Benefits of Mycorrhizal Fungi in Gardens

You are busy checking the soil for proper nutrients and watering your plants to ensure they grow exceptionally. But are you aware that there is a symbiotic relationship that is happening in the hidden world of your garden soil? 

Garden Soil

Many years ago, higher green plants and the mycorrhizal fungi agreed to work together. Mycorrhizal fungi translate to fungus roots. Found naturally in the soil, it attaches itself to about 85 to 90 percent of plants all over the world.

grass with roots and soil

A thriving mycorrhizal fungus will become a secondary root system for your plant. Its ability to extend farther into the soil helps your garden plants by extracting mineral elements and water from the soil. On the other hand, your garden plants provide energy to the mycorrhizal fungi by releasing sugars and carbohydrates after photosynthesis. But why is it important to have this fungus in your garden?

1. Growth Improvement

No gardener wants to spend their time on plants that do not grow. Luckily, the mycorrhizal fungi acquire nutrients that are efficient in helping garden plants maintain their optimal growth. The fungi help the growth of both the roots and the green plant above the soil, ensuring that no compromise is made as the plant grows longer.

2. Reduces Nutritional Deficiencies

The Mycorrhizal fungi work by mining out the growing medium. The roots of the fungi efficiently extract and bring nutrients to your garden plants.

Plant Nutrients

This especially happens in regions where the roots of the plant are not present. Most of the nutrients that are transported by the fungi include phosphorus, manganese, copper, and zinc. By providing these nutrients the fungi prevent your garden plants from experiencing any nutrient deficiencies and their symptoms from becoming visible.

3. Wilting is Delayed

The mycorrhizal fungi can penetrate the depths of the soil where other plant roots cannot reach. Thus, they acquire water from the growing regions that your plants cannot access. More water means that your plants will not experience water stress and any possible wilting will be delayed.

4. Reduces Fertilizer Use

The process of mining out the growing medium that the fungi are involved in is usually for fertilizer elements. Thus, if your soil has thriving mycorrhizal fungi you can reduce the amount of fertilizer that you apply in your garden.

5. Reduces Attacks on Root Disease

By reducing wilting, the effects of stress that occur on plant roots will be delayed. Thus, any thriving mycorrhizal fungi will make the roots of your plant less liable to attacks by root rot pathogens. This is because the presence of the fungi on plant roots competes with these pathogens by consuming root exudates like carbohydrates. Besides, the fungi thicken the cell walls of the root making it difficult for any pathogen to penetrate. 

6. Increased Resistance to Toxicity from Salt

If you live in a region that has high amounts of salt, you can still nurture your garden to fruition. The mycorrhizal fungi will protect your plants from toxicities that arise from micronutrients and excessive salt presence.

7. Increased Resistance to Transplant Shock

Gardener hands transplanting tomato seedling

Unlike your garden plant, the roots of the fungi establish quickly whenever they are in new soil environments. Therefore, your plants will have an easier time with transplant shock in the presence of the fungi. The ease of extraction of water and nutrients helps the fungi to provide the plant with buffer abilities until the plant has adjusted to the new soil environment

8. Increased Plant Production

Ripe organic tomatoes in garden ready to harvest

By now it is obvious that the mycorrhizal fungi help garden plants to grow at optimum rates. With the reduced effects of stress, the plant edibles gain more resources and the increased ability to produce larger and more fruits and vegetables. 

Your garden will have larger plants with the presence of thriving mycorrhizal fungi even if you are in an area that has low fertility and poor quality soil. 


Even with all the mycorrhizal fungi excitement, you must remember that many plants in your garden naturally possess the fungi. However, you can still add the fungi to your soil especially if you are transplanting your plants or if your garden has sterile soil. 

Also, remember that not all plants enjoy the mycorrhizal fungi benefits. For instance, some leafy greens and beets do not fare well with mycorrhizal fungi. On the other hand, shrubs, rose bushes, trees, and crops such as corn, pumpkins and tomatoes thrive in mycorrhizal fungi environments. 

Lastly, avoid killing your mycorrhizal fungi. There is a high possibility that your garden already possesses the fungi. Over-tilling, using excess fertilizer, overwatering, and pest barriers can significantly reduce the mycorrhizal fungi content in your garden soil.

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