A Fungus Among Us – Birds Nest Fungus
Late last summer I noticed a strange, gross, little fungus popping up in my mulched flower beds. I hoped that by ignoring it (which is typically my go-to-garden move) it would be gone when spring came around the next year. Well – its spring – and that weird little fungus is still there…surprise, surprise.
The fungus first appeared as small, white, round, organic material that resembled eggs. The image below shows this egg-like fungus:
After a few weeks (I truly can’t remember how long – it could have been a couple months), the “eggs” turned into “pods.” The image below shows the transition from “egg” to “pod:”
Now that I know this little fungus isn’t going away on its own, it was time for me to do a little research. Turns out it is called Birds Nest Fungus, which seems appropriate as it looks like a birds nest when large patches are visible. When the pods are open they act as a vessel to help the fungus reproduce. When rain hits the pods the spores inside the pods are splashed onto nearby objects such as plant stems, tree trunks, and even your house. There they will continue to grow and reproduce, as long as their new home can sustain them. EEK!
The good news is Birds Nest Fungus is found in rich, healthy soil – so if you have this little fungus it just means that you have great soil! The fungus also will not harm the soil or your vegetation; rather it will eventually compost and create even richer soil! For these reasons, I will probably leave my fungus right where it is.
If you would rather eradicate the fungus, because it is unsightly and ruins your garden’s feng shui, there are few ways to do so. It is recommended that a fungicide not be used – this could have negative effects on your other vegetation. The best way to eliminate the fungus is to simply rake the area thoroughly to disturb the root system of the fungus.
There is a fungus among us. After learning about the soil benefits of Birds Nest Fungus, I think I will let it live on…as long as it doesn’t start getting out of control!