Identification: Help ID this strange mulch growth, please!

Discussion in 'Fungi, Lichens and Slime Molds' started by NanaPlanta, Sep 5, 2006.

  1. NanaPlanta

    NanaPlanta Member

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    What is this strange growth in my mulched areas? I'm including two photos, the first photo showing more clearly the two stages of the growth: Stage #1) Tiny light tan spheres and Stage #2) Half spheres with seeds or spores. These are popping up everywhere in my beds and mulched paths. An organic program has been followed, and I have added all sorts of soil amendments to the highly alkaline limestone soil in my area. Are these mushrooms and their spores? Never saw these before. The area has experienced a bad drought this year, and it is permissible to hand-water, which I've been doing almost daily. The main question is, how do I get rid of these because they look like untouchables? Please help. This is my first post, so hope that I'm doing this properly.
     

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  2. Daniel Mosquin

    Daniel Mosquin Paragon of Plants UBC Botanical Garden Forums Administrator Forums Moderator 10 Years

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  3. MycoRob

    MycoRob Active Member

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    Yep, looks like a bird's nest fungi to me. I found my first one, Crucibulum laeve, last month. I am not suggesting that you have the same species, as several bird's nests look similar. They are common on mulch, so I guess that is what you have on your hands. I don't think they are dangerous (havn't found any resources that say they are poisionous or bad in any way), so you might just have to put up with them, which isn't SO bad, is it?
     
  4. NanaPlanta

    NanaPlanta Member

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    This website forum is fantastic, and I'm so glad I discovered it. Thanks for the name of my garden "visitors," and now I'm hoping to research Bird's Nest Fungus , or Cyathus Olla, to see if it is indeed a pest that will spread and overtake my wildlife/floral garden, or if I should consider myself fortunate to have these visitors. Eager to discover if they are welcomed guests or, in fact, garden intruders! Appreciate the help! Still eager to receive more replies to my post in order to learn more about Bird's Nest Fungus.
     
  5. Daniel Mosquin

    Daniel Mosquin Paragon of Plants UBC Botanical Garden Forums Administrator Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    I'm not sure it's Cyathus olla - size seems to be wrong, for one. Then again, this wouldn't be the first strange thing seen this year on the forums.
     
  6. MycoRob

    MycoRob Active Member

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    Here is a copy of an article entitled "Denizens of Detritus" by Janna Beckerman, Extension Plant Pathologist. Link is at http://www.extension.umn.edu/yardandgarden/YGLNews/YGLN-Aug0105.html

    It has great information about the bird's nest fungi. This is one line (towards the end of the article) that NanaPlanta should be most interested in ... "bird's nest fungi do not damage living plants, control of these fungi is not necessary."


    "As more and more people learn the value of mulching their plants, many are discovering that mulch not only reduces weeding and maintains moisture, but introduces some really cool fungi-the bird's nest fungi.

    Several species of bird's nest fungi occur in North America, but the most common, as the name suggests, is Crucibulum vulgare (vulgare is Latin for common). Careful examination of your wood chips may reveal these small (about the size of a tack), elaborate fruiting bodies that look like (drum roll, please) little bird's nests!

    Bird's nest fungi are saprophytes that decay wood, bark, and mulch, and do not harm plants. As their name suggests, the small bird's nests are filled with "eggs" that are small envelopes containing spores. The "eggs" (called peridioles) are often bean-shaped, and range in color from white, grey, dark brown or shiny black eggs reside in is a splash cup (the nest), which catches raindrops. The force of splashing rain propels the "eggs" out of the cup, and several feet away. Some species of bird's nest fungi have envelopes that stick to substrate by a coiled spring with a sticky end called a funicular cord. When the envelope is splashed out of the cup, the coil snaps and extends a microscopic tail that catches on any blade of grass, stem, or twig. The coil then wraps around the substrate like a tetherball, where it remains. By flinging its "egg" high above, the fungus all but guarantees better spread of the enveloped spores when the peridiole breaks down. A separate group of bird's nest fungi, the Mycocalia, Nidularia and Nidula have sticky peridioles that directly attach to substrates without a tether.

    Bird's nest fungi regularly appear in the fall, but be can be found almost anytime where there is wood chip mulch. As bird's nest fungi do not damage living plants, control of these fungi is not necessary. Occasionally, bird's nest, or the closely related "artillery fungi" can be a nuisance if the "eggs" stick to the siding of houses or cars. Should bird's nest fungi become a nuisance, removal of the mulch, coupled with decreasing irrigation can minimize the productions of "nests." As these fungi are a curiousity and not a problem, fungicides are not recommended for treatment of bird's nest fungi."
     
  7. NanaPlanta

    NanaPlanta Member

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    Many thanks to Daniel Mosquin and mycoRob for the great initiation to the world of mulching and organic gardening. I'm a first-time user of fish-emulsion based organic fertilizer for my lawn, and the results have been nothing short of amazing! My neighbors constantly ask me what is being used to create such a lush lawn. I bought the bagged fertilizer pellets from my local garden supply store. If anyone lives in the North Texas area, just reply to this post and I'll give the name of the fertilizer. It's the best I've ever used, and I've been an enthusiastic gardener for decades. A fantastic website is: http://www.dirtdoctor.com, and that's where I get lots of reference material, help for my first-year organic program.
     

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