The length of time required for vesicular-arbuscular mycorrhiza (VAM) colonization, the effect of root age, and the position of VAM inoculum with respect to the root system were tested on cotton (Gossypium hirsutum L.), onion (Allium cepa L.), and pepper (Capsicum annuum L.). Colonization of onion by Glomus deserticola began 3 days after inoculation and reached 50% of the total root length after 21 days. Colonization by G. mosseae and G. intraradices began after 12 days and attained 15% and 37%, respectively, after 21 days. In cotton, colonization with G. deserticola and G. intraradices began 12 days following inoculation and increased to 20% and 18%, respectively, after 21 days. Colonization of cotton by G. mosseae was poor. In pepper, colonization with G. deserticola, G. mosseae, and G. intraradices began 3, 6, and 6 days after inoculation and, after 21 days, reached 60%, 13%, and 10%, respectively. In a second experiment, rapid colonization by G. deserticola took place in 3-day-old onion seedlings and increased to 51% 3 days after inoculation. Ten- and 17-day-old seedlings were far less responsive to VAM colonization but became highly infected at 30 days when new roots were produced. In a third experiment, inoculum placement 3 cm below seeds at planting in the field was the most effective for promoting colonization of cotton and onion by VAM. In fumigated field soil, mycorrhizae increased cotton growth an average of 28% when inoculum was applied below seeds compared to one- or two-sided band applications. Even in nonfumigated field soil, inoculum placed 3 cm below the seed and inoculum placed in a band at one side 2 weeks after planting significantly increased cotton growth. In onion, mycorrhizal inoculation improved growth in fumigated soil when it was placed below the seed, but did not stimulate growth in nonfumigated soil.