Back in May when we planted the vines we decided to dip the roots in a product called Rootgrow, which is a mycorrihzal fungi from a company called PlantWorks. Mycorrhizal fungi normally occurs naturally in soil. It breaks down organic matter releasing nutrients particularly phosphates and can significantly increase root capacity. Unfortunately herbicides and modern farming techniques have significantly reduced the naturally occuring fungi. The idea with Rootgrow is to give new plant roots a kick start.
Last Saturday we pruned the vines and measured the weight of the prunings of 100 vines that had been treated compared to 100 untreated vines for each variety. The results were as follows:
Untreated Treated % Increase
weight (kg) weight (kg)
Pinot Meunier 1.5 1.8 20.0%
Pinot Noir 2.5 2.4 -4.0%
Chardonnay 1.6 1.9 18.8%
Total 5.6 6.1 8.9%
It's early days and the test is obviously not very accurate. I have no idea why the Pinot Noir didn’t seem to show any real difference but overall a very positive indication that the friendly fungi are doing a good job! We will do the same test next year and also monitor the quantity of fruit produced in 2011.