Arbuscular Mycorrhizal Fungi Inoculation Reduced the Growth of Pre-Rooted Olive Cuttings in a Greenhouse uri icon


  • The effect of commercial mycorrhizal fungi on pre-rooted olive cuttings was assessed. The study consisted of two experiments, the first arranged as a factorial design with three cultivars (Cobrançosa, Madural, and Verdeal Transmontana) and three soil treatments (commercial mycorrhizal fungi, zeolites, and control) and the second as a completely randomized design with three treatments (commercial mycorrhizal fungi, sterilized soil, and control). Cobrançosa grew better than the other cultivars, showing good rooting and initial growth features. Mycorrhizal plants showed reduced growth in comparison to those of the untreated control. This result was explained by competition for photosynthates between plant growth and the expansion of fungi hyphae. Cuttings of reduced leaf area and a twin-wall polycarbonate cover of the greenhouse, somewhat opaque to photosynthetic active radiation, may also have contributed to limit the maximum photosynthetic rate and delay the growth of the inoculated plants. Accordingly, in the mycorrhizal pots, the soil organic carbon (C) increased, probably due to the presence of fungi hyphae in soil samples. Zeolites reduced plant dry matter (DM) yield and tissue phosphorus (P) concentration compared to the control, while increasing the availability in the soil of the cations present in their initial composition. Soil sterilization seems to have reduced soil P bioavailability by inactivating soil enzymes. This study showed that the inoculation with mycorrhizal fungi of pre-rooted cuttings can delay their initial growth. Although these plants may be better prepared to grow in the field, in the short term, their lower development can be a problem for the nurseryman.

publication date

  • January 2021