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                                                MYCORRHIZAL FUNGI

New to me, this product is claimed to offer great benefits to plants.  This so-called 'friendly fungi' will, after a few weeks, 'enter' the root of the plant and start to spread into the soil. The fungal network which lives in a symbiotic relationship with the plant increases the volume of soil explored by the plant by up to 700 times, it is claimed. adding the fungus to the plant void when planting provides benefits for the life of the plant. It is available in various sized packs in a dried powder or gel form.

The fungus mycelium (filaments)  spreads over a wide area, and provides access to the minerals and nutrients that benefit the plant, while the plant roots provide sugars beneficial to the fungal growth. The trade-name for this product is 'Rootgrow', and it is produced by Plantworks (www.plantworksuk.co.uk). It is available on line from www.friendlyfungi.co.uk-although I found that this address leads to the same page as Plantworks.  It is also available from David Austin Roses (www.davidaustinroses.com)  packeted under their own label.

Three different packs are available-Trees, House Plants and Roses and Garden Plants. However, this is where I became a little confused!  The packet I have states it 'does not work with azaleas, brassicas, heathers, rhododendrons, conifers and native trees'. 'Use Rootgrow plus for trees'. The leaflet I have says............. 'will not help brassicas, rhododendrons, orchids or heathers'.  The David Austin pack says (suitable for) 'roses, fruit trees, and most vegetables and other garden plants'  It could be of course that this last product is a blend, but I noted that the for the same price you get only 60g compared with 75g. Larger bags of Rootgrow Plus were also in the shelf, 'a mix suitable for most garden plants'. 

So, I decided to do a little test.  I potted up similar plants in the same compost and in the same growing conditions.  Some had the fungus sprinkled under the roots, and some didn't. The plan was to compare growth over a season. I used examples of Amsonia, Aquilegia, Viola (pansy), and Acer.

After about a year I compared the plants. I could see no difference at all. I have to qualify this by saying that such small samples are not truly representative, and it is possible I did not use enough mycorrhiza. However, if the latter applies, then it is an expensive procedure!