How Fungi Can Make Your Cannabis Plants Prosper
When fungi and plant roots work together, mycorrhizae is formed. This formation increases the nutrient and water uptake for plants, protects them from disease and creates an optimum growing environment
Fungi are a fascinating life form, fundamental to all life on Earth. An interesting fact to many: Fungi are a totally independent kingdom of life, separate to that of animals and plants. However they are genetically closer to animals than plants. Fungi play a vital role in the ecosystem by decomposing and breaking down dead organisms and biological byproducts, liberating the nutrients from within these sources which are then utilised elsewhere in the web of life. Fungi form a symbiotic partnership with some plants and algae and are actually responsible for the very survival of numerous species. Fungi grow in threaded structures known as hyphae, which, due to their massive surface area, allow for maximum nutrient absorption.
THE CANNABIS CONNECTION
This function of fungi can be taken advantage of and used by growers to maximise the nutrient uptake of their plants. But how exactly does this relationship work? The key word here is "mycorrhizae".
Mycorrhizae is a symbiotic alliance constructed of both a fungus and the roots of a plant. This mutualistic association is found throughout nature and is a fundamental part of soil life. By forming this relationship, the fungi and plants in question receive impressive benefits from one another, especially important when attempting to maximise the quality and quantity of marijuana yields.
The fungi receives constant access to the sweet bounty of carbohydrate sugars such as glucose and sucrose which are synthesised within the plant's leaves, transported to the root system and across to its fungal sidekick. In exchange, the plant then reaps the benefit of the fungi's superior abilities of absorbing water and nutrients from the soil in which they reside. This is due to the far larger surface area of the hyphae which are much finer than plant roots, making them much more effective at mineral extraction.
The fungi present can also make it easier for plants to access key building blocks such as phosphorous and nitrogen whichare paramount to optimal plant health, yieldsize and quality.
The formation of mycorrhizae also extends past nutrient uptake. This phenomena can also protect your plants against numerous threats that many growers face. Mycorrhizae plants show increased resistance to pathogenic microbial diseases that occur within soil. They are also better equipped at combating drought conditions that may occur, and are better at handling salt stress. They are also more resistant to certain toxicities that may occur in soils such as those with high metal concentrations.
CULTIVATING THIS SPECIAL RELATIONSHIP
In order to introduce beneficial fungi to your weed plants, it is important to provide a food source that will attract them and make them feel at home. A wide range of carbohydrate sources can be added to your plant's soil in order to get a colony started that will catalyse mycorrhizae. Examples that are easy to locate and cheap to purchase include maple syrup and fruit juice. A recommended mixing ratio is 10ml of carbohydrate source with one gallon of water. It is then important to keep plants well oxygenated to prevent unwanted fungal growth from taking place. Another option to consider when applying the carbohydrate source is to add some rock phosphate into your soil to augment the mycorrhizae formation. This will provide a good source of phosphorous for the fungi to break down and then supply to the plant. A good start to a healthy relationship.
Another method of obtaining mycorrhizae for your beloved plants is to hike out into the forests and harvest some from the ground beneath your feet. Find an area of woodland away from any chemical or pollution exposure to minimize detrimental contamination. Clear a small area of vegetation and dig a few inches into the ground. Harvest the soil from the area you have chosen and repeat this process in different areas of the woodland for the sake of diversity. This mixture can then be combined with vermiculture, coir peat and compost in desirable ratios.
When planting, apply a layer of this mixture close to the surface, this will allow the virgin roots of the plant to pass through the fungus, become acquainted with its new ally and start to form the desired symbiotic mycorrhizae.
Those preferring a somewhat easy method can always simply purchase a mycorrhizae forming product. There are many choices available online and they will hardly put you on the line financially. They are a great tool to establish large secondary root systems, improve water and nutrient uptake and improve the overall vigor of your plants. Many products only require one application during the entire life-cycle of a plant.