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propagating/fascilitating native mycorrhiza in food forest

 
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Location: Zone 6a, Wahkiacus, WA
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Hi Peter,

Wondering about your thoughts on propagating native species of mycorrhiza for incorporation into food forests.

What is a simple way to inoculate soil with mycorrhiza's? (perhaps a native forest soil compost-tea?)

How useful is it to try to use natives as opposed to commercially bought inoculations? is it even worth trying?
 
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Location: Portlandish, Oregon
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I can think of 2 easy ways to propagate native forest fungi. I am sure there are other easy ways but this is what I can think of.

1. Transplant a couple small trees that sprouted in the forest. All the trees that grow there should have the correct relationships that you want.

2. Grab several handfuls of soil, put them in your garden, and cover it so it stays moist.

That being said, I would recommend not. A lot of people will disagree with me here, but here is why. Not all fungi is beneficial. You can establish selected strains of good fungi to crowd out the harmful fungi, and get food to boot.
 
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The simple method is to gather the mycorrhizae as developed fruits (mushrooms) chop these up and plant pieces with your crop plants.

There are many species that form beneficial bonds with plant roots, there are also many that will be detrimental to your cause, so you need to be able to identify the species you want and differentiate these from those you don't want to encourage.

Many of the ones you want are wood eaters so when you find rotting wood with spawn growing in it, crumble that material up and use it in your plantings.
That is the easiest way to get mycorrhizae into your soil where you want it.

Purchasing inoculant is a good way to know what you are using, it can also get you species that you don't have locally so you get more bio diversity going.
As far as if this is a better way, not particularly, local fungi will flourish as a known factor, non local may not do so.

Adverse fungi tend to be able to create biological that inhibit desired fungi from being able to grow, this is also the case in vise-versa.

On Asnikiye Heca we have focused on getting our local fungi to inhabit almost all of our land. Our crops flourish because of this.
 
Andrew Schreiber
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Bryant RedHawk wrote:The simple method is to gather the mycorrhizae as developed fruits (mushrooms) chop these up and plant pieces with your crop plants.

There are many species that form beneficial bonds with plant roots, there are also many that will be detrimental to your cause, so you need to be able to identify the species you want and differentiate these from those you don't want to encourage.
.



wondering if you know of resources to help differentiate mycorrhizza from looking at their mushrooms?
 
Shawn Harper
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Andrew Schreiber wrote:

wondering if you know of resources to help differentiate mycorrhizza from looking at their mushrooms?



Any mushroom field guide worth the money should work. Make sure it has growth habits, and always, always double-check.
 
Bryant RedHawk
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Andrew, this link should be of help. identifying mycorrhizal fungi
 
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Hi Andrew,
So there are two main types of mycorrhizal fungi (well, 7 really): arbuscular mycorrhizae (AM), which do not form mushrooms, and ectomycorrhzial fungi (ECM), which form mushrooms and truffles.

AM are generalists that associate with 90-95% of all plants in the world. There are around 169 species, though those in the genus Glomus are the easiest to cultivate. They have a huge ecological and economic importance and their relationship with plants is the most studied plant symbiosis, hands down. The Rodale institute worked with the USDA to develop this protocol for cultivating local mycorrhizal fungi (ideal) or amplifying commercial inoculum, such as this.

Most ECM fungi (esp. the gourmets like Chanterelles and Boletes, etc) form intimate relationships with other soil biota that are required for their fruiting. Thus sprinkling their spore mass along with some local compost tea is a good start. However, if you just want to inoculate trees with ECM (a standard silviculture practice) so that the trees establish, species in the genera Pisolithus, Rhizopogon, Laccaria, and Scleroderma are easy to cultivate. Species in Laccaria produce edible and medicinal mushrooms. The commerical product linked contains spores of these genera along with AM species.

Mycorrhizal fungi do decompose things, but their are not the heavy hitting wood decomposers. Thats a very different niche.

Mycorrhizal fungi do not grow in compost tea, though other soil fungi (such as yeasts and molds) may.
 
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Hi Andrew,
I did my own version of the first protocol that Peter referred to. You can see my comment from 2013 in the article. I am happy with the protocol that I used. I don't plan on doing it regularly, because I feel I introduced the mycorrhizal species to my yard, several of them probably took, and now they probably are maintaining themselves. The previous landowner mainly sprayed pesticides and synthetic fertilizers on the grass, so it definitely needed improvement.
Paul Stamets sells a product called Mycogrow that has many species and I was happy with it. It should be local enough to you and me.
John S
PDX OR
 
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