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Avocado Root Health
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Avocado roots in rotten wood
Avocados have a fleshy root system with little or no root hairs and poor water uptake. Like all roots of this type, they have evolved to associate efficiently with mycorrhizal fungi.  The hyphae of the fungi forage far and wide to intercept and recycle minerals released from the decomposition of organic matter. They supply minerals which are not directly available to the tree in return for starches and sugars. The root system is shallow with a much branched feeder-root system that requires a well-aerated, well-drained soil for healthy root growth...
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Healthy roots in mulch

 



A Massey University study was recently published by P.J.Clark , P.G. Long & K.C. Harrington. The study indicates that mycorrhizal fungi play a big part in the health of avocado trees. Mycorrhizae form symbiotic associations with the trees roots, both growing inside them in a parasitic way and outside of them, increasing the surface area of the absorptive matrix of roots by actually becoming an extended part of the trees root system. They are also able to isolate certain nutrients and micronutrients more efficiently than the tree would be able to on its own. Although the fungus gets its’ sustenance from the tree, it repays any physiological debt many times over- leaving the tree healthier, more vibrant and able to deal with environmental adversities than it would be without the symbiotic association with the fungus. This scientific study clearly demonstrates what us country folk have known for years- the most humble forms of life are the most valuable and need consideration and encouragement just as much as economic crops. Injecting the trees with fungicide and herbicide applications is counter productive to culturing beneficial fungi and is part of a downward spiral of tree health
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Mower blight is a widespread diease
This type of culture is asking for trouble, avocado roots are sensitive and easily broken. This probably allows disease to enter the tree but more importantly prevents the tree from making new roots and the mycorrhizal associations on which the tree is dependant. Avocado trees can easily overgrow their root system and collapse suddenly, apparently from a disease. It is important for the tree to be able to make as much root or more than the tree has top to survive. Fortunately the complexities of nature are really quite simple. Setting up the soil of the orchard to be friendly to mycorrhizal fungi similar to a mature forest is possible in a few short years by mulching with wood. We use the logs and branches of fast growing plants that we have grown on the site for this purpose. Fast growing fast rotting pioneer species condition the soils deeper structure and provide plenty of mulch material. We cultivate these plants right where we need them to create soil improvment that lasts for decades.