Monday, October 3, 2011

Moss Lawn Foiled By Fungus

It's been raining here non-stop for days. When I finally got outside to start planting moss, I noticed a large patch of white mushrooms growing on the maple tree.

Since I love wild mushrooms more than a normal person should, I got all excited. I was imagining a seasonal supply of succulent mushrooms to be had for free....simply by walking out the front door.

My favorite farmer, whom mom and I lovingly nicknamed Mother Nature, not only raises one hell of a duck, she's been hunting mushrooms for decades. Wild white and grey oysters, chanterelles (my favorite), fall chantrells (my favorite), boletes, coral mushrooms (husband's favorite), lobster mushrooms (my favorite), rooted xerula, bear claw mushrooms (my favorite), black trumpets (my favorite), hedgehogs (my favorite -- the mushroom not the actor), hen & chicken & old man of the woods, are just a few of the mushrooms she's provided for our dinner plate. Ok, so I have a lot of favorite mushrooms. I love so many, it's hard to pick just one