Speedster: I think you were on the right track using a tiller, I have developed tennis elbow, not from playing tennis, but from many years of hand digging with a shovel. My current MO is to use my mini Honda tiller to do my hole digging throwing in a few handfulls of 0-20-20 and several handfulls of lime as i go. The tiller does the digging and does a nice job of pulverizing my clay soil and mixing in amendments
I have to admit that I cheat a little bit. The guy that does all of my heavy work
cuts a 4-6 ft.wide circle with some Japanese blade that he has on his weed eater.
He then weed eats all of the grass down below the roots and I have an instant 4-6 ft
wide bare dirt circle in which to plant my tree. After I plant the tree, I keep it heavily
mulched in pine straw. I just turned 69 yesterday, and the hardest part about growing older is
accepting the fact that I can’t do the physical work that I could do, when I was 39. It isn’t
worth sacrificing my back. Besides, my yard guy charges less than my chiropractor.
Crazy-lazy me would weed whack the grass down to the dirt, loosen up the soil around the hole, plant the tree, place cardboard out a few feet around the hole and mulch it down heavily.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY, RAY
even if the wish is a day late
Happy Birthday Ray!!!
Well my post was not to prove or disprove anything. Time is money, I do happen to get paid to do research. In music though, not horticulture.
My post was to point to some options that are available. It is up speedster1 to determine if options are viable or not. All I was doing was pointing him to some areas he may want to look at.
I would be concerned with the root growth. I dug up a one year old tree and root mass was nearly tripled in 1 year. Amazing amount of growth. If I dug up a tree and observed no root growth I can only assume the tree is in trouble. Desperate measures for desperate times including fairy dust.
You provided a link to Dr. Linda Chalker-Scott, She provides no citation, no footnotes. It basically is an opinion and not backed by any research. She claims it is, yet provides no proof of her claims. Statements like:“research has found…” What research? Where? I think her articles are good and most likely true, just wish she would give some references.
As far as fungi, yes they are in the soil, well so is nitrogen, does that mean you should not fertilize? If you get the fungi there in a NY minute, it is helpful to the roots. It may take years for that much help to arrive in the form of local mycorrhizae on it’s own. Putting it there is a darn good idea, it’s just common sense to do so. I think it is worthwhile.
Drew, you make a fair point about the information Scott delivers in her interpretations not including footnotes to allow you to find the research her conclusions are based on, but they are, never the less, based on a reading of the literature by a scientist with no ax to grind and not based on promoting a product she is selling, beyond selling herself as a source of legitimate information.
Here is a link to actual research on the subject of the inability of phosphorus to stimulate root growth.
I could also find research on the inefficacy of adding mychorizal fungus to normal soils with a few more minutes effort. Fertilizer is not composed of living organisms that very rapidly reproduce themselves in most soil conditions so your analogy comparing mychorizal amendments to fertilizer is misleading, IMO.
I’m not trying to be king of the hill but I do want this forum to be a source of legitimate info. There is often contradicting research on any given issue but the idea of P stimulating root growth has been taught to be a myth in academic settings for at least 30 years. Nevertheless it is still endorsed by many landscape professionals.
When I was in school we were not only taught that the idea that P stimulates root while N stimulates top growth was mistaken but how that conclusion was drawn. It turns out that if plants have plenty of water and N they grow less root than if they only have plenty of water but inadequate N because plants will grow roots to find adequate N.
Researchers in the past had compared root growth of plants fertilized with N to those fertilzed with P and found more root growth on plants fertilized with P. It turns out they grow more roots even when you don’t add the P. In most moist, well drained soils N is the limiting factor to plant growth, but reasonably healthy plants often grow more root to find N.
We still have the question can anything be done to help root growth in this situation? Also to note
Chalker-Scott,pretty much states that mycorrhizae are certainly beneficial. With just about the whole horticultural community embracing this belief, including Chalker-Scott I would consider adding them.
Organic fertilizers now include beneficial bacteria and fungi, virtually every brand. Espoma now makes a Bio-tone just to add them, and also includes some in every product. I have heard Espoma representatives speak in various radio interviews about the benefits, and nobody is disagreeing. Again too all other organic fertilizer companies are including bacteria and fungi in their products.
