Mycorrhizal Fungi still appear to be working well
When we planted the vines we dipped the roots in a product called Rootgrow, which is a mycorrhizal 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 occurring fungi. The idea with Rootgrow is to give new plant roots a kick start.
Last year we measured weight of the prunings from 100 vines that had been treated compared to 100 untreated vines for each variety which indicated that the product had resulted in nearly 10% additional growth. This year the results were similar overall but showed a significant variation between varieties:
Pinot Meunier 33% increase
Pinot Noir 11% decrease
Chardonnay 16% increase
The results for the Pinot Noir are probably misleading as most of the untreated block were very weak and therefore had to be pruned quite hard which artificially increased the weight of the prunings from the untreated vines.
Next years results should be more definitive. We will also try and measure the comparative quantity of fruit from the vines.