Monday, March 17, 2014

Inoculating pawpaw trees with fungi

Inoculating your plants with fungi probably isn't on the top of most gardener's "to-do" lists - and it may smack of voodoo for some - but indulge me for a moment.

I've read about the microbiology of soil and heard plenty about how long it takes for some trees to establish without having the right microorganisms in the soil. Fungi have complex relationships with a variety of plants and allow them to reach further through the soil and reach nutrients that would normally be inaccessible to the plant alone.

I planted a few of Terri's native pawpaw trees last year - and I bought three more from her to plant this year.

When I was out with my wife today at a doctor's appointment (scientists are still baffled by my remarkable transhuman DNA patterning), there was a weedy lot next to the parking area.

There in front of us, I spotted a few small pawpaw trees. They didn't look all that happy, but I went further into the lot and found a larger group of very healthy specimens.

The thought hit me: I should grab some dirt from around the happy trees and take it home to inoculate my pawpaws.

So I did.

When I got home that evening, it was rapidly getting dark but I went ahead and "treated" my trees in the fading light.

Here's how I inoculated my pawpaws:

Step 1: I took dirt from around healthy trees

Step 2: I mixed some in a bucket of rainwater (not chlorinated water)

Step 3: I pulled back the mulch around my trees and poured it on

That's it.

Grow, little mycellium... grow!

There's really no way to tell if this fungi inoculation works, at least not without a proper control group, but I think it's a good practice.

I believe in the power of mycorrhizal fungi... do you?

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At March 17, 2014 at 8:12 PM , Blogger stevo_61 said...

I bought paw paw seeds last fall off ebay. Nothing coming up yet in central Fl. The guy I bought them from said they would not come up until spring. I may need to replant.

At March 20, 2014 at 11:54 AM , Blogger David The Good said...

They can take a really long time to come up... sometimes 6 months or more.

At April 10, 2014 at 1:28 AM , Anonymous rtdrury said...

You could grow a large culture of the fungi to put in the soil around your plants using this process:
The place of origin for the fungi should be the location of the wild plants, and if possible mix fungi from a number of different colonies, or at least one with most similar microclimate to your plants'.

At April 10, 2014 at 9:06 AM , Blogger David The Good said...

Very, very interesting. Thank you for the link.


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