These days, everyone’s talking about the ‘wood wide web’ and the benefits of mycorrhizal fungi.

But have you found a useful resource summing up all the benefits? I haven’t.

The information is scattered in scientific papers, books and articles. For example, one article will explain how mycorrhizal fungi dramatically increase water and nutrient availability for their host plants. Another how they release sugars from the tips of their hyphae to feed phosphate – solubilizing bacteria.

The information is so discombobulated. It’s frustrating.

So I thought the mind map I put together would be a good resource to share with you. I put it together to help me organise the information for  the Ecological Farming Handbook.

The mind map shows all the benefits I have discovered so far.

There are likely to be others. If you have come across any please let me know in the comments below (with the source of your information). Then I can keep this resource up-to-date.

When I was studying for my degree in ecology, way back in… Maybe I won’t say exactly! Scientists were just starting to talk about mycorrhizal fungi. I remember that they had discovered a couple of commercially grown conifer species had symbiotic relationships with these fungi.

NOW we know that mycorrhizal fungi are indispensable. That over 90% of plants species, including most crop plants, form associations with these specialised soil fungi.

Here’s a couple of questions for you

  1. How did plants get nutrients and water for the first 75 million years after colonising dry land?
  2. What’s the main function of roots?

Answer – (1) Mycorrhizal fungi.

Answer – (2) Anchoring your plants in the soil. Roots function mainly as backups for when plants can’t form beneficial associations with mycorrhizal fungi.

Wow! That’s a different perspective.

Take a look at the diagram below to see why mycorrhizal fungi:

  • Reduce irrigation, fertiliser and pest control costs
  • Grow stronger plants
  • Improve your soil

 

(Right click on image to view enlarged version)