Ask the Master Gardeners

Have a garden related question? Pass it along and we'll attempt to have our master gardeners take their best shot at answering. To get your question on its way, click the question mark below. Check back here for responses to your question. We will post as many questions and responses as possible.

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Sample Question:
I have "fairy rings" (toad stools [fungi] in a circle) in my lawn and they are so unsightly! How do I rid the grass of them?

Tell the fairies to clean up after themselves!! Seriously, here's what a little research found... "Being the world's best decomposers, fungi decay dead plant or animal material and assist bacteria in turning it into compost. If it gets into a bit more dead material, and if it stays wet, we will get a large fruiting of mushrooms in a couple of weeks. If it becomes dry or runs out of dead material to compost, it will become dormant or die. Hot weather is the worst thing for most fungus, as they want it cool, dark and wet. Don't ask how to get rid of the mushrooms in your lawn. You want all you can get. If you don't like the fruit (mushrooms) coming up, cut them off smash them or mow them; it will make the mother plants (mycelium) much stronger if they don't have to reproduce. Reproduction uses vast amounts of energy and weakens the mycelium.

You can't remove the spores by removing the mushrooms. There are so many spores everywhere that all it takes is for one to land in a favorable place and it will grow. The spores of every mushroom on Earth is in your yard at all times waiting for the right conditions (proper food and water) to grow. Putting your favorite mushrooms all over your property won't introduce them to your particular place. If the food that species needs (species of dead tree root etc.) is there, the mushrooms will come up. They are always spores waiting. If you want a species to grow, create the environment and it will be there.

Remember, mushrooms are the fruit of mycelium, and they need no sunlight or hot days to grow and fruit. They love deep dark caves too."

-answer provided by Boyd Shaffer, Artist/Naturalist,

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