Saturday, June 13, 2009

Fungus Among Us by Donna Duffy

I love walking through my neighborhood, checking out the gardens and landscaping. There’s always something new and interesting. Lately, I’ve been slogging through puddles and mud from all of this marvelous rain we’ve had. No surprise, there’s lots of fungus popping up.

This “colony” of mushrooms was growing right beside the sidewalk in some rain-soaked soil. These mushrooms looked like they were growing right on top of each other.

Further down the block, this “fairy ring” caught my attention. I’ve heard about this configuration of mushrooms, but had never seen it before.

Of course, I went directly to the CMG website to learn more. Here’s what I learned:
Mushrooms may grow in a circle around grass, forming "fairy rings." Grass inside these rings can be a darker green and grow more quickly. In some cases, there are so many mushrooms in these rings water cannot penetrate into the soil and the grass dries out, sometimes dying. This leaves a ring of dead, brown grass and another ring of darker green, healthy grass.
Fungicides don't usually kill fairy ring mushrooms in this region. Spring and fall aeration and several applications of a few ounces of dishwashing solution in a gallon of water on the ring will sometimes make the ring less noticeable.