Trichoderma, like other genera of beneficial fungi, are naturally present in most soils. Understanding the role and activity of these invaluable small organizations can enable you to harness their capabilities and reap enormous benefits. This article will teach you about the importance of trichoderma in organic cannabis crops and hopefully convince you of their usefulness.
What are trichodermas?
Trichoderma are the most common genus of fungi found in nature. Inhabiting the soils of which they contribute to fertilization, the 90 or so members of this genus present very valuable characteristics to organic cannabis growers wishing to stimulate the microbiota in their growing medium.
Usually available commercially in powder or liquid form, these beneficial fungi can easily be introduced into the root zone so that they develop a symbiotic relationship with the plant . They thus give the latter access to a number of nutrients from their environment that they are unable to reach or metabolize. This beneficial action is all the more interesting as it is not hampered by the action of pesticides that the plants might need. Indeed, some trichoderma are resistant to chemical pesticides, resistance nevertheless highly variable from one species to another.
Root development is fundamental to the growth of plants. The healthier and more extensive their roots, the larger the plants and the faster they will grow. Used from germination, trichoderma therefore allow the vigorous growth of the root mass, which activates the metabolism of plants to ensure their optimal development.
What do trichoderma eat?
Like other beneficial microorganisms, trichoderma thrive in carbon-rich substrates. But they also like nitrogen. In suitable soil, they develop easily and break down organic matter, allowing the release of carbon and ensuring the balance and supply of the food chain.
Ideal conditions for the development of trichoderma and their symbiosis with the root system can be achieved by soil amendment of carbon-rich organic material such as biochar or compost.
What are the differences between fungi and bacteria?
Beneficial bacteria and fungi both develop a symbiotic relationship with plants. Another similarity: they are both aerobic, that is to say they consume oxygen to produce energy through cellular respiration. But they are no less very different. In fact, in addition to their capacity to assimilate and deliver nutrients, bacteria fight pathogenic organisms, while, for their part, trichoderma and other beneficial fungi strengthen and stimulate the immunity of soils and plants .
Used simultaneously, bacteria and fungi therefore complement each other to ensure the good health of plants and their environment. However, these two types of organisms do not act at the same rate, the former being faster than the latter. It is therefore advisable to use bacteria instead in growing plants with a lifecycle of less than 8 months – as is the case with cannabis – and to turn to trichoderma or other fungi of this type for them. plants with a long life cycle. However, do not hesitate to use these mushrooms if you want to preserve the quality of your soil from one season to another.
Control of pathogenic fungi
Trichoderma are able to suppress the development of pathogenic fungi and prevent them from infesting soils and plants. Studies have shown that the presence of trichoderma is one of the most effective means of biological control of organic crops. Their effectiveness lies in their ability to saturate the space, thus preventing the proliferation of other fungi. As stated above, this protective action is all the more effective as trichoderma are very resistant fungi which will survive chemical pesticides whose use may prove to be necessary.
Trichoderma can be spread on the ground or used in liquid form sprayed on the foliage of plants . Some people add trichoderma to their home-made compost teas, trichodermas which they allow to multiply exponentially through the supply of oxygen.
Taking full advantage of the many beneficial properties of these mushrooms involves using them from the first few days of cannabis cultivation until harvest. Strengthening the immune system of plants will allow them to grow vigorously and effectively fight against pathogens that have managed to overcome the protective barrier formed by trichoderma.
Increased resistance to stress
The presence of trichoderma in the soil food web provides cannabis plants with increased capacities to resist environmental stresses such as droughts. Indeed, the trichoderma allowing the growth of the root mass, their use equips plants with a tool capable of retaining water while reducing transpiration , two elements particularly valuable in the event of a lack of rainfall or watering.
Five reasons to adopt trichoderma in cannabis crops
- In contact with trichoderma, plants develop a particularly strong and vigorous root system, both in depth, thickness and density. As the roots propagate through the soil in search of air pockets, the more extensive they are, the greater the amounts of oxygen and nutrients that plants have access to.
- The presence of a large amount of fungi on the roots greatly increases the capacity of plants to retain water. This property allows them to withstand more or less long periods of drought. It also increases the availability of nutrients.
- Healthy and powerful roots allow the production of dense and numerous flowers. Their roots assimilating more nutrients thanks to the trichodermas, the plants have, in fact, sufficient energy to produce beautiful and compact buds.
- The use of trichoderma also stimulates photosynthesis, which allows the production of phytohormones, natural growth hormones allowing plants to reach unexpected sizes.
- The use of fungi such as trichoderma allows the reduction of the intake of conventional nutrients. If the soil food web is well developed and carbon levels are sufficient, the symbiotic relationship between trichoderma and the roots of cannabis plants will provide organic nutrition to the latter, making external inputs superfluous.