Mycorrhized Oak Seedlings Collaboration between
the East Bay Muncicpal Utility District
and Bay Area Applied Mycology (2012)
In February of 2012 Bay Area Applied Mycology (BAAM) inaugurated our first project with EBMUD. The object was to add mycorrhizal fungi to Live Oak seedlings in the EBMUD nursery. Mycorrhizal fungi have a very important symbiotic relationship with all specie of plant life and young plants especially gain benefits from the establishment of fungi interlaced with their root system.
The Live Oak seedling were to be planted in various areas of the EBMUD watershed in April and little time was available to use the practice of growing seedling among known Mother trees (*), trees that have established mycorrhizal partners. This is the most preferred method but seedling grown thusly need between one to three years to acquire the fungal partners that are growing in that area. It was necessary that we use the more expedient method of gathering local mycorrhizals, stripping the spore bearing gills and stems, pureeing them together and pouring the resultant slurry directly onto the nursery seedling. A group of five people took part in a collecting foray on four occasions and brought back what mycorrhizals we found growing amidst Live Oak. The predominant species were Cantharellus californius and Clitocybe Nuda.
The actual planting of the seedling took place in various parts of the Orinda Watershed. For our part we joined together with a 6th grade science class from the Black Pine Circle School of Berkeley and combined the planting of ten of the seedlings with a mycological lecture: from life cycle to beneficial purposes.
(*) What else we learned. Although the Mother Tree idea is a good one, planting seedlings at a MT. location and transplanting them later, one can also opt to remove some soil from a Mother Tree site and plant your seedling directly into it. Bear in mind that this will work best when the seedling are of an age that they can produce enough sugars to support both themselves and their mycorrhizal partners.
One day’s collection of Cantharellus californius. Notice mycelium growning on stem butt
Live Oak seedlings in EBMUD nursery
The children broke up into teams and did the actual hand’s on planting and our team of volunteers went behind to tag and take GPS coordinates for future study.
Monica and Mino tagging tree and taking GPS Co-ordinate
Tagged Oak seedling
A job well done
*We are sorry that we are not allowed to include pictures of the children who helped us in this fine effort. Apparantly there are privacy issues.