Asked October 19, 2018, 1:27 PM EDT

I have, I believe, a fungi, under my thistle bird feeder, it’s almost scarey...about a foot in diameter, It’s black, and has a very fine, grass like appearance, growing straight up from it, I accidentally disturbed it, and it emitted a black smoke...probably spores. How do I get rid of it?...would lime destroy it? I’ll wear a mask to work on it! Thank you, I will appreciate your help. Irene Jones.

Washington County Oregon fungi identification

1 Response

Thanks for your question, Irene. You are correct in believing that the "smoke" that was released was actually spores. When you see a mushroom on top of the soil, there is a fungal mass underneath, 'working' to break down fibrous tissue such as a decaying root. That is nature's method of returning nutrients to the soil to be used by future plants. Without a photo, we can't identify the fungus, and most Extension offices are reluctant to do so for fear of someone trying to eat them--with bad results! Staying away from the spores is a good idea, since some people are allergic to fungal spores.

However, it isn't going to injure you, and will undoubtedly disappear within a short time, especially with the upcoming rains. If you want to take a photo and share it, or take it into the Washington County Extension office, you can, with the above caveats. Fungi are a valuable part of our ecosystem, and shouldn't be destroyed, regardless of how scary they are!