Arbuscular mycorrhiza represents a ubiquitous nutritional symbiosis between the roots of most terrestrial plant species and fungi of the subphylum Glomeromycotina (Spatafora et al., 2016). Terrestrial habitats are unlikely to be limited in propagules of arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF), because AMF propagule densities build up fast in vegetated soil (e.g. Gould et al., 1996). We start to appreciate, however, that shortages in AMF propagules are common in some habitats, such as agricultural ﬁelds subject to intensive farming (Schnoor et al., 2011; Manoharan et al., 2017). Forest habitats in the temperate region might also be occasionally AMF propagule limited (Veresoglou et al., 2017), but to the best of our understanding this has not been shown with empirical data.