Pictures of Mulch with Fungus

ingrid_vc(Z10 SoCal)July 19, 2011

I apologize for beginning a separate thread about my mulch but I wanted to be sure that as many people as possible saw these pictures, because I really would like to make sure that this is a benign organism. The pieces of mulch that contain this white substance are lighter in weight and the white substance is making the mulch stick together so that the clods have to be pried apart forcibly. Somehow this organism just looks sinister to me but I very much hope I'm wrong.

Thank you so much for your help and expertise.


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diane_nj 6b/7a

Looks like normal mulch decomposition to me. I have a few patches in the yard. Also, if I leave a bag of mulch unopened for a couple of months, I'll have this inside as it starts to decompose in the bag.

    Bookmark   July 19, 2011 at 10:38AM
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Ingrid, fungus isn't necessarily bad. There are good fungi that work in the garden like Diane_nj pointed out that consume organic materials, converting them to compost.


Here is a link that might be useful: If only sweat were irrigation...

    Bookmark   July 19, 2011 at 10:42AM
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I don't think it's sinister, but it is clearly upsetting you. It's too damn hot to worry so much, so pull it off your plants and throw it in the compost, where the microherd will take care of it for you, while you relax a little.

    Bookmark   July 19, 2011 at 1:13PM
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My guess is that this ugliness is really an important step in the digestion of your mulch and the production of compost. The way I understand it, we feed mulchables to our gardens so that the useful microorganisms in the soil will eat it and poop out the stuff that the plants really need for their nourishment.

Remember how when you take antibiotics all of the bacterial flora in your intestinal track get wiped out and you end up with serious intestinal distress until you add useful bacilli back (often in the form of yogurt made from fresh cultures)? I'm sure if we actually had to look at those critters munching their way through our guts we would not be pleased.

I think you should probably break up the large clumps of the offending material and spread it around a bit to do its good work and then.....go to another part of your garden, sit down in a comfy chair, and drink something delicious while the uglies do their good deeds....


    Bookmark   July 19, 2011 at 1:25PM
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roselee z8b S.W. Texas

It looks like the stuff I'm happy to find in my unturned compost pile when I get around to shoveling it out. My grandmother called it 'leaf mold' and poked around under oak trees to find it and add to her garden. And yes it does make the mulch stick together in big clumps.

    Bookmark   July 19, 2011 at 1:29PM
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ingrid_vc(Z10 SoCal)

Okay, everybody, I'm off to have a cold drink on this hot day and want to say thanks to all of you who've put my mind at ease. I shall worry no more. Bless you all.


    Bookmark   July 19, 2011 at 2:08PM
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hoovb zone 9 sunset 23

Might be really old slime mold that has now dried up. That it is in patches would be indicative.

You might be seeing it this year because of our better-than-average rainfall this past winter.

    Bookmark   July 19, 2011 at 2:12PM
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ingrid_vc(Z10 SoCal)

hoovb, I think you might be on to something. Thanks for that insight.


    Bookmark   July 19, 2011 at 9:32PM
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Embothrium(USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA)

We live on the fungus planet. Most of the skin covering the ground is fungal. In the climax tropical rain forest there is only a thin layer of litter because fungi etc. decay fallen plant and animal material so fast. Sweaty shoes left outside the tend at bedtime may be sprouting mushrooms in the morning.

    Bookmark   July 20, 2011 at 1:10AM
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