Rich soil on forest floor

If you see a photo of the rainforest, or really the forest floor of any climate, how would you describe the soil? More than likely, the word rich would come to mind.

The diversity of trees, plants, flowers and groundcover in a natural forest is not just something to be admired, but to be imitated. Beyond just the harmony of plants, animals and insects living together, there is life and activity in places you can’t even see.

Soil: Living and Life-Giving

One of the foundational components of a forest biome is the soil. It is rich and in fact alive with millions of organisms that are eating, breathing, connecting and forming win-win relationships. Soil sustains life within as well as up above.

One of the organisms that make the magic happen on the forest floor are beneficial fungi known as Mycorrhizae.

The word literally comes from the words for fungus (myco) and the rhizome area of a plant (rhiza). So when you hear the term Mycorrhizae — and we hope you’ll be hearing it more and more — that’s the simplest way to think about it. It is a beneficial fungus that colonizes around plant roots.

In return, the fungi feed on the sugars and waste excreted from the plant. And when this relationship comes alive, the benefits add up quickly!

Seven Reasons

  1. Mycorrhizae enhance nutrient recycling and water uptake. They make the plant’s root system better at what it already does.
  2. Mycorrhizae minimize the use and frequency of added fertilizers. You usually add these to provide something the plant or soil is missing. What you’ll find with Mycorrhizae is that when the root system’s ability to absorb nutrients is improved, you’ll have less need to supplement with chemicals. This is a cost savings and a pollution savings all in one.
  3. Mycorrhizae boost resistance to pests and disease. Strengthening the plant from within will make it well-suited in a “survival of the fittest” world.
  4. Mycorrhizae provide reduced vulnerability to environmental stressors like drought, metals and hardened soil. Again, the plant is stronger and able to withstand the ups and downs of its surroundings.
  5. Mycorrhizae improve soil structure. They don’t just benefit the plant above, they work in great unison with other microbes and other soil amendments. Many landscape soils will be inert or dead unless you deliberately bring life to them.
  6. Mycorrhizae support increased flower and fruit yield. This is what consumers and growers care about most: Mycorrhizae help make it pretty and make it produce!
  7. Mycorrhizae minimize transplant shock, accelerate plant establishment and improve survival at seeding or transplanting. This is a major commercial use for Mycorrhizae to combat costly and unsightly failure when a plant is introduced to a new location.

Follow the Forest

You can replicate the wisdom and design of the forest floor’s vibrant biome wherever you do your planting. Just introduce Mycorrhizae (and its bacterial friends) to the root zone and they will literally take on a life of their own.

Now that’s rich!