The link to the CSU info on planting a tree is awesome btw. That is an excellent read and I suggest Speedster read it. Part of the problem why the roots are sparse on this tree may be related to improper planting. It seems with new trees you for sure do not want grass around them.
As to the subject title of this tread, this info from the CSU is useful
On newly planted trees, organic mulch can increase fine root development by 400% compared to grass competition.
I think that clearly answers the main topic of this tread.
That might be OK, note this info from CSU. If you do till it, don’t till it to death!
For backfill, soil “peds” (dirt clods) up to the size of a small fist
are acceptable. The soil does not need to be pulverized. In clayey
soils, pulverizing the soil will destroy all structure and may lead to
excessive re-compaction with minimal large pore space.
Where mychorizal supplements have shown benefit is with sterile soils, or for trees, in soils that have not been inhabited by other trees for a very, very long time (prairie soils). Mostly they are being endorsed for potting mixes, which makes sense.
As far as the radio interviews, only the host is there to disagree. The reps wouldn’t dare go to the hort section of a university to deliver their spiel if it includes the benefits of adding myco supplements to normal soil.
Chalker is not talking about supplements being beneficial. The mychorizal relationship is beneficial to trees and the fungus alike, of course, but they are almost always in the soil already. If you read the last part of Linda’s article you would have seen this.
Do mycorrhizal amendments work
Mycorrhizal amendments are heaviy marketed as products
that will improve soil health and plant establishment in gardens
and landscapes. These products can be effective for inoculation of
sterilized container media, but scientific studies on urban landscapes
and other “real world” systems report that these products
have no significant value. In general, plant species inoculated with
commercial products and installed into the landscape are equal
in performance to uninoculated controls (which quickly became
colonized with native fungi). While the addition of organic
matter has been found to stimulate growth of native mycorrhizal
populations, applying commercial mycorrhizal amendments is
generally ineffective and unnecessary, given the widespread presence
of indigenous inoculum.
One recent study tested several commercially available products
containing mycorrhizal fungi and various so-called “biostimulants”
(e.g. kelp, humic acids, and yucca plant extract) on the
establishment and survival of four commonly used ornamental
trees and shrubs. In the researchers’ words, “the treatments did
not lead to a significant improvement of plant growth of transplant
survival compared to the untreated plants receiving routine
mulching with pine bark mulch alone.”
From a practical standpoint, two realities emerge from all the
research done thus far:
• Healthy soils naturally contain indigenous mycorrhizae.
Adding packaged mycorrhizae to such soils is a waste of money
• If soils are impaired to the point where indigenous mycorrhizal
species can’t survive, mycorrhizal amendments alone won’t
Beneficial microbes are important components of garden
and landscape soils, and the best way to cultivate their presence is
through thoughtful, sustainable horticultural practices.
I do use them mostly for the soiless container mixes.
Again though she offers no proof of her opinions, so I have to take them with a grain of salt.
Every study i have seen shows benefit. So much so many nation wide trials are being conducted.
Soon more info will be available.
Drew, you haven’t seen any such studies- they don’t exist.
There, consider yourself challenged to prove your statement. Please prove me wrong. I honestly would love that.
Many studies were already in way back when I was in school. I was and am fascinated by mychorizal relationships and am always on the look out for more information. It’s a pretty simple thing to study- have a row of control plants isolated from a row of inoculated plants. Check a year later- measure growth. Follow up for a few years. Already been done with a wide range of species.
You can start with a few thousand here
Here is what he University of Alaska says. Supporting my position of adding spores to help eliminate the years needed for them to form naturally.
Natural spread of mycorrhizal fungi back into soil can take several years — too long to be beneficial to current gardens and plants
You can find that info here
I could do this all day…
So what Dr. Linda Chalker-Scott says is backed by nothing. She is totally wrong, so brings into question all of her articles. You have no way to check what she says is true. It comes down to one opinion only, which appears to be very wrong. Now all the info one needs I didn’t give either, but what and where it is published is. If you go to any university library you can access these studies for free.
Whose King of the Hill? Over 100 thousand studies, have fun!
OK, now this at last is interesting. Thank you.
