Benefits of Mycorrhizae

Water Conservation for Lawn and Landscape September 22, 2015 Print Friendly and PDF

Mycorrhizae are soil fungi that benefit the soil in many ways. A healthy soil is important for a water-wise landscape. Organic matter, drainage, and plant nutrients contribute to the fertility and health of the soil and plants found therein.

Mycorrhizae literally means “fungus root” and describes a mutualistic association between fungus and plant roots that exists in almost all plants. The plant supports the fungus by providing carbohydrates needed for fungal growth, while the fungus helps the plant by increasing its root surface area.

Potential Benefits of Mycorrhizae:

  • Enhanced water and nutrient uptake
  • Reduction of irrigation requirements
  • Reduction need for fertilizer
  • Increased drought resistance
  • Increased pathogen resistance
  • Increased plant health and stress tolerance
  • Higher transplanting success

There are many types of mycorrihizae. Remember that most plants naturally contain mycorrhizae and may not benefit from the addition of mycorrhizal fungi. However, in cases where plants are being transplanted from or into sterile soil, adding mycorrhizal fungi may be of benefit.




Additional Resources:


Washington - Mycorrhizae: What the Heck Are They Anyway?


Iowa - Friendly Fungi?
Ohio - Mycorrhizae in Urban Landscapes




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This work is supported by the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture, New Technologies for Ag Extension project.