Effect of Commercial Mycorrhiza on Growth, Survivability, and Subsequent Landscape Performance of Selected Container Grown Ornamental Nursery Crops.

by Lucila Amaya Carpio, Fred T. Davies, Jr. and Michael A. Arnold

This study investigated the effects of commercially available arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF) on growth of selected ornamental plant species under a nursery-container production system. Subsequent plant survivability and growth in the landscape was also evaluated for two seasons. Acacia greggii, Chilopsis linearis (Cav.) Sweet, Diospyros virginiana L., Plantanus occidentalis L., Ipomoea carnea N. von Jacquin subsp. fistulosa (K. Von Martinus ex J. Choisy) D. Austin and Plumbago auriculata Lam. 'Hullabaloo' were inoculated with commercial AMF: EndoNet, MycorisePro, or non-inoculated (NonAMF). Platanus occidentalis had a forth mycorrhizal treatment, which included BioterraPLUS.

Increased environmental concerns throughout society have resulted in state and governmental regulations which affect water and land use. These regulations are impacting the nursery and greenhouse industries (4). Hence, nursery and greenhouse firms are adopting best management practices (BMP) that minimize nonpoint (diffuse) source pollution by preventing discharge of pesticides and fertilizers into water tributaries (3).

Beneficial microorganisms include arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF) which are able to colonize and establish symbiotic (mutually beneficial) associations with roots of most nursery crops (1). Ornamental plants colonized by AMF have better growth responses, improved water relations, greater tolerance to environmental stresses, and better transplant survivability when compared to similar noncolonized (NonAMF) nursery crops (5, 6).

The objectives of this research were to evaluate the effectiveness of different commercial AMF on growth and development of selected container grown ornametnal crops at reduced fertilizer levels, and to evaluate the effectiveness of commercial AMF in reducing transplant shock, increasing survivability, and enhancing plant growth in the landscape.

SNA Research Conference 48: 45-48. 2003