What is Mycorrhizae and its Benefits?

Cannabis can be divided into two main structures. The shoot system, which is everything that is above the soil, and the root system, which is everything below. Since we can’t see the roots growing, we are superficially focused on what’s happening above the soil. The reality is that some of the most important processes are happening underground.

Your roots are growing so they can feed on more water and nutrients. Having a high-quality soil filled with beneficial nutrients and organic compounds has a huge effect on your cannabis plants. Adding a product that contains mycorrhiza will improve plant yield . Let’s learn about this helpful fungus and why you should be using it in your grows.

mycorrizal fungus

How do you pronounce the word mycorrhiza?

My – Ko – Rye – Za

Great, but mycorrhiza is the singular form. If you have more than one it’s called mycorrhizae.

My – Ko – Rye – Zye

Okay, we got that down. It took me a few weeks of pronouncing it various wrong ways until I learned the correct way.

What is Mycorrhizae?

Mycorrhiza refers to a mutually beneficial relationship that exists between various types of fungi and plants. What happens is that these fungi entrench themselves into the root systems of plants, fully colonizing them. While there, they boost the capacity of the plant to absorb water and minerals. In return, the plant will supply the symbiotic fungi with rich nutrients that come as a product of photosynthesis. These fungal organisms also provide the plant with increased defense from a wide range of pathogens that may be present in the soil.

The science community estimates that 9 out of 10 vascular plants that thrive on land survive because of this type of relationship. Furthermore, an examination of fossil records indicates that this relationship is one of the oldest ever detected and is what allowed even the earliest land plants to thrive in the harsh environment centuries ago.

Numerous studies have shown the benefits of mycorrhizae for plants used for land reclamation, landscape installations, home gardening,  fruit and vegetable crops, and greenhouse crops.

Reefertilizer start comparison
The plant on the right was treated with Reefertilizer Start which contains mycorrhizae and other nutrients. (photo credit @the.wee.d)
This is the root system of a happy cannabis plant. Mycorrhizae helps protect roots and increase nutrient uptake. (photo credit @the.wee.d)

Mycorrizae works by expanding the area that your root system can utilize. The fungus grows along a plants roots and shoots out tiny hairs that will draw in even more moisture and nutrients. When the roots of you cannabis plant metabolize these nutrients, the by product will feed the fungus keeping both parties happy!

Benefits offered by mycorrhizal fungi to your cannabis plants

-Increased uptake of water and nutrients

Generally, the mycorrhizal fungi will increase the root surface area available to a plant. This allows the plant to take up more water and nutrients than would be possible without. The result is a healthy and vibrant plant that can supply essential compounds uniformly from the roots throughout the entire cannabis plant.

·Increased flowers and yield

Since your plants are maximizing their nutrient and water uptake, they will produce more flower per crop. Plants that are reaping the benefits of growing with mycorrhizal fungus will often grow larger!

·Higher rates of success when transplanting

If your cannabis crop is becoming too crowded for its planter, the solution is always to transplant. Moving a plant from one location to another needs to be done very carefully to enhance the chances of thriving. When that plant has been aided by the mycorrhizal relationships in the soil then its base will be much stronger and will have a higher chance of survival.

·Decreased stress levels

The benefits of mycorrhizae become very apparent when the plant is surviving under constant stress. When the stress brought about by drought increases, the plant becomes less dependent on itself and more dependent on the cultural support that these fungi bring. This explains why some plants are capable of surviving extreme weather conditions while others simply roll over. Even more importantly, mycorrhizal presence in plants surroundings has a direct impact on the levels of resistance to stress. The best cannabis soil contains myco.

This image show how mycorrhizae benefits roots for grass. (photo credit www.pennington.com)

Using Mycorrhizae in Your Cannabis Grow

When your soil lacks mycorrhizae, your cannabis plants will have a slower rate of growth, smaller yields and lower levels of resistance against common diseases and pathogens. So, If you’re not using mycorrhizae in your soil mix, you might want to think about adding some next time.
The best ways to incorporate mycorrhizae into your soil is by using Reefertilizer Start soil conditioner. Start contains plenty of the mycorrhizae fungus, as well as beneficial nutrients, needed by cannabis plants.

Adding Mycorrhizae to your Soil

Mix Reefertilizer Start or other mycorrhizae product directly into your soil mix. We recommend 3 scoops of Start for every 4 liters of soil. This will distribute the fungus throughout your soil, working with new roots to collect more water and nutrients.

Applying Mycorrhizae to the Root Ball

Are you about to transplant your plant? This is a great time to apply some mycorrhizae directly to your plant’s root base. When you remove your cannabis plant from its planter, you will see the complicated root system that your plant has built. Using one scoop of start, sprinkle it all over the root base.

Will synthetic fertilizers hurt mycorrhizae in my soil?

The quick answer is no, not really. This is a common myth. Mycorrhizae and microbes feed off elements found in the soil. These micro organism and your plants roots don’t care if they are getting nitrogen, potassium, and phosphorus from a synthetic source or an organic one. They simply cannot tell the difference.
In this science article they tested the affects of synthetic and organic fertilizers on microbial life in the soil. What they discovered was that synthetic and organic fertilizers both increased the fungal population. There was a slightly higher fungal population for soil treated with organic fertilizers but in the big picture it won’t make a difference for growers.

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If your growing your own cannabis, share with us you pictures in the comment section below.

Thanks for reading. Grow Good Weed!

Mike Drouin

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