Over millions of years, birch trees have evolved to thrive in a specific type of soil. When a birch 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 birches 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.
Mycorrhizae is 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.
Help your birch thrive
Birch trees have also evolved a relationship with mycorrhizal fungi. As they are planted in urban environments, however, the relationship is often broken and birches 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 birch tree, click here.