Mycorrhizal fungi enhances sustainability on golf courses

Seamus Rotherick
By Seamus Rotherick September 14, 2023 11:19

One proven way golf clubs can improve tree survival rates and reduce dependence on fertilisers and water is by using mycorrhizal fungi when planting. Polly Gearing, biological product manager at Origin Amenity Solutions (OAS), explains what this is and how it works.

Our golf courses already make a significant contribution to environmental conservation and sustainability but as concerns about these areas continue to grow, there is still more we can do.

One such promising practice is the use of mycorrhizal fungi in tree and hedgerow planting. This is an innovative technique that can lead to improved survival rates, accelerated growth and establishment, reduced reliance on fertilisers, improved water uptake and enhanced overall plant health.

This article delves into the benefits of incorporating mycorrhizal fungi, specifically through use of OAS Symbio MycoForce Transplanter and Whip Dip, on golf courses to foster a greener and more environmentally friendly approach to landscaping and provides an excellent opportunity to support the ecosystem.

What are mycorrhizal fungi?

The word mycorrhiza means ‘myco’ (fungi) and ‘rhiza’ (root). It refers to the symbiotic relationship between fungi and plant roots, aiding absorption of nutrients and helping them grow. The plant produces carbohydrates through photosynthesis and exchanges these in the form of sugars for water and nutrients sourced from the soil by the network of mycorrhizal hyphae.

This mutually beneficial relationship forms when mycorrhizae is introduced to tree planting practices. Mycorrhizae will grow through soil, expanding the root system of the plant by up to 100 times, enabling it to take up nutrients and water more efficiently.

Mycorrhizal fungi offer a host of benefits beyond improved survival and accelerated growth. The development of a robust root system through mycorrhizal association enables plants to withstand common environmental stressors, such as drought or poor soil conditions. This natural resilience decreases the need for chemical interventions, leading to a healthier and more biodiverse ecosystem on the golf course.

By integrating mycorrhizal fungi into the golf course landscape and actively encouraging the growth of trees and hedgerows, course managers are promoting sustainable plant growth and environmental stewardship. The creation of boundary definition and shelter belts will help to create wildlife corridors and encourage biodiversity through the enriching of habitats.

Cornus, tress on the left inoculated with mycorrhizae

Mycorrhizae and carbon capture

Mycorrhizae can have a positive impact on carbon capture and mitigating climate change. These fungi enhance plant growth and productivity, leading to increased carbon sequestration. By improving nutrient availability, mycorrhizae help plants to grow more vigorously, increasing their ability to capture and store carbon dioxide (CO2) from the atmosphere.

Mycorrhizae contribute to soil organic matter formation, which further aids in carbon capture. The hyphae can help stabilise soil aggregates, increasing the soil’s ability to retain organic matter and store carbon. Overall, mycorrhizae play a crucial role in plant nutrition, ecosystem sustainability and carbon capture. Consequently, promoting these symbiotic associations can have implications for mitigating climate change.

Protecting young trees

OAS Symbio Mycorrhizal products for trees

MycoForce Transplanter is a specialised mycorrhizal powder designed for use with rootballs. A simple to use, economical product which just needs to be applied to root balls before planting.

MycoForce Transplanter ensures the establishment of a beneficial fungal network around the roots. This strengthens the plant’s ability to absorb nutrients and water which in turn significantly improves the survival rates of newly planted trees. Moreover, this symbiotic relationship accelerates growth, allowing for faster establishment and fewer losses.

MycoForce Whip Dip for bare roots works by dipping the whip roots in the mycorrhizal paste, the young tree saplings receive a boost in nutrient uptake capabilities. As a result, the trees require less external input, such as fertilisers, to maintain their health. Furthermore, the enhanced nutrient and water uptake capacity of the plants through mycorrhizal association reduces overall water consumption which all help to make the golf course more sustainable and improve the surrounding environment.

Introducing mycorrhizal fungi through products like OAS Symbio MycoForce Transplanter and Whip Dip is a game-changer for golf courses striving to embrace sustainable practices. By harnessing the power of mycorrhizal associations, golf course managers can witness improved tree survival rates, faster growth and reduced dependence on fertilisers and water. Ultimately, these measures enhance the overall health and environmental impact of the golf course.

Bare root tree planting

For more information or to speak to a technical advisor, please call OAS on 0800 138 7222.


Seamus Rotherick
By Seamus Rotherick September 14, 2023 11:19
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1 Comment

  1. muhsin September 30, 06:36

    Golf is a strategic sport requiring skill, precision, and patience. Played outdoors, it offers relaxation, social interaction, and a mental challenge – and this is why I love it!

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