I didn’t see any research with trees in the Alaska study, only peas, and they found a 10% increase in growth with inoculated peas coming out of a sterile environment. That’s the first I’ve seen of such studies so thank you.
I will sift through it and see if I can find anything related to tree growth later. Hopefully something more than about growing peas in Alaska- but even that delights me.
The University of Alaska article totally supports my position, if you read it. So you can believe Dr Linda, or The university of Alaska.
Natural spread of mycorrhizal fungi back into soil can take several years — too long to be benefi-cial to current gardens and plants, or even to those planned for the near future. AM fungal spores are large and heavy, so they must rely on the same forces that move soil, such as strong winds, water, gophers and worms, to migrate to a new location. ECM fungal spores, on the other hand, are extremely small and are readily transported on wind or water; however, the ECM fungal species are host species specific and might not travel to the appropriate locations right away.Since natural inoculation takes so long, home inoculation with mycorrhizal fungi is recommended. Inoculation of plants that already have a mycorrhizal relationship should have no negative effects on the plant, nor should adding inoculant of a fungi species that is not compatible with the plant species. Even if an inoculation is unsuccessful in establishing a mycorrhizal relationship, it shouldn’t harm the plant.
In my garden in raised beds all the soil is new. No way for me to determine what is there? Also no tomatoes or fruit trees were ever planted in my yard to assume the soil contains the right spores is a huge mistake. When you can get the spores for 6 bucks, it’s a no brainer! Where for 6 bucks? here
The product also includes beneficial organisms, and bacteria. Kelp, Humic Acid, Vitamins.
An excellent product!
This probably should have been broken out into its own thread, as we now have two different topics going.
That said, one of the advantages of online forums over other areas of information is the amount of empirical knowledge. We can all gather links and sources to point out hypothetical applications. And you can find a study to back up just about any point of view. It’s always better to trial things for yourself if a particular approach appears sound to you. I use products, fertilizers and such that have humic acids, added mycorrizae, some are also high in certain other elements, and my own trials bear some of these out to be excellent. So what good is a contrary study?
Yes, with tribal knowledge and theory you start out with things like the plaster paris peanut butter squirrel bait situation, but as people begin to trial things, the truth eventually surfaces.
Drew, Alaska has a climate of extreme cold so we need to look further than that. It is very likely the climate affects the micro-flora of the soil in a way negative to normal populations of mychorizal fungus. No one is saying the soil exists nowhere in the world where these products might be useful- right now I’m just assuming those soils to be rare.
I don’t even know why you posted the Harvard study because it is only another study of existing mychorizal relationships in forests as far as I can see.
Why are you treating this as a competition between us instead of a competition to find out the facts? I have searched for information to support your beliefs and come up empty but supplied you with at least one piece of real research that contradicts it. I will attempt to find out if anything has been discovered outside of Alaska about the benefits of inoculation. I hope you will do the same.
This was the closest thing to a summary of research I could find. The only experiments where mycos were involved in more vigorous growth was when fertilizer was also added. In every experiment where it was mycos alone there was no response.
I was surprised that the writer suggested the jury was still out instead of interpreting this as strongly suggestive that mycos in normal soils are of no benefit to trees- but maybe I’m prejudiced.
The general consensus in the academic community is that the products aren’t worth using from my reading of my last 30 minutes of searching- but as I suggested, maybe my desire to be RIGHT is making my reading of this stuff biased.
Actually, in my opinion, the most direct and reliable path to the truth is via scientific experimentation, even if any given piece of research is almost never conclusive and there will still likely be a certain amount of controversy.
The hobbyist gardening community is full of endorsements of products that are a waste of money and myths are very hard to kill when people are promoting products for their profit.
One thing I learned while reading scientific evaluations of these myco products is that nearly half of them, when analyzed by scientists, don’t even contain living spores. How much money would be wasted for gardeners to come into realization of this via individual anecdote?
Folks in the commercial agriculture community, in contrast, can’t compete if they are using costly but ineffective products. They rely strongly on the research of land grant colleges for real information even if it isn’t always absolutely definitive.
Mr. Clint, I’m really not sure what you are suggesting here. Is it that this forum would be more useful if we limited discussion to members exchanging anecdotal observations?