Blooming Nursery in Cornelius, Ore., is a wholesale grower of more than 2,200 varieties of perennials, flowering shrubs, herbs, groundcovers and ornamental grasses. They’ve been around for 38 years, and while they haven’t been using mycorrhizae since the very beginning, it’s been a staple in their production for quite some time.
Long enough that Tim Bland, Blooming Nursery’s head of propagation, was able to see the upgrade in the new MycoApply Injector Endo mycorrhizae product. Mycorrhizal Applications developed the product in response to customer feedback. Large growers and the distributors that serve them were looking for a highly concentrated product that could be applied as a drench via a horticulture injection dosing system.
The carrier was also upgraded from fine clay powder to a humic acid (which also offers a bio-stimulant effect). The previous product, MycoApply Ultrafine Endo worked in an injector, but required constant agitation and often left a clay residue in the injector tank.
Blooming Nursery applies the MycoApply in propagation because that’s where it’s most efficient. You don’t need to use as much product when you’re treating a smaller soil volume. Plus, the earlier in a plant’s life it is treated, the sooner it begins to see benefits.
“Once the fungi colonize the roots, they’re with that plant,” Bland says.
Every two weeks, the cycle begins again.
“What we’ve been doing in the past is mixing it into our soil and the flexibility that we’re allowed with the Injector Endo makes it a far superior product for our production,” Bland says. “We haven’t had to make any changes in our production line or anything to incorporate this into the mix.”
His group takes their cuttings, sticks them and “lets them do their thing.” Every two weeks new plants are propagated and hit with a drench that treats all plants at once before they head out into the cooler, drier houses. Bland likes this setup because it keeps everything consolidated. The whole process takes between 20 minutes to a half hour.
“The efficiency with which we can apply this mycorrhizae really makes it an attractive option for us,” Bland says. “A lot of nurseries are looking for ways to increase efficiency and quality at the same time. That’s what this Injector Endo allows us to do. It was a minimal, minimal change in our production and we’re super happy with it.”
Bland is also a fan of the humic acid carrier.
“All the previous injector fungi were in a clay-based carrier,” he says. “We haven’t seen any clogging or anything at all and we’ve been using mycorrhizae for a long time.”
Blooming Nursery started using the MycoApply Endo Injector in January, right at the beginning of their big spring push. The results are looking promising. The first big shift Bland saw was with Ceanothus. He noted the treatment led to a denser, stronger-looking plant with more roots on the bottom and thicker foliage on the top. The color was deeper and the plant grew in a more compact way. Another plant that had notable improvements was coreopsis, which had noticeable changes only five weeks after application.
Bland says it’s too early to give a true return on his investment — a lot of these plants are still in production. Blooming Nursery propagates but is also a finishing nursery. But he expects good things.
“I sure have that feeling,” he says. “Stay tuned, we’ll be looking at those numbers pretty closely. The implications lead me to believe we’ll see a reduction off the bat in the need for pinching and shaping.”
Using the Mycorrhizal Applications suggested grower price, the cost to treat a propagation tray with Injector Endo is a little over five cents per tray. That translates to a cost per plant in a 72 tray of $0.0007 per plant.