|Mycorrhizae form when mycorrhizal fungi infect newly forming non-woody roots as shown here.
Over millions of years, oak trees have evolved to thrive in a specific type of soil. When an oak is transplanted into a new environment, the soil is rarely ideal. The make-up of urban soil (moisture levels, mineral content and composition of organic elements) is often entirely different from the soil in which oaks grow naturally. As a homeowner, it is your job to create a more natural soil for your tree. The best way to do this is with the addition of mycorrhizal fungi.
The term 'mycorrhizae' describes a symbiotic relationship between beneficial fungi and plants. Mycorrhizal fungi live in and around the roots of most plants. In exchange for sugars and simple carbohydrates, the mycorrhizal fungi absorb and pass on minerals and moisture required for the plant's growth.
Over tens of millions of years plants have developed this symbiotic relationship with the fungus to help them survive conditions of drought, extreme temperatures and periods of low soil fertility. Mycorrhizal fungi colonize a plant's living root system, in effect extending it further into the soil - sometimes by up to 1000%! By taking in nutrients and water and passing it on the roots, these organisms are a vital link in a plant's nutrient cycle.
In nature, mycorrhizal fungi are found on about 99% of plant species, but in urban environments, the poor, compacted soils often lack this essential fungi.
Oak trees have also evolved a relationship with mycorrhizal fungi. As they are planted in urban environments, however, the relationship is often broken and oaks are left to fend for themselves in hostile conditions. As a homeowner, the best contribution you can make to your tree's health is to decrease tree stress with the addition of beneficial mycorrhizal fungi to the soil.
To obtain the right kind of mycorrhizal fungi for your oak tree, click here.