Good mushrooms?

Jay Wilson

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I'm guessing these mushrooms are the fruiting bodies of the mycorrhiza growing in my oak pots.

A few years ago I found some mycorrhiza in one of my oaks at repot and since then I've been adding some fresh mycorrhiza ridden soil to each new batch of soil as I'm repotting. All my oaks seem have a good amount of the stuff. This, however, is the first year that its produced mushrooms.

So, Are these good or bad things?
 

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They probably are, but just because there's mushrooms growing doesn't mean there's any kind of symbiosis going on. It's possible that the soil is full of mycel, but a tree that already has what it needs doesn't develop a symbiosis because it costs the tree nutrients to develop and sustain it.
 

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I was just reading in an international arborist trade magezine that adding mycorriza to all trees is not of benefit to all trees. As a matter of fact the article was about snake oil treatments in the Arborists trade.

As it turns out when mycorriza was found to be benefitial to pines there was a botanists who saw it might be benefitial to certain other trees. However finding which trees and at what time one should inuaculate was too difficult to determine because with most all dicudous the benefit was negligible at best and it's benefits were deemed inconclusive because of its inconsistancies.

Not that you should nessasarily blindly take my word for it but I've not ever seen mushroom bodies of mycorriza besides the normal white fuzzy stuff found under the soil surface during collecting or repotting of Pines.

I would suspect that the mushroom bodies youv'e found are feeding off your oaks rotting wood under the soil surface. Perhaps large dead roots that never regenerated new growth?
 

Jay Wilson

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Hmmmmm..
Interesting info.

I had researched mycorriza a couple of years ago but didn't really look farther than finding that pines grown in poor soil benefited from it. That and the raving about how boons soil mix and mycorriza were a wonderful thing for pines.

I guess I just assumed (there's that tricky word) that mycorriza was good for decidious trees as well.

I intend to look deeper into the subject. Though it may not be benificial to decidious trees... is it harmful?

Thanks for the input guys.
 
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Mycorrhiza IS beneficial to decidious trees, but I have serious doubts how important it for trees in pots regardless if they're conifers or decidious. But then again, I can't really say I know anything about it.
 

Graydon

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Hi Jay - I found some 'shrooms in one of my maples a week ago, assuming the same idea you posted. Good thing for sure and also a good move to add some of the old soil back to the new soil during repot. I do the same but try to make sure it is in contact with roots (the old mycorrhiza ridden soil). I believe it does not survive for a long time unless it can reestablish the symbiotic relationship rather quickly.

As far as doubting how beneficial it is in pots, I would assume it is just a beneficial in a pot as it is in the ground if not more so. Pot culture is rather restrictive (duh) and can be tough on a plant. I would assume it needs all the help it can get.

There is a section on mycorrhiza and azaleas in one of the books I have, can't remember if it was the Stone Lantern published one or the Floral Treasures of Japan one. The author took samplings of azalea roots to a lab to have them analyzed and the results indicated two separate mycorrhiza, one in the roots and one on the roots. Neither were visible to the naked eye.
 
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As far as doubting how beneficial it is in pots, I would assume it is just a beneficial in a pot as it is in the ground if not more so. Pot culture is rather restrictive (duh) and can be tough on a plant. I would assume it needs all the help it can get.

What mycorrhiza basically does is to help the tree colonize a larger area thus giving the tree water and nutrients (wich there should be enough of in a pot) in exchange for carbohydrates. If the tree gets enough nitrogen (wich it should in a pot) the symbiosis stops or doesn't develop. After all, why would the tree give up nutrients when it has enough to thrive? If the tree grows in ground with poor soil, then I can see the benefits. Of course there might be other benefits such as drought resiliance(sp) or resistance to fungal decease but all in all I'm slightly sceptical about products that claim to create the symbiosis. Besides, there are spores everywhere flying around and sooner or later there's gonna be mycelium in the pot.

The author took samplings of azalea roots to a lab to have them analyzed and the results indicated two separate mycorrhiza, one in the roots and one on the roots. Neither were visible to the naked eye.

There are two kinds of mycorrhiza, endo- and ectomycorrhiza, and only one of them can be seen by the naked eye.
 
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Graydon

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What mycorrhiza basically does is to help the tree colonize a larger area thus giving the tree water and nutrients (wich there should be enough of in a pot) in exchange for carbohydrates. If the tree gets enough nitrogen (wich it should in a pot) the symbiosis stops or doesn't develop. After all, why would the tree give up nutrients when it has enough to thrive? If the tree grows in ground with poor soil, then I can see the benefits. Of course there might be other benefits such as drought resiliance(sp) or resistance to fungal decease but all in all I'm slightly sceptical about products that claim to create the symbiosis. Besides, there are spores everywhere flying around and sooner or later there's gonna be mycelium in the pot.

Science research aside how you do explain fully colonized soil in bonsai culture? My trees have yet to produce a mass of the stuff but perhaps the conditions are not perfect or it simply needs more time. I have seen photos of many trees in various areas of the world that are slap full of it. Surely it can't be due to the lack of nitrogen in those particular trees? Perhaps it is as I am a little heavy handed with the nitrogen throughout the year.

I can vouch for one of the products. A friend and I potted up a nearly a couple hundred Japanese black pine 1-0 seedlings a year ago. Last weekend he slipped one out of a pot and the soil was full of mycorrhiza (appeared thread like and almost white). When we potted them we wet the existing roots and sprinkled on this product.
 
