Mycorrhizal Fungi – the Power of Symbiosis

Get in touch

Here’s a fact worthy of attention – The vast majority of plants on Earth need fungi in order to live.  Without the relationship between plant roots and mycorrhizal fungi life on Earth could not exist as we know it.

The word mycorrhiza comes from Greek and literally means ‘fungus-root’.  This term describes a vast number of fungal species that live in soil and form symbiotic relationships with the roots of plants including almost all tree species.  There are two broad categories – endo and ecto.  Ectomycorrhizal fungi penetrate the root and work within the microscopic root hairs whilst endomycorrhizal fungi sheath the root tips and so a partnership is formed between these two very different entities – plants and fungus.

The purpose of this amazing and complex relationship is simply for mutual benefit. Trees and most plants are fairly good at building carbohydrates via photosynthesis but they are less good at gathering minerals and nutrients from soil.  Fungi on the other hand cannot easily make carbohydrates but are very good at extracting nutrients from soil. And so, a highly efficient, complex and organised trading relationship is at play whereby the fungi get the carbohydrates that they need and plants and trees get minerals and nutrients which they need.

It is this symbiotic relationship that largely governs the health and well being of trees in our gardens, parks and woodlands.

At Geo Tree we are able to introduce a mix of mycorrhizal fungi, usually combined with biochar to significantly boost the population of beneficial fungi in soils. This will enhance the health, vitality and disease resistance of any trees and shrubs.