Paul Nickerson

Posts Tagged ‘House Plants’

Friendly Fungi: Leucocoprinus birnbaumii

In Pest Management on September 19, 2011 at 12:00 am

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I am not a Mycologist. I just wanted to preface this post with that.

I was recently working with a group of students in a small CSA garden in Philadelphia. During the course of the day, a number of students asked be about long, yellow fungi that were growing all throughout the garden.

There is a lot of discussion on forums out there regarding this small yellow fungus that seems to pop up in house plants, compost piles, and garden rows. Although I am not a Mycologist, I have collected a number of these samples from my own vermicompost and the pots I have treated with it, and brought them to a number of different Mycologists and Botanists.

For all of you out there wondering, as I was, they are completely harmless to your plants, but are considered toxic. They tend to grow in areas of high nutrients, particularly in raw compost where such levels are very high. Fungi such as this are an essential part of the composting system as they break down decomposing matter.

If you wish to rid you plants of these fungi, a number of different steps can be taken. First, quarantine the infected plant. You can attempt to remove the fungi by pulling them up from their bases, however, it may be necessary to completely change the infected potting media. When I had this problem I simply waited it out as I did not have any animals or children near my plants. Just to see how it works, I removed to soil from one of my plants, baked in for an hour at a low temperature to sterilize it, then reused it. This seemed to take care of the problem.

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