Though somewhat beneficial under a variety of conditions, this plant "upper" seems to work best when blended in with a synthetic, controlled-release fertilizer, the study found.
"That's good information for both home gardeners and commercial nurseries," Davies noted.
Good information, he explained, because the more fertilizer added to a landscape or greenhouse plants, the more money it costs. Commercial growers and home gardeners largely use synthetic fertilizers those made from chemicals as compared to organic fertilizers such as fish meal and manure.
"That's the practical side. Not having to apply as much fertilizer and being more successful in growing plants in the landscape makes a happy consumer," he said, "and a happy consumer is a repeat customer."
Carpio, who conducted the research for her doctoral degree, agreed on the value of doing studies that are beneficial for the public and industry.
"We were expecting an improvement but somehow thought the organic fertilizer would be better, and we didn't expect such a big difference," said Carpio, a Venezuelan native now is in charge of research for a potato company in Dalhart.. "I love to do work that has meaning, that industry can use and (can) give us a better understanding of how to grow crops better."
The journal article reports on the team's work on bush morning glory, a plant that Texas horticulturists are developing for ornamental use. They hope to breed a bush morning glory that has less seed production to reduce weediness and with improved flowering and more compact growth, according to Arnold.
"These are a bit away from release (to the public for landscapes), but there are some trials with this species at the Texas A&M gardens this summer," he said.
Carpio said for her graduate research, mycorrhizal fungi were tried on five other landscape plant species in addition to the bush
Contact: Kathleen Phillips
Texas A&M University - Agricultural Communications