The KPRC Radio Gardenline Tip By Randy Lemmon For 11-04-04 Printer-Friendly Version
Fungal Gnat Control
I've been getting lots of interesting email questions in the past two weeks. Many topics are repeated in a number of emails, which tells me it's time to take some of those questions and turn them into email tips of the week. So, for the next several weeks, remember that all the email tips you are getting have been generated by your email questions. In other words... keep up the good work!
This week's tip is about Mushrooms! Most of the questions are about mushrooms in the yard. "How do I get rid of them?" "Is there a fungicide for them? etc.
For the past several years, what I've told people, who've called the radio program, is something along this line --
First, keep in mind that most mushrooms are really a sign of something good -- Beneficial Fungi. I know it doesn't seem that way, but they really are the telltale sign of a beneficial fungus deep in the soil -- a high level of organic matter, spewing into a mushroom. Unfortunately, there is no known chemical product that can be applied to control mushrooms. Also, remember that they will eventually decrease and disappear. In fact, the best control method is simply removing them when you see them and throwing them away. Another important fact when thinking about mushroom removal is "harvest" them (especially those that we equate with toadstools) before they "open up," to help keep them from spreading more spores.
For some reason, however, that explanation never seems to suffice. I think it's because most people just don't want to handle those creepy, slimy, good-for-nothing "shrooms". I've told many folks over the years that you can try a couple of different control methods, but remember, research shows that there is no "known" cure for mushrooms in the yard. The first thing we've suggested in the past is to drench the area with Consan Triple Action 20 or any Copper Fungicide (like Kocide). Others have suggested dusting the area with sulfur as a means of controlling the fungal spores. I've never tried it myself, but since it's something of a "natural" control, it can't really hurt the area. But the key to a fungicide's success (limited though it will be) is to really drench the area below the soil line where the decomposition of organic/fungal matter is taking place. It's often hard to penetrate that spore-rich area, because it has a sort of impervious layer that makes water run right off.
That may make sense to anyone who has had another type of beneficial fungus in his or her flowerbeds, known as saprophytic fungus. You know, that ooze in your mulch? Anyone who has tried to "pour something" on a dried patch of saprophytic fungus knows what I mean -- the water runs right off and the brown spores puff into the air. You can read more about that here
< http://www.950kprc.com/gardenline-mulchfungus.html >
So, let's bottom-line this: Fungi that make mushrooms are not lawn diseases, rather they are beneficial fungi. Normally, they do not harm living grasses, when removed in time. And the fungal spores will decompose over time into the soil, actually releasing nutrients for the grass.
Until next issue, here's to
Great Gardening from the GardenLine, heard
exclusively weekend mornings from 8 to noon
on Talkradio 950 KPRC.