What is mycorrhizae use in bonsai soil formation?

(Bruce Harris) #1

Myicorrhizae is a beneficial fungi that helps move nutrients from the soil to the roots. Youtube has several video’s describing how to develop the fungi using super soil, worm castings and oats in a dampened closed mix for about 90 days. The video does not discuss the use for bonsai’s, if any. They appear to infer that pot growers opt for in in their soil preparation.

Has any contact in your area developed “micro” using the above method or buying the fungi from a commercial source and if so when is it used, how is it used and on what species should it be used on?



Myco I have added has always been the commercial variety. I buy a blend of endo and ecto so I don’t have to figure anything out. Many myco inoculates are just marketed for flowering plants and only contain endo so be sure to get blend if you have conifers–conifers need ecto. I have also learned to transfer the white myco fungus that grows in the soil of my pines. I just take handfuls of the soil and transfer it around to other pines that don’t have it. In my experience pines have benefited the most from adding myco. Mushrooms seem to always show up when I add the stuff. Myconox - Bonsai Tree Mycorrhizal Inoculant is a safe way to go --just follow the directions.


Of course many have found through good horticulture myco shows up on its own and buying and adding it is not necessary and a waste of money–which may be true. Some organic fertilizers also have myco in them such as Bio or Plant Tone. I don’t buy the stuff often anymore–too many plants and too many expenses.

(Jonas Dupuich) #4

Thanks for the info @crust. I’ve certainly seen mycorrhiza in many of my pines but I haven’t consciously inoculated trees with it and have yet to experiment with commercially available mycorrhizae.

One thing I have learned is that I see more mycorrhiza when I use “drier” soil mixes - less akadama, larger particles - and keep trees on the dry side. I’ve also found that when there is a lot of mycorrhiza there are fewer roots, possibly because the mycorrhiza helps to support the trees, though possibly because the trees have been on the dry side.


I think its true in open porous soils I see more myco–sometimes it really inervates the soil to the point where it forms a matrix. I do get myco in my wetter,finer larch soil that has more organic soil though–especially when I fertilizer very little. It is different in that the fungus is finer and more thready. Myco is strange stuff.

(Christopher J Parker) #6

I have a Yamadori Spruce who’s roots are covered in myco. Is there a way to grow it to inoculate my other evergreens?

(Jonas Dupuich) #7

The approach I’m familiar with is to grab a chunk of soil with mycorrhiza in it during repotting and drop it into other containers. I too am curious if it can be developed on its own.

(Sely) #8

Yes, most mycorrhizae will form. It’s the one that are on the table that form rather slow if you have none to begin with. Putting the pot on the ground helps out. The one that lives in the ground will colonize your pot.

(Bruce Harris) #9

I followed the method in the Youtube session that lasted about eight minutes that gave me the idea to grow my own. It appears to be working. My tote showed signs of a white webbing on the soil, casting, oat mix after three days. I will leave it in the tote for three months and report back the results. The closed tote is resting in the closed closet of one of the two water heaters we have in our house as the source for this process suggests. I will review the results in 90 days and report back what I find.

(Christopher J Parker) #10

Had a great chat with a permaculture buddy growing trees in NYC. He reenforced that it is doable. He often does it in heaps in the bush due to scale.


(Bruce Harris) #11

I opened up the tote to see how the development of the myco was doing the other day. The soil and the material had reduced in volume by about 50 percent. The webbing was present and I assumed there was growth. I added a cup of oats and about a half a cup of worm castings. I resealed the tote and moved it outside where the daily temperatures have reached into the mid-nineties. I will keep the tote outside for another four or five months before checking the progress of my experiment with the hope that the end product will be of use in the spring when my pines will be do for spring re-potting.