When growers hear the words ‘cannabis’ and fungi’ alarm bells inevitably start ringing! But not all fungi is bad and ongoing scientific research reveals much more about the beneficial impact of certain types on plant growth. For this reason growers are starting to realize the advantages of using Mycorrhizae and Trichoderma to boost cannabis yields.
While for most of us fungi is either an ingredient on a plate of food or a dreaded demon which brings devastation to our beloved plants – conditions such as botrytis and rust – scratch a little beneath the surface and their world is pretty incredible. For example did you know that fungi have more in common with lobsters than they do with plants?
The benefits of Mycorrhizae for Cannabis Plants
At Paradise Seeds we have spent much of our history doing battle with fungus as a cannabis pest to be countered - leading to us developing resistant strains such as Spoetnik #1 and Belladonna - but according to scientific estimates there are between 2.2 – 3.8 million different fungi species on the planet. With those kind of stats it stands to reason that there is beneficial fungi too!
A key component of fungi is mycelium, a mass of thin threads which form an underground network that can spread for many meters, and links different plants and trees together. Scientific research even suggests that fungi acts as a kind of internet for plant life, allowing plants to talk to each other, and even warning trees of potential dangers (such as pests and diseases).
At the same time mycorrhizae can supply plants with nourishment, in the form of carbohydrates, and also ferry nutrients such as phosphorus and nitrogen. So if Mycorrhizae are doing this in the natural kingdom there are obvious clues that it could be doing the same for cannabis plants in the domestic kingdom (aka grow room or outdoor grow space!).
Mycorrhizae will enhance your plants because they form a symbiotic relationship with the cannabis plant, their extending hyphae (think branches, or perhaps tentacles) actively serving as extensions of the root system. The result is a complex and extensive network that extends through the soil way beyond the reach of plant roots alone, estimated to be up to 200 times further. This has obvious benefits for cannabis plants, vastly improving their access to extra sustenance and nutrition.
The Benefits of Trichoderma for Cannabis Plants
Using Trichoderma to boost cannabis yield sees the introduction of another beneficial genus of fungi, which begins as a mold colony. Rather like beneficial bacteria for the human gut, this mold form is beneficial for a cannabis plant because it develops on the roots of the plants. Just the same as Mycorrhizae, this is a benign relationship, a symbiotic joining with the plant that promotes root growth and also protects the plant from other more malignant fungi species.
For these reasons, Trichoderma have the potential to improve the health and vitality of the grow environment for cannabis seeds to thrive. As the plants grow, the presence of this form of beneficial fungi also contributes to the plant’s overall health and even insures it against the threat of some plant diseases.
How to Promote Mycorrhizae and Trichoderma in Healthy Soil
Outdoor cannabis growers will often use ‘garden soil’, or at least a percentage of this in the mix. Mycorrhizae thrive in soil that is undisturbed (so that the extensive hyphae network remains intact). Therefore the best way to encourage beneficial fungi is to prepare the soil with a good covering of organic matter (compost) and avoid digging it in so that this nourishment sinks into the ground. To really optimize the potential, you can cultivate your own thriving ‘good’ fungal colony quite simply by preparing a recipe that includes manure, molasses, sand and coffee granules and rice and leave nature to do its thing as this short videoexplains.
For indoor cannabis growers, this option is perhaps a little more difficult (your partner probably would not appreciate a steaming pile of compost matter in the spare bedroom!), but there are several products available on the market that stimulate levels of Mycorrhizae and Trichoderma inthe soil and these should be applied before planting cannabis seeds.
And the cannabis yield boosting properties of Mycorrhizae are just a very small by-product of this amazing product of nature. One last fact to leave you with, Mycorrhizae could end up being the savior of the planet as the by-product Glomalin can capture carbon from the atmosphere and store it in soil!