Q4. I want to ensure healthy soil and healthy plants by monitoring soil biology, particularly mycorrhizal (ecto & endo) fungi which from my current practices seem in short supply.

Answer: Different plant species have endo or ecto but very few have both. Some plant types do not have mycorrhizae at all. Look at my website for lists of plants having different types of mycorrhizae www.agpath.com.au. Cultivation or constant disturbance of the soil will deplete the fungal population through constant breaking up of the fungal hyphal mat in the soil and on organic matter. Adding salts such as super phosphate will badly affect fungi as will metals such as copper often used for disease management. Peer reviewed scientific literature can be found from around the world to support this effect. Have soil tests carried out at appropriate times of the year and modify management practices to minimise damage to the soil biota. Use good quality thermal aerobic compost and compost teas. Look to biological products in place of commercial chemicals. Minimise disturbance to the soil and keep organic levels up to encourage fungi. Permanent grass pasture is a good source of mycorrhizal fungi.

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