hau Robert, welcome to permies and thank you for taking the time to answer root questions.
I am currently studying the interactions of roots and mycorrhizal fungi, the way the fungi act as catalyst for the roots uptake of minerals and other benefits. I am hoping you will comment on this subject, thank you for your time and trouble.
Hi Redhawk, I have a whole long chapter on this in the book. Basically most trees are dependent on myco to absorb enough phosphorus. The roots are colonized by the fungi going into the cell itself or in grow around the cell walls. It is interesting that myco filaments join together. If one plant is attacked by a pest it send a signal to other plants and they start producing compounds that will help them resist the disease or pest. The forest really is all one entity.
Thank you for your reply Robert.
In our white oak and hickory forest I have noticed the symbiosis that goes on between the trees. We had a short burst of borer moths that ended with them leaving for better pickings, it seemed that the moths didn't like our trees much, I am convinced that the trees found out about the threat and created something that made them less appetizing to the invaders. I am not sure but if it happens again I will be taking samples and running chemistry test to see what is going on in the sap.
We have around 25 different fungi that I've found so far and I have noticed that on some tree roots there will be up to seven different colonies, most times their spawn threads are intermingled or intertwined. I am very mycorrhizal fungi oriented and have even inoculated the straw bales we use for some of our vegetables. The results this year have been very good, our peppers are still putting off and the tomato plants gave us a bumper crop, feeding us and our hogs lots of very tasty fruits. I have finished inoculating the orchard trees now and they are all already showing signs of better health than prior to the inoculations. I am just starting to quantify the different fungi we have on our homestead, it is a new area for me so I am still doing more learning research than actual studies of the micro world we live on. I just recently convinced my wife that using the fungi specific to our land will give us better crops and healthy trees and crop plants. Until she pulled up the tomato plants and saw all the "little white threads" of mycorrhizal spawn attached to the roots, she had not believed me that we wanted all the different fungi growing with our food plants. The straw bales we used this year have been incorporated into the raised beds to inoculate the soil there.
I have been taught all my life that all living things communicate and that we should respect everyone and nurture all we can. I think that is why I went into science in my schooling, so I could better understand how the earth mother works and how best I could be a good steward to her.
I like to gain the knowledge first hand, through experimentation.
I firmly believe that if we observe that which is around us first, then experiment to find out what results from our inputs or exclusions, and finally form opinions from these, we will keep ourselves on the right track.
I am fortunate enough to have my own laboratory equipment and the land to observe.
I would love to read your book since it would give me more insight for what other steps might be made to further our nurturing of our land.
My wife and I are Native, so we have a little different perspective because of our spirituality and what we have been taught by the elders, shown by the spirits and seen with our hearts.
I have been a component of natural living most of my life, one day I may even finish my book about this journey.