Garden Fungus?

Asked April 13, 2016, 12:13 AM EDT

Hello, I noticed this spring a strange growth in two spots in my front garden. I live in the city, and last summer we had the concrete drilled out of the sidewalk in front of our rowhome to make space for a 8' x 8' garden. The soil underneath was quite rocky, so we built a wall out of cedar around the garden and filled it with a mix of topsoil, peat moss, garden soil, and aged chicken litter from our coop. We also built an irrigation system to spread the rain water from our front gutter evenly throughout the plot. The garden faces east and most of it receives full sun. Everything grew wonderfully into the fall (and even winter). When our bulbs came up this spring, I noticed a small growth, brown and tubular, next to one of our plants. I though it might be a weird half-dead bulb, given that many of them came up and were burnt with frost a week later. This week (about a month after noticing the first tube) I noticed the one "tube" had grown into a cluster of tubes, and there was another patch of them about 4-5 feet away. I haven't tried to dig them up for fear of disturbing any spores that might be there and spread. Do you know what it could be? The plants near to the brown tube growths seem to be doing fine, so if it's not broken, don't fix it? Thanks for your help!

Baltimore Maryland

1 Response

This is a mushroom. Mushrooms are the fruiting body of fungi. Fungi live on dead organic matter and are part of the normal decomposition process. They will have no affect on any of your plants. If there is a large piece of wood or dead root in the bed, it could be growing on that. No control is necessary.

We did notice also that the first photo has pachysandra in it. While this has been a popular groundcover for many years, it will take over the entire bed eventually. If you want to grow other plants such as perennials there, you may want to remove it before it gets established. (It is now also listed as a non-native invasive because it gets loose in parks and natural areas and destroys the natural environment. So don't replant it there.)