Mycorrhizal Fungi for Tree health???

Location
Portland
Hi,

I’m in Portland,OR where lots of Cedars are in decline. I’m seeking advice and experience from those who’ve had some success in facilitating tree resilience.
I have an impression that mushroom based soil amendments can accomplish this.
I’m particularly interested in using a product by Fungi Perfecti, Paul Stamets’ company called MycoGrow.

A specific question is about application; is soil injection more impactful then simply watering with compost tea of same product?

Peace through Trees
 

ATH

Been here a while
Location
Ohio
1) the university studies I have seen aren't finding live/viable fungi in the products they test. Obviously not every product is tested.
2) is the soil lacking the fungi?
3) are the species they are selling associated with the ecosystem your trees are in?
4) what changed about the soil to suspect that the Mycorrhizae that were there are gone now? And given those changes, are there other soil improvements that may either help more or should be done in addition to supplementation (aeration, biochar, fertilizer, etc...)?
5) is there another pathogens at play - bark beetles for example?

There is a place for Mycorrhizae enhancement, but it is not some magic pill that will cure all ills.
 

27RMT0N

Carpal tunnel level member
Location
WA

Western Redcedar​

The western redcedar mortality appears to be from cumulative drought stress. No consistent evidence has been found of any biotic agents such as insects or diseases, though cedar bark beetles may be present in some as opportunistic secondary agents taking advantage of dying or recently-dead trees. Our trees are highly stressed from repeated summers of record heat and drought. Western redcedar has low drought tolerance and so this species has been particularly hard-hit. We are thinking that many of these trees actually died at the end of last summer when we hit a new record for days without rain. However, this was followed by a very wet fall, winter, and spring, so the trees, though dead, stayed green for a time. Once things began to heat up in May, the dead trees then rapidly dried out and turned brown such that now we can finally see the damage from last summer. This is why all these dead trees appeared so suddenly.
 

Tom Dunlap

Here from the beginning
Administrator
There is a place for Mycorrhizae enhancement, but it is not some magic pill that will cure all ills.


Exactly!

Many years ago I attended a sales promotion put on by the owner of the company who was marketing the very first myco treatments. There were studies of reforested mine tailing sites and others with 'ruined' soil that sure responded well to myco treatments. Then the talk went to showing you myco are in the air and in the soil naturally. I politely asked why a person couldn't go out into a natural woods, scrape back the leave litter and shovel up some of the soil to use as a 'sourdough starter' instead of the myco in a box. I sure didn't mean to ask a 'gotcha' question. The response sure surprised me. In the end the only argument against my method was convenience and the slim chance that there might be verticillium out in the woods that could be transplanted.

After the sales pitch a few other arbos were chatting and we were less than impressed with any reason to use the boxed version. We also agreed that it seemed harmless to the environment though.
 

moss

Been here a while
As ATH alluded to, it is likely that there are specific fungi species or combinations of fungi species that correlate to the root zones of specific tree species. Then there is different underlying geology and resulting forest soil types which would favor specific fungi and tree species. Which leads me to think that attempting to introduce mycorrhizial fungi to benefit a tree is putting the cart before the horse. The best we can do is to try and create optimal soil conditions to support a particular tree species and the associated fungi species critical to the tree’s well-being. That could involve replicating the natural forest conditions that support a tree so well. A serious challenge to do for trees outside natural forest context, for example in yards, parks, urban environments etc. Especially when our “cultural norms” around human-built landscape favor turf and “cleaned up” outdoor spaces, the antithesis of what healthy forest soils and trees require.
-AJ
 
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evo

Been here a while
Location
My Island, WA
Mulch! I just gave the WA DNR a tour. It’s all mostly drought stress, and dropping/changing hydrology. Coupled with some bark beetle issues which may be worse due to climate change, the bugs are native but may be having more broods per year
 

evo

Been here a while
Location
My Island, WA
As ATH alluded to, it is likely that there are specific fungi species or combinations of fungi species that correlate to the root zones of specific tree species. Then there is different underlying geology and resulting forest soil types which would favor specific fungi and tree species. Which leads me to think that attempting to introduce mycorrhizial fungi to benefit a tree is putting the cart before the horse. The best we can do is to try and create optimal soil conditions to support a particular tree species and the associated fungi species critical to the tree’s well-being. That could involve replicating the natural forest conditions that support a tree so well. A serious challenge to do for trees outside natural forest context, for example in yards, parks, urban environments etc. Especially when our “cultural norms” around human-built landscape favor turf and “cleaned up” outdoor spaces, the antithesis of what healthy forest soils and trees require.
-AJ
Yeah cedar is pretty much it’s own thing..
 

eyehearttrees

New member
Location
Tampa-Area
1) the university studies I have seen aren't finding live/viable fungi in the products they test. Obviously not every product is tested.
Have always believed in "cultural attainment" of my myco (I have a bonsai nursery) via their substrate/soil, not artificial innoculants*, however this ^ statement of yours is beyond worrying it should be enough for the FTC to be levy'ing fines against anyone selling such things (just like there should be if a yogurt were sold on merits of probiotic-health, only to be found sterile)

(*I guess I do "innoculate", being that - when mixing fresh substrate - I'll toss in a handful of 'aged' substrate, where the bark-chips are all spider-webbed with myco, figuring that'll speed things up...but a good myco equillibrium isn't dependent upon inoculation it's dependent upon whether the fungi will survive&thrive in the conditions, adding external myco to address large-area issues is like adding iron-supplements to high-pH soil, it's going at secondary issues w/o addressing primaries)
 

KTSmith

Branched out member
Eyehearttrees, Sounds like inoculation to me! And that's what I recommend too!

In some misplaced sense of fairness, I'd like to respond on ATH and Tom D.'s comments, above. First, I agree completely.
Second, the early research on mycorrhizal innoculants was to rehabilitate totally devastated sites. I don't mean like natural habitat exposed to high pollutant loads, but an entirely unnatural habitat consisting of mine spoils, acidulated man-made lakes that had been breached or drained, etc.
The very true point on the specificity of many mycorrhizal relationships was understood and the precise reason that the federal research effort in the 1960s-1980s focused on a single mycorrhizal fungus with broad specificity, Pisolithus tinctorius. And that was championed by Forest Service scientist Don Marx who took Pt treatments around the world. In the initial target locations, there were no aged compost piles or fermentation soil layers from which to obtain local innoculum. Dr. Marx (with whom I had the pleasure to tangle early in my public career), upon his retirement from government service became an entrepeneur, stimulating interest in inoculation of locations much less dire. And of course with business, competitors/successors take the field. My own take is that the closer the soil is to the soil on the moon or mars, the greater value there would be in inoculation. Of course, inoculations of viable propagules is only beneficial if there are all the other elements needed to support the lives of roots and associated creatures.
 

evo

Been here a while
Location
My Island, WA
Love the direct and action oriented answer.
I should add that I’m recommending no pruning, and nothing done that increases the amount of sun light within the root zone. MULCH and companion planting. I’m favoring using native companions known to be associated with cedar, but that’s not a requirement. Many times it’s easier for people to wrap their heads around watering ground covers and shrubs than mature trees. Every drop counts even if it’s incidental, the companion plants cool the soil, shade, intercept dew/fog, and blah blah blah.. one job I just spec’d involved bioswales
 

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