Arbutus: Sourcing Arbutoid Mycorrhiza

Discussion in 'Ericaceae (rhododendrons, arbutus, etc.)' started by Eric Odle, Jan 28, 2016.

  1. Eric Odle

    Eric Odle Member

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    Blaine, WA
    Greetings Forum Members:

    I am preparing to obtain 50 young arbutus menziesii trees for planting in various places in Blaine, Washington. I have confirmed that the nursery will not be inoculating the trees with their specific mycorrhiza, so I am wondering if anyone knows where I can find a good source for the arbutoid mycorrhiza.

    In the previous 3 years I have planted about 15 of these trees all on my property in Blaine, and have provided these trees with the mycorrhiza by obtaining soil and surface material from established stands of arbutus trees. All of the wild transplants I initially planted have died, and only the cultivated arbutus trees sourced from various native plant nurseries survive. Fortunately they are doing well so I am guessing that I have been successful in establishing the correct mycorrhiza in their habitat.

    Enough material for 50 trees is a lot of soil to be taking from an arbutus forest, so hopefully I can find a direct source for the mycorrhiza and dispense with all the earth moving.

    Any suggestions would be most welcome!

    Eric Odle
  2. Daniel Mosquin

    Daniel Mosquin Paragon of Plants UBC Botanical Garden Forums Administrator Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
    We did a tour of the Cowichan Lake Forestry Research Station last year, and they had phenomenal success with propagating arbutus. I'm fairly certain they would share their methods if you gave them a call (I sadly was attending to the group we were with and didn't catch the full explanation). Talk to the greenhouse tech.
  3. bjo

    bjo Active Member 10 Years

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    algarve portugal

    we have quite a lot of Arbutus unedo on our land in southern Portugal - i guess around 150 or may be more. Establishment has been hit and miss particularly in drought years. With some we have used a general ectomycorrhizal mixture at planting out. I cannot say whether it has helped or not.

    You may find this paper interesting:
    Journal of Forestry Research (2013) 24(2):
    "Mycorrhizal synthesis between Pisolithus arhizus and adult clones of Arbutus unedo in vitro and in nursery"
    ( full article available online).

    In this article they are using Pisolithus to form a temporary mycorrhiza allowing the tree to establish, giving time for more diverse natural mycorhizal associations to develop.

    Pisolithus is widely used (in many countries) in commercial ectomycorrhizal mixtures. Also it is a very widely distributed with a very distinctive fruiting body often associated with Eucalyptus....perhaps you can find some and just add the dried spores to your soil mix.

    Today, by accident, I actually stood on a Pisolithus fruiting body.....initially I thought that I had stood in something else and was not at all pleased....(..look up one of the common names for this fungus in English!)

    boa sorte

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