A fungi way to protect plants

Mycorrhizae are fungi that grow in a symbiotic relationship with plant roots
Mycorrhizae gives roots a boost. (Photo: Kyle Ellefson, Unsplash)

To give its customers a leg up on new installations, Arbor Valley Nursery offers its customers a MYKE Pro Landscape® warranty.

“It’s a mycorrhizae product that is installed when the plants are planted,” Arbor Valley President Matt Edmundson explained. Mycorrhizae are fungi that grow in a symbiotic relationship with plant roots in some climates. Edmundson compared it to the natural beneficial bacteria that grows in our gut.

“It’s not naturally occurring in our soils here because we don’t have a natural temperate forest,” he said. Even if we did, when installing new landscaping, especially at new construction sites, the root systems where mycorrhizae grow are typically dug up and removed entirely, he said.

Arbor Valley customers who buy the warranty and follow the protocols are covered for two years if plants treated with mycorrhizae die. “No one else in Colorado offers that to landscapers,” Edmundson said.

Mycorrhizae can help during drought, too, Edmundson said, and Arbor Valley is working with the Colorado State University on research to quantify that impact. Research done in Canada has focused on grain, corn and wheat crops.

“We’re trying to get some university research done on the same kind of plants in the same kind of environment” that Colorado landscapers are working in, Edmundson said.

Arbor Valley is selective about who it extends the warranty program to, though. Edmundson said that the program was developed to target landscape architects and small installers. However, he found that a lot of contractors preferred to finish a project for a customer and move on rather than developing repeat customers.

“The big benefit in the two-year warranty is trying to get that customer satisfied and generate referral business,” he said. “There are a lot of contractors who don’t seem to want or value that.”

Now, when recommending the warranty, Arbor Valley focuses on contractors who are interested in developing referral business with their customers. “We want to partner with customers who want to make sure their customers are satisfied. That’s an opportunity [for them] to get great referral business, make sure they’re very happy as a customer, and also maybe an opportunity to upsell them on additional work later because they’re coming back to make sure they did a good job.”

[Related: Arbor Valley’s Inspired Innovation]

(Photo: Kyle Ellefson, Unsplash)

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