does it make any sense to start conditioning a compacted soil, after say deep ripping, by inoculating some type of mycorrhizae?
The idea is to use the site for establishing a mixed orchard.
Up until now the land has been used to grow cereals: wheat/barley but with no chemical fertilizers, as far as I know.
The soild depth is good I think: I managed to hammer in a metal rod up to 98cm in some spots, showing that there is some depth but the soil is quite hard (silty clay).
Also how do I know which mycorrhizas are most appropriate for the trees that I'd want to grow there?
Is it always a good idea to inoculate tree roots with them? Any experiences to share?
hau Antonio, So you are preparing this area for planting fruit trees? Where on the planet are you located and what is the weather like there season by season? (I'm asking so I can give best fit information)
After you use a sub-soiler I would make a pass with good compost then water the area with a slurry of found mushrooms (chop them up in water in a blender then dilute so you can apply).
The best time to use mycorrhizae is at the time of planting. These fungi are meant to be either touching roots or actually growing inside the roots.
It is a fair waste of inoculant to just put it in the ground, without the right roots around, they will tend to die.
Products you want will have both Endo and Ecto mycorrhizae present in large quantities.
Endo means they grow inside the root cells, Ecto means they grow on the exterior of the root and the immediately surrounding substrate(soil particles touching the root).
I am located in north-east Spain, mediterranean climate: mild winters, hot summers, rainfall is usually ditributed among winter time, spring and fall, with droughty summers, although the area where the work has to be done has some summer precipitations as well, since there is a lot of forest cover all around. We are a bit inland below 400 m altitude, winter temperetaures can be harsher here than down the costal areas: so we can have frequent frosts during winter time but at day time it can be quite hot even in winter time.
I wonder if any mycorrhizas (not native strains I mean) can do the job.
You are suggesting to spread mushroom slurry right after spreading compost. Are you referring to mushrooms that I may find growing the adjacent fields or just any mushrooms (I say this because the best time for finding mushrooms in the area is by the end of summer and start of fall? What quantity of mushrooms are you suggesting for how much land? What is the use of this if there aren't very many plants already established? (there should be a cover crop soon though).
I was considering passing the subsoiler as soon as soil conditions allow and saw spring-summer covercrop to start colonizing the soil with roots, so that when the trees are planted in autumn there will be lots of roots already in the ground and mulch material after cutting the summer cover crop. Should I spread the compost right before hand sowing the cover crop?
I was also considering using rock dust to complement the soil conditioning.
Also you write "Products you want will have both Endo and Ecto mycorrhizae present in large quantities. " how large is large here? what kind of figures do I need to look for
And last but not least: can you reccomend some good literature on the topic.
For your area, I mean natural found mushrooms but initially you will want to apply that slurry then put down the compost, this will get the fungi down so they can create lots of hyphae.
As far as quality of mushrooms, any will do, you are looking for the spore not the fruit.
Mycorrhizae need to be in the 300-500 per microgram range to do the most good. Just about every one who sells these will have enough in their packages.
I recommend Elaine Ingham's book it will be a continual source of information and inspiration.
There are many good books such as Gaia's Garden out there.
If you can get to a book store, spend some time browsing through a few and choose the one(s) that cause a WOW moment, those will be the best for you.
It is possible to have to many books and most of us have fallen into that.
I think it is far better to adsorb one or two rather than do as I have done and have a huge library for reference, in my case I have read most of mine cover to cover but I have been doing this for decades (5 of them to be exact).
Just my personal though on size of your library, build slow so every volume is meaningful and well read.