Project: ECO-FRIENDLY REVITALIZATION OF URBAN, FORESTRY AND FRUITCULTURE TREES._x000D_ Motto of the project: Trees are our growing interest

The trees in urban greenery, parks, avenues are of a very high value due to their age, aesthetics and ecological functions. Also trees in commercial plantations such as fruit plantations, cork oak plantations have high value but their growth and production capacity is closely related to soil quality and environmental conditions. Due to the deterioration of soil quality in municipalities (reduced availability of water, salinization, compaction, erosion and pollution) trees suffer and their health and vigour decline. The EU Commission identified soil loss and declining soil fertility as a CO thread to sustainability of growth and production. As indicated in the Communication „Towards a Thematic Strategy for Soil Protection“ (COM-2002-179), a comprehensive EU Community approach to soil protection is currently lacking. Inferior quality of soils in intensive agriculture overusing agrochemicals, heavily exposed urban planting or intensive forestry and have significant negative effects on survival, growth, health and yield of planted trees. Once trees are established and they start to deteriorate, very few actions and efforts are usually performed to facilitate tree growth, and it is often too late to save them as their dieback becomes inevitable. As a prevention of these invaluable losses, it is essential to support regularly tree’s nutrition, to regenerate beneficial microbe life and ascertain good water retention in the root zone. Mycorrhizal fungi (MF) are naturally beneficial plants’ associates which enhance plant resistance to environmental stresses like drought, nutrient deficiency, root pathogens, heavy metals or high salinity pollution of soil. Furthermore mycorrhiza increases carbon sequestration in the soil helping to alleviate negative impact of global climate changes. The MF usually occur in healthy terrestrial ecosystems, however they are at low abundance or even lacking in many cultivation substrates commonly used in forestry and fruit culture. The CO reason to use the MF is to enhance sustainability of plantations, reduce the application of pesticides and fertilizers and decrease demand of water for irrigation. Plants inoculated with mycorrhizal fungi exhibit better survival after transplantation, more vigorous growth and better health. It has became a good practice in forestry and fruit culture to implement beneficial microbes in planting schemes as an alternative and/ or complementary aid to fertilizer input. In the last years, a growing number of small companies started to produce and apply the MF inocula to exploit this unique natural biotechnology. Due to the increment of fertilizers’ prices and EU regulations to reduce input of agrochemicals (REACH), especially pesticides but also fertilizers in agriculture, to prevent pollution and improve citizens’ quality of life, the use of these products has became a necessity for producers. In the case of plants’ production, the mycorrhizal fungi are usually inoculated at tree propagation stage or at planting. It is, however, very difficult to perform these actions on mature growing trees. Therefore the aim of this project, which is a new technology for pressure injection of solid plant-growth improving products containing mycorrhizal fungi and others nutrients belowground into tree root zone, will help to develop an eco-compatible and sustainable tree care. The first successful preliminary tests, conducted by CO project Ps, show that injected products containing beneficial mycorrhizal fungi, slow release biofertilizers and water absorbing substances show a potential of very positive effect on soil improvement and induce tree revitalization. _x000D_Great challenge of this project is to develop this technique, adjust it for different soils-climate conditions, in particular in arid environments with low organic matter, less fertile or degraded soils of participating countries and up grade technology as a commercial service available in each participating country and beyond Europe. Link to this development there is also a huge research challenge to bring scientific evidence that injection of mycorrhizal strain into root zone of mature tree already bearing some native mycorrhiza can result in actual development of introduced strain in the roots. _x000D_The CO characteristic of the consortium is the combination of Ps which are complementary in R&D, expertise and consulting from the production to the application of microbial-based eco-friendly products in agriculture, fruit culture and forestry._x000D_From the commercial point of view the project should allow SME Ps to establish this injection biotechnology in their country and achieve substantial share of the market in tree care. Currently three CO target market segment have been identified, where there is an economic but also qualitative interest to treat high value trees: old and protected trees in urban planting, high value forestry trees and fruit trees in orchards.

Acronym ECOTREE (Reference Number: 4789)
Duration 01/11/2009 - 31/10/2013
Project Topic The project is focused on development of integrated solutions for ecological care for trees in cities, forestry and fruitculture plantations by using natural micro-organisms, beneficial mycorrhizal fungi. The aim is to reduce negative impact of chemicals on the environment and on the citizens life.
Project Results
(after finalisation)
- Three novel injectable mycorrhizal products based on arbuscular mycorrhizal (Symbivit INJECT), ectomycorrhizal (Ectovit INJECT) and ericoid mycorrhizal (Rhodovit INJECT) fungi supporting plant growth, combined with bio-fertilizing component and a water retaining component. Registered as supplementary plant substances at Central Institute for Supervising and Testing in Agriculture of the Czech Republic._x000D_- Protocol for injection procedure for different soil conditions (available in Czech and English language)_x000D_- Four injection applicators enabling the application of solid, slurry and liquid products into the root zone of plants/trees were designed. IP protection of three of them in the form Utility models at Industrial Property Office of the Czech Rep._x000D_- Detection kits for AM and ectomycorrhizal fungi were prepared.
Network Eurostars
Call Eurostars Cut-Off 2

Project partner

Number Name Role Country
3 Mybatec s.r.l. Partner Italy
3 Simbiotec LDA Partner Portugal
3 Symbiom spol. s r.o. Coordinator Czech Republic