Survival of inoculated Laccaria bicolor in competition with native ectomycorrhizal fungi and effects on the growth of outplanted Douglasfir seedlings
The survival, development and mycorrhizal efficiency of a selected strain of Laccaria bicolor along with naturally occurring ectomycorrhizal fungi in a young plantation of Douglas fir was examined. Symbionts were identified and their respective colonization abilities were determined. Eight species of symbiotic fungi, which may have originated in adjacent coniferous forests, were observed on the root systems. Mycorrhizal diversity differed between inoculated (5 taxa) and control (8 taxa) seedlings. Ectomycorrhizal fungi which occurred naturally in the nursery on control seedlings (Thelephora terrestris and Suillus sp.) did not survive after outplanting. Both inoculated and naturally occurring Laccaria species, as well as Cenococcum geophilum, survived on the old roots and colonized the newly formed roots, limiting the colonization by other naturally occurring fungi. Other fungi, such as Paxillus involutus, Scleroderma citrinum and Hebeloma sp. preferentially colonized the old roots near the seedling's collar. Russulaceae were found mainly in the middle section of the root system. Mycorrhizal colonization by Laccaria species on inoculated seedlings (54%) was significantly greater than on controls (13%) which were consequently dominated by the native fungi. Significant differences (up to 239%) were found in the growth of inoculated seedlings, especially in root and shoot weight, which developed mainly during the second year after outplanting. Seedling growth varied with the species of mycorrhizae and with the degree of root colonization. Competitiveness and effectiveness of the introduced strain on improving growth performances of seedlings are discussed.