Ectomyccohizal Root dip for seedlings.

dwheeler at dwheeler at
Tue Oct 13 22:30:23 EST 1998

In article <3624017E.4379 at>,
  dstaples at wrote:
> Just browzing through my latest Forestry Suppliers wish book and noted
> they sell a "ectomyccorhizal fungus combined with Terra-Sorb water
> absobent gel and yucca extract to improve seedling survival and growth
> after planting.
> Any experience out there using the stuff?  Dwheeler, do you know what
> fungus is being used and long run effects?
> --
> Don Staples

Sorry Don. I am unaware of many companies trying to sell any type of
ectomycorrhizal fungi. The typical species used to date include Lactarius
deliciosus, Thelophora terrestris, Pisolithus tinctorius, and a few others.
Pisolithus tinctorius probably forms ectomycorrhizae with the most species.
However, there is no magic bullet for ectomycorrhizae, as many trees have a
lot of mycorrhizal species that are found only with that species. For
example, Tuber gibbosum is ectomycorrhizal with Douglas fir; one Tuber sp.
nov. is found with Grand fir; still another Tuber sp. is found only with
Lodgepole pine (that I know of). But Douglas fir alone may form mycorrhizal
relationships with 2000 species of mycorrhizal fungi. Additionally, there
appears to be a succession of mycorrhizal fungi as individual trees mature.
Thus it is very difficult to measure the effectiveness of any mycorrhizal

Many of the mycorrhizal fungi I have grown are poisonous. Except for
inoculating with tree, they have little utilization. But put them with a tree
in symbiosis, and watch out! While average growth rates of seedling trees may
be measured in inches for Douglas fir, growth-rates for Douglas fir dipped in
these mycorrhizal fungi may grow several feet in a year.

If anyone's interested in getting some of these, the cost would be about $50
to inoculate an estimated 1 million seedling Douglas fir, Eastern Red oak,
Pinus sp., Oregon White oak, Rhododendrons, English walnut, hazelnut,
chestnut, spruce, alder, or pear trees. To list all of the tree species I
have found with these fungi would probably be self-defeating. Suffice it to
say that with a simple pack-back sprayer and a food-blender, it is possible
to inoculate quickly and effectively several million trees using a simple
slurry inoculant. And unless you drink the inoculant in quantity, it should
not harm you. (However, eating the fungus by itself is probably a good way to
find out how quickly your digestive system can get emptied. A 110-pound
pot-bellied pig recently died after eating an unknown quantity of these
truffle-like fungi. Pig and human physiology are similar.)

If you have some seedlings to set out, email me. I may have something that
will start these seedlings out with a bang. I recently provided inoculant for
a new 50-acre plantation using the same material. Out of 120,000 seedlings
planted, we *know* 2 died. There are probably others, but a cursory
examination of about 1.5 acres showed only 2 fatalities.

Daniel B. Wheeler

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