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Science research aside how you do explain fully colonized soil in bonsai culture?
I have seen photos of many trees in various areas of the world that are slap full of it. Surely it can't be due to the lack of nitrogen in those particular trees? Perhaps it is as I am a little heavy handed with the nitrogen throughout the year.

I'm not sure I understand what you mean. Colonized by what? If it's mycel or hyphae you're talking about it's not so hard to explain. The fact that the soil is colonized by the stuff doesn't mean there's an actual symbiosis going on.

I can vouch for one of the products. A friend and I potted up a nearly a couple hundred Japanese black pine 1-0 seedlings a year ago. Last weekend he slipped one out of a pot and the soil was full of mycorrhiza (appeared thread like and almost white). When we potted them we wet the existing roots and sprinkled on this product.

Like I said, the fact that the soil is colonized by the stuff doesn't mean there's an actual symbiosis going on. Did you examine the root tips?
 
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Graydon,

I really don't know enough about the whole thing so I can't really say that you're wrong. If the trees look healthy and all, that's all that matters. I hope I didn't come across as being agumentative.

Regards
Emil
 

Graydon

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Graydon,

I really don't know enough about the whole thing so I can't really say that you're wrong. If the trees look healthy and all, that's all that matters. I hope I didn't come across as being agumentative.

Regards
Emil

Emil - no harm done nor did I ever consider it to be so. I enjoy discussing things and have always appreciated your insight and input. However I'm not right or wrong, I'm clueless! I represented my beliefs or thoughts but I have absolutely no proof.

I'll look at the root tips next time I find a tree with some but I am afraid I have no idea what I am looking for. I agree that there could be colonization but no current activity. I would assume that to colonize there must have been activity at some point. Right? I have no idea... hopefully someone with actual experiences in this matter will chime in at some point. It would be interesting to know.
 
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Emil - no harm done nor did I ever consider it to be so. I enjoy discussing things and have always appreciated your insight and input. However I'm not right or wrong, I'm clueless! I represented my beliefs or thoughts but I have absolutely no proof.

I'll look at the root tips next time I find a tree with some but I am afraid I have no idea what I am looking for. I agree that there could be colonization but no current activity. I would assume that to colonize there must have been activity at some point. Right? I have no idea... hopefully someone with actual experiences in this matter will chime in at some point. It would be interesting to know.

Great, I didn't want to come across as if I actually knew anything :)

Anyway, as far as I know you can actually see if there mycorrhiza on a pine because the root will be very well ramified. I've had it pointed out on a Pine bonsai by a professor of plant physiology and it doesn't look like "ordinary ramification" obtained by pruning. It kinda looks like small forks or cat feet.

edit:This is what it looks like.
 
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JasonG

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I have mushrooms growing in a few of my RMJ's and Pines.... Mike Hagerdorn was over the other day and said that was "Excellent"! Mushrooms in the soil are a good sign for healthy roots and soil.

I wouldn't worry or remove them until you have to repot.

FWIF, Jason
 

rlist

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I have mushrooms growing in a few of my RMJ's and Pines.... Mike Hagerdorn was over the other day and said that was "Excellent"! Mushrooms in the soil are a good sign for healthy roots and soil.

I wouldn't worry or remove them until you have to repot.

FWIF, Jason


Ask ole Mike if it's ok if I have mushrooms growing out of the deadwood of a spruce, 18" above the soil line...
 
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Ask ole Mike if it's ok if I have mushrooms growing out of the deadwood of a spruce, 18" above the soil line...

Were it not for fungi,we would be up to our armpits with deadwood and un-rotted plant material; some of it's good, some bad. What you have on your spruce is a species that breaks down rotten wood. Not good for bonsai as we see it...lime sulphur would be my weapon of choice;)
 

rlist

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Were it not for fungi,we would be up to our armpits with deadwood and un-rotted plant material; some of it's good, some bad. What you have on your spruce is a species that breaks down rotten wood. Not good for bonsai as we see it...lime sulphur would be my weapon of choice;)

I agree, though I have found they make a nice addition to my breakfast burrito.. :eek:
 
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Did somebody say mushrooms?

http://www.artofbonsai.org/feature_articles/mushroom.php

http://www.knowledgeofbonsai.org/accent/mushroom.php





Will
 
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I'm guessing these mushrooms are the fruiting bodies of the mycorrhiza growing in my oak pots.

A few years ago I found some mycorrhiza in one of my oaks at repot and since then I've been adding some fresh mycorrhiza ridden soil to each new batch of soil as I'm repotting. All my oaks seem have a good amount of the stuff. This, however, is the first year that its produced mushrooms.

So, Are these good or bad things?

What you need to realize is that these mushrooms may or may not be the fruiting bodies of the beneficial mycorrhiza you have been adding to the soil. If you could post a clearer, close up of the shooms, I'll try and give you a ID.

Remember that there are millions of fungi spores everywhere, some may take in your pot, some may have come with the wood chips we use in soil, some may have come with the plant itself, not all are good, some bad ones can be a sign as they feed on dead and decaying/rotting wood.



Will
 

Jay Wilson

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Thanks folks for all the thoughts posted here.

I guess I won't worry about the mushrooms or mycorriza I'm finding in my pots. If they're benifical, it's a good thing. If they're feeding on deadwood, It doesn't bother me much either because I would think that the dead wood is being broken down into something that the tree can use as nutrients. I don't try to preserve deadwood as I think the best we can do is to slow down the decay process. The wood's going to decay no matter what, so I might as well get it over with.

Graydon
I haven't noticed any activity in my maples.... Maybe you could give me a starter?
 

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