SustainAbility Newsletter

What is Mycorrhizal Fungi?

By: Michael Chaplinski |Turf Feeding Systems

This is one of the best kept secrets in the landscape business…

FungiThe word “mycorrhiza” (plural: mycorrhizae or mycorrhizas) comes from the Greek language and literally means “fungus roots.” You may not know it, but mycorrhizal fungi are crucial parts of the health of 95% of the plants growing throughout the world. In fact, they’ve been helping plants grow for millions of years!

Mycorrhizal fungi are tiny, harmless critters that attach themselves to plant roots and actually help plants to make use of water and organic nutrients in the soil. They live on the roots of roughly 95% of all earth’s plant species. In exchange for what they provide the plant, the plant offers the fungi a meal of sugars (fixed carbon) produced by the photosynthesis process.

Benefits of Mycorrhizal Fungi
Mycorrhizal fungi populate the area around a plant’s roots and form very thin filaments, adding to the length and efficiency of a plant’s roots. This is like having a second set of roots for the plants. Thus, plants, trees, and shrubs with a well established mycorrhizal fungal root system are better able to survive droughts and transplant shock. They also absorb more nutrients from the soil.

Plants with mycorrhizal fungi can survive better in their non-native environments, or that is to say, environments that don’t necessarily reflect the ideal environments for their survival, such as urban areas and home gardens. Mycorrhizal fungi also boost a plant’s immune system, making them resistant to soil-borne pathogens. In addition, they help to keep parasitic nematodes away.

Mycorrhizal Fungi and Your Landscape
Research shows that the lack of mycorrhizal fungi can create problems with trees, shrubs and plants when they are growing in our gardens. Unfortunately, our day to day landscaping tasks can negatively affect these delicate mycorrhizal fungi.  For example, the use of chemical fertilizers, tilling, and hoeing can disrupt or even destroy the mycorrhizal fungi found in your soil. Additionally, many of the plants we purchase and grow in the garden lack the necessary mycorrhizal fungi growing on their roots when we plant them. Furthermore, our landscape soils may lack enough mycorrhizal fungi to truly benefit our plants.

However, the good news is that you can stimulate the growth of mycorrhizal fungi and get them to work more efficiently with a Mycorrhizal Fungi Root Builder. By using this product, you can restore or create the necessary presence of mycorrhizal fungi in your garden. It will work great on all the plants in your garden, including turf grass.

You can use a Mycorrhizal Fungi Root Builder directly on your new transplants or you can apply it deeply into the soil using a core drill or auger. Once you apply it, you’ll notice that plants will grow greener, healthier, and will make better use of water and nutrients. This means that your plants are utilizing water and nutrients more efficiently. With time, the roots will grow and perform better as the Mycorrhizal fungi continue to establish themselves on the roots.





References and Sources used in this issue of SustainAbility Newsletter Include:

Audubon Lifestyles 
The International Sustainability Council 

Sustainability Campaign


American Society of Golf Course Architects

The United States Golf Association (USGA)

Sustainable Golf & Development

Turf Feeding Systems

National Geographic


SustainAbility Newsletter Archive Article (random)

Member Highlight: The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Housing Partnership


The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Housing Partnership, Inc. (CMHP) is an ISC member and is a broad-based, private, nonprofit housing development and financial corporation organized to expand affordable and well-maintained housing within stable neighborhoods for low and moderate-income families in the City of Charlotte and Mecklenburg County with a continuing interest in the ability of occupants to more fully enter the economic mainstream.

The CMHP vision is to significantly expand the ability of the organization to create affordable housing and remain a community development force committed to continued collaboration with the private sector, along with neighborhood and government partners in promoting and developing economically integrated neighborhoods.

The CMHP was incorporated as a 501(c)(3) corporation in 1988 in response to the research and recommendation of a local citizens' forum. This group believed that there was a gap of housing affordability between families served by the public housing authority and those served by the market. After studying other housing partnerships and reviewing research funded by City of Charlotte, an Implementation Committee was established to develop local housing partnerships. The group's main focus was the relationship between private business (banking institutions) and government (the City and the County).

The ISC and Audubon Lifestyles are proud to have the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Housing Partnership as a program member and support.

To learn more about The CMHP visit:




References and Sources used in this issue of SustainAbility Newsletter Include:

Audubon Lifestyles
The International Sustainability Council 

General Motors


Fisker Automotive


Charlotte-Mecklenburg Housing Partnership

Chesapeake Bay Foundation 

University of Alaska Fairbanks 

Taylor Properties Group  

Urbana University 

The Golf Course Superintendents Association of America (GCSAA) 

American Society of Golf Course Architects

The United States Golf Association (USGA)

$25 Annually $100 Annually $250 Reg / $100 Annually


Sponsors are a critically important part to the success of ISC-Audubon. As a non-profit organization dedicated to advocating sustainability, we offer all of our programs to our members free of charge, and are publicly available for download on our website.

ISC-Audubon is proud to extend the opportunity to select businesses and organizations to become sponsors of our sustainability education and advocacy programs. As a sponsor, your business or organization can realize significant value.

Click here to learn more about this opportunity. 


A Coalition for Good - Spreading the Seeds of Sustainability

ISC-Audubon is a coalition of non-profit organizations and initiatives that include The International Sustainability Council (ISC), Audubon Lifestyles, Audubon Outdoors, Planit Green, Broadcast Audubon, and the Audubon Network for Sustainability. 

Funds generated through memberships and donations are used to provide fruit & vegetable seeds, wildflower seed mix, and wildlife feed & birdseed to urban and suburban communities around the world. These seeds are used by communities to establish fruit and vegetable gardens, bird and wildlife sanctuaries, and for the beautification of urban and suburban landscapes by creating flower and native plant gardens.

Read more