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ARS Home » Pacific West Area » Corvallis, Oregon » Horticultural Crops Research Unit » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #155668

Title: FREQUENCY AND INTENSITY OF ROOT COLONIZATION BY ERICOID MYCORRHIZAL FUNGI IN NURSERY PRODUCTION OF BLUEBERRY PLANTS

Author
item Scagel, Carolyn
item WAGNER, ADAM
item WINIARSKI, PAUL

Submitted to: Small Fruit Reviews
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 2/26/2004
Publication Date: 9/1/2005
Citation: Scagel, C.F., Wagner, A., Winiarski, P. 2005. Frequency and intensity of root colonization by ericoid mycorrhizal fungi in nursery production of blueberry plants. Small Fruit Reviews. 4(4):95-112.

Interpretive Summary: Ericoid mycorrhizal fungi (EMF) form symbiotic relationships with roots of blueberry plants providing increased access to nutrients from fertilizers and soil. A survey of commercial nursery plants produced from tissue culture plants and cuttings was conducted to determine when or if EMF colonize blueberry plants under nursery cultural methods. Although there were cultivar-specific differences, in general, colonization frequency (the percentage of plants colonized) and intensity (the percentage of root length with EMF) increased during the first growing cycle for both plants produced from tissue culture or cuttings. For most cultivars, colonization frequency and intensity increased over the first winter, but decreased after transplanting into either containers or bareroot production beds. Colonization at all phases of production was generally low, however plants transplanted into bareroot production beds generally had higher colonization than plants transplanted into containers. Our results suggest that the colonization of plants in containers and bareroot fields may be limited by environmental and cultural factors and not just the presence or absence of the correct fungi. Natural EMF colonization of blueberry plants in nurseries may be limited by nursery cultural conditions, low availability of EMF propagules, and aspects of plant-fungus specificity.

Technical Abstract: Ericoid mycorrhizal fungi (EMF) form symbiotic relationships with roots of blueberry plants providing increased access to nutrients from fertilizers and soil. A survey of commercial nursery plants produced from tissue culture plants and cuttings was conducted to determine when or if EMF colonize blueberry plants under nursery cultural methods. Although there were cultivar-specific differences, in general, colonization frequency (the percentage of plants colonized) and intensity (the percentage of root length with EMF) increased during the first growing cycle for both plants produced from tissue culture or cuttings. For most cultivars, colonization frequency and intensity increased over the first winter, but decreased after transplanting into either containers or bareroot production beds. Colonization at all phases of production was generally low, however plants transplanted into bareroot production beds generally had higher colonization than plants transplanted into containers. Our results suggest that the colonization of plants in containers and bareroot fields may be limited by environmental and cultural factors and not just the presence or absence of the correct fungi. Natural EMF colonization of blueberry plants in nurseries may be limited by nursery cultural conditions, low availability of EMF propagules, and aspects of plant-fungus specificity.