Effects of substrate sterilization, fungicide treatment, and mycorrhization helper bacteria on ectomycorrhizal formation of pedunculate oak (Quercus robur) inoculated with Laccaria laccata in two peat bare-root nurseries
Pedunculate oak seedlings (Quercus robur) inoculated with the ectomycorrhizal fungus Laccaria lacata were grown for 1 year on fertilized sphagnum peat in two nurseries. Three factors affecting microbial populations in the substrate were studied, fungicide treatment of the seeds, peat disinfection before sowing (methyl bromide or steam pasteurization), and inoculation with mycorrhization helper bacteria. Treatment of acorns with Iprodione had no depressive effect on mycorrhiza formation. Both disinfection techniques were equivalent, stimulating or depressing mycorrhiza formation depending on the initial microflora in the peat. The introduction of two previously selected mycorrhization helper bacteria (one Pseudomonas fluorescens and one unidentified fluorescent pseudomonad), isolated from L. laccata sporocarps associated with Douglas fir—L. laccata ectomycorrhizas in other nurseries, significantly increased the mycorrhizal rate from 30 to 53% of the short roots. The implications of these results for the controlled mycorrhization of planting stocks and the specificity of mycorrhization helper bacteria are discussed.