Importance of Mycorrhizae in Forestry

dwheeler at dwheeler at
Thu Jan 1 14:51:09 EST 1998

In article <68a0bs$ouk at>,
  punoczka at wrote:
> dwheeler at wrote:
> (snip)
> >> Dr.s' Ogawa and Hosford have looked at methods of growing these
> >> mycorrhizal fungi by enhancing their  growth field conditions with
> >> some success but they are still limited to using the outdoor
> >> environment where the association with the trees can be maintained.
> >Hmmm. Wonder why that is?
> >> The association with 2nd to old growth trees is still critical and of
> >> course strongly deters any attempts to grow Matsutake indoors. The
> >> attempt would of course be humorous.
> >It's odd how very few old-growth forests are located under glass.
> (snip)
> You can mimic an old-growth forest under glass using some of the
> techniques of bonsai.
> You would start with a greenhouse with an earth floor into which you
> can plant trees on a close spacing.
> The soil composition of the floor should be suitable to the purpose.
> A sandy loam with a somewhat acid pH should be about right.
> Into this you could plant suitable species of oak.
> Selective intensive manual pruning of the growing tips can dwarf
> the oak trees and force the crown into a bushy form on a short trunk
> early in life.
> Oak trees are generally not vigorous growers so it should be fairly
> easy to shape them and keep them under control.
> In a few years the oaks will behave like old trees with short but
> spreading crowns on short thick trunks.
> The oak tree knows it is mature when it develops enough growing tips
> to resist the apical dominance of (and auxins produced by)
> the central leader.
> The best combination of size characteristics would be a crown not
> more than 6 feet high (so you can easily keep it pruned)
> with at least 3 feet of clear space between the ground and the bottom
> of each crown (so you can easily crawl in underneath the trees).
> (Of course if you are Japanese and of slighter build you might want
>  to go for just 5 feet of height and 2 feet of clear space under
>  the crowns.)
> You would want to mimic a Zone 7 to 8 climate in this greenhouse with
> limited heating in winter and adequate ventilation during the summer.
> The heat could be provided by hot-water (or just warm-water) pipes
> buried in the soil.
> Obviously this is practical only in an external Zone 4 to Zone 8
> climate.
> You would need an overhead sprinkler system to mimic periodic natural
> rainfall.
> You need to make sure the water is properly acidulated with phosphoric
> acid to counteract any natural alkalinity and lime in the water
> supply.
> You might also mulch the floor with a layer of wood chips.
> Periodic fertilizing with a light scattering of shredded leaves or
> grass  might also help.
> Obviously oak wood chips and shredded oak leaves would be best.
> You could also fertilize by adding a few ppm of fertilizer nitrogen
> into the sprinkler water.
> Once this system is sufficiently established you could innoculate it
> with samples of truffle-bearing soil from various oak woodland sites.
> If you have the money and time to indulge in such a project it would
> make an interesting experiment.
> If the greenhouse is big enough you could add other ground plants,
> small wildlife, and even water features such as small pools to create
> your very own walk-in terrarium.
> You could even move in and become the star exhibit:-
> the elusive, furtive, and rarely-seen truffler.
Regretfully it is difficult to hide this much biomass... <g>

Behold, the furtive truffler, who, disguised as a mild-mannered forester,
goes about his daily business pawing the ground, rooting around for
discriminating edibles...

Yep. Sounds like a pig all right! (HEY! I resemble that remark!)

Daniel B. Wheeler

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