Effect of Commercial Arbuscular Mycorrhizal Fungi on Growth, Survivability, and Subsequent Landscape Performace of Selected Container Grown Nursery Crops.

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

This research evaluated the effects of commercially available arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF) on growth of selected ornamental plant species grown under a nursery-container production system. Subsequent plant survivability and growth in the landscape was also evaluated for two seasons. Acacia greggii, Chilopsis linearis, Diospyros virginiana, Platanus occidentalis, Ipomoea carnea and Plumbago auriculata were inoculated with commercial AMF: EndoNet, MycorisePro, or non-inoculated (NonAMF). Platanus occidentalis had a fourth mycorrhizal treatment, which included BioterraPLUS, EndoNet and MycorisePro enhanced growth of C. linearis, I. carnea and P. auriculata during nursery-container production. Growth enhancement of P. occidentalis was significant with BioterraPLUS, EndoNet and MycorisePro compared to NonAMF. During the container phase, greatest colonization (total arbuscules, vesicles/endospores, and intraradical hyphae) occurred with I. carnea and P. auriculata inoculated with EndoNet and MycorisePro. After the 1st growing season following planting, AMF inoculated P. occidentalis and C. linearis had greater growth and AMF inoculated P. auriculata had higher survival than NonAMF plants. However, by the end of the 2nd growing season there were no differences in survival or growth among AMF treatments. The similarity in plant growth during the 2nd season was due in part to a high and active indigenous AMF population in the landscape site that colonized the NonAMF plants after transplanting.

Index words: best management practices (BMP), colonization, fertility, inoculum, mycorrhiza.

Species used in this study: Acacia greggii Gray [cat claws]; Plumbago auriculata Lam. 'Hullabaloo' [blue plumbago]; Ipomoea carnea N. von Jacquin subsp. fistulosa (K. Von Martinus ex J. Choisy) D. Austin [bush morning glory]; Chilopsis linearis (Cav.) Sweet [desert willow]; (Diospyros virginiana L. [common persimmon]; Platanus occidentalis L. [sycamore].

J. Environ. Hort., Vol. 21(4), pp. 190-195, 2003.