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mycorrhizae are they present in undisturbed land

Posts: 7
Location: My garden SW Mich (zone 6a), my kids' - to whom I'm an advisor -Chicago (zone 5)
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Hello, Tao. I read your book about 6 months ago and thought it was terrific - authoritative, wise, and beautifully written. Some of what you described as methods employed by restoration ecologists might have sounded far-fetched and cherry-picked from a range of approaches to make your point. Except I’d just learned from friends who have acreage in SW Michigan, and who are involved with a habitat restoration organization there, that they were advised by that organization to spray quite a large area with Roundup to prepare it for native plantings. So it turns out to be a very mainstream notion, as you report.
They were surprised and I was flabbergasted at the idea of seriously damaging the soil food web in order to ‘save’ the land. They chose not to follow the recommendation.
I’d be glad for your opinion on purchasing mycorrhizal inoculants for planting ornamentals, berry bushes and fruit trees. Do they really add value, or if the planting is in an area that hasn’t been disturbed in several decades, should I assume there are plenty mycorrhizae already present?
Thanks and congratulations on a really wonderful book and on the work you’re doing.

Susan Stone
Posts: 6248
Location: Vilonia, Arkansas - Zone 7B/8A stoney, sandy loam soil pH 6.5
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I'm not Tao but....

Just because land has been fallow and untouched for decades does not automatically mean mycorrhizae are present, a small hole dug, or the presence of fungi fruits are the two methods of verification.

I have not found a single plant or tree that doesn't benefit from the presence of mycorrhizae at their root system.

Just because you can see some hyphae also doesn't meant what you see are beneficial, most likely they are but a lot of species have colorless hyphae including poisonous species.

Inoculation is always beneficial to soils, it may not be necessary but you really need a microscope for proper examination and determination of species, quantity and then there is coverage.

Coverage is the sq. ft. that show hyphae present and the quantity of hyphae present.
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