maandag 27 november 2017

Keeping mushrooms in your bonsai pot

Mushrooms, they are the above ground fruiting bodies of various species of fungus. Fungi that form symbioses with trees (and other plants) are called 'mycorrhizae'. These types of fungi (mainly ecto-mycorrhizae for trees) help the tree by working together with the tree through the rootsystem.

How do I ensure a healthy environment for mycorrhizae (usefull fungi/mushrooms) in your substrate:
1. A sparse use of chemical fertilizers (not more than a handfull administrations a year, from june to august). I limit the dosage strictly to the prescriptions on the bottle.
2. Mixing in a small handfull of dried cow manure (grain pellets) in my potting substrate, to help bacteria colonise for the organic part in the substrate.
3. When repotting, keep a small part of the old mixture (even 5 or 10% is enough) on the roots (doesn't really matter where) and transplant as such in the new mixture.
4. Optional: if you start with a tree that was in a substrate which was not colonised with mycorrhizae before, you could search in nature for similar tree species and pluk a 'ripe' mushroom in autumn, crumble it and mix it in your substrate (spores). Or, just hope for natural colonisation with the other step (1-3) you allready took. Spores can travel for long distances, but don't count on colonisation if you really live far away from other trees or in mainly urban area.

Some very recent pictures: Common European Alders, Birch, Hazel, Hornbeam.

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