The only food source for mycorrhizae comes from the plant. Thus, if anything begins to slow the food source, the mycorrhizae becomes more active, and aggressive, to feed its host - the roots of the plant. This is why plants in stressed conditions benefit from mycorrhizal roots. Regardless of the cause, i.e., drought, heat, high salt, wind burn, freeze, parasites, negative organisms, etc., mycorrhizae has evolved to bring relief to the plant. Mycorrhizae is a natural phenomenon.
To give you an idea of how mysterious this fungus is in 1996, the USDA Agricultural Research Service reported their findings on a study where young trees were planted next to mature trees. The scientist studied where the foods feeding the young trees was coming from. What they discovered was unexpected, yet very natural. A great deal of the food supplied to the young trees actually came from the mature trees through the transfer of foods at the hyphea level between the hyphea of the mature trees and that of the mycorrhizae associated with the young trees. Although no one has yet given good scientific fact for this to have occurred, isn't the parent feeding the child a natural, predictable phenomenon?
The reason we need to inoculate is because standard nursery and landscape practices have largely ignored this whole part of a complete plant system. Horticultural classes in our universities and technical schools give little attention to the topic of mycorrhizae - but this is changing rapidly. Commercially speaking our focus has been on quantity, not quality. Because of the pressure the typical nurserymen has to turn inventory, little, if any attention, has been given to the natural health of the plant. As a result of this viewpoint the nursery industry has been producing, and selling, plants that are not naturally complete. Because nearly all plants are not complete without the mycorrhizal association they are relatively fragile and can quickly die if not maintained intensively. We have this perfect system available to us but we have ignored it and instead employed billions of dollars in chemicals to control growth and predators.