Using Commercially Available Mycorrhizae Inoculant, Compost, or Mycorrhizae Inoculant and Compost when Transplanting Small Berry Bushes

2009 Annual Report for FNC08-745

Project Type: Farmer/Rancher
Funds awarded in 2008: $6,000.00
Projected End Date: 12/31/2011
Region: North Central
State: Nebraska
Project Coordinator:
Cathy Hanus
Katy's Garden

Using Commercially Available Mycorrhizae Inoculant, Compost, or Mycorrhizae Inoculant and Compost when Transplanting Small Berry Bushes


The field where I intend to plant the plants has been plowed and lays fallow. Early spring I intend to plant seed. I intend to plant the rooted cuttings with each experimental treatment early June. Prior to planting, the roots of the cuttings will be examined for mychorrizae. Future mycorrhizae checks will be one month, two months, and four months after planting.

I visited Dr. Drijber and her lab tech, Liz Jeske, at UNL with my daughter. They showed us how to stain and look for mycorrhizae under the microscope. I also visited with Dr. Papparozi at UNL regarding her recommendations for experimental design and how to properly root the cuttings.

At the 2009 National Small Farm Trade Show and Conference in Columbia, Missouri I purchased elderberry cuttings. On the way home I purchased vermiculite and perlite for rooting the cuttings. I obtained trays and 2 1/2 inch pots to root the cuttings. The elderberry cuttings were planted in the 2 1/2 inch pots with a 2 to 1 ratio of perlite to vermiculite. They were put into a dark corner of my basement, which is rather cold, until they started to show signs of leafing. As the plants started leafing, they were placed under a plant light. The leafing starts just before the rooting and a small number of cuttings show signs of rooting at this time.

I thought I was going to have aronia and seaberry cuttings by this time also. My source informed me that although he has seaberry, his five year old plants have not produced berries yet and he was not certain anymore which plants are female or male. I would obviously want both female and male plants so the plants can produce berries. We decided that it would be best to obtain just aronia cuttings from him. He recently told me because of the weather, the cuttings will be delayed. He expected to provide them to me in early March and figured from his experience that they would be ready to plant by June 1. We have had a great deal of snow with big drifts this winter and I do not doubt he will need to wait until a little more snow melts. As a result, the elderberry may actually be planted before the aronia.

I was hoping to also include blue honeysuckle to replace the seaberry. I found a source of cuttings from a place researching blue honeysuckle in Oregon. Unfortunately, my search was too late for this year because the cuttings need to be made in December.

I have most of my other needs arranged but have not bought them yet. I am looking forward to warmer weather and less snow to start the process.

Since my project was not accepted until this fall, I have very little in the way of results so far, however, I have learned a great deal about the process. I have learned how to find mycorrhizae through a relatively simple process. I learned about rooting cuttings of woody plants. I am also learning about differences between the different types of plants. For example, elderberry is very easy to root. I have learned that when you want to set up an irrigation system, you can get as many different opinions on how to properly do it as there are people. I am trying to use the knowledge I have gained thus far to make the best decisions possible. I am meeting many interesting people that have an interest in some of the same things I have an interest in and are very willing to help me.

As stated previously, I have made progress in rooting elderberry cuttings. I will continue the process. I intend to obtain Aronia cuttings soon. If something does not happen as expected then I will have to scramble for a new source. I understand that it is not unusual to start Aronia cuttings in March for June planting. I will start the Aronia in my basement as I did with the elderberry.

After the cuttings have rooted, the roots will be examined for mycorrhizae prior to planting. Future mycorrhizae checks will be one month, two months, and four months after planting. As soon as the soil can be worked, we will prepare a seed bed for planting of a living mulch between the rows of bushes. We will probably plant a mixture of chicory, timothy, maybe birdsfoot trefoil, and white Dutch clover. (This is another area that everyone has an opinion about and few people agree.) I will likely plant alfalfa in the unused parts of the field for any additional mulch needs around the plants. Unless I can find an organic source, I plan to purchase untreated seed from Stock Seed in Murdock, NE.

I intend to install plastic mulch and irrigation for the plants. Most of this must be done in a small window of time prior to planting in early June.

We will be busy at one month, two months and four months after planting harvesting roots and testing for mycorrhizae. This will likely be done at Midlands College in Fremont or University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

I attended the 2009 National Small Farm Trade Show and Conference in Columbia, MO in November and although I really did not start my project, I was able to share my plans at the conference. I have also shared my plans with a number of people across Nebraska and with others who are interested in learning more about mycorrhizae growth with small berries. My contact in Oregon who is doing research on Blue Honeysuckle is interested in my research with the Blue Honeysuckle and mycorrhizae. If I do research on the Blue Honeysuckle and mycorrhizae, I may need to extend my grant project by one more year.

As my project progresses, I plan to contact some of the local or regional farming/horticultural conferences and events and offer to share what I have learned. I already have a number of people who have an interest in soil chemistry or small berries who have assisted me and are interested in the results of my experiment. I have also talked with some other small producers who have expressed an interest in the project as it progresses.


Patricia Hanus

Box 1456
Fremont, NE 68026
Sebastian Hanus

Box 1456
Fremont, NE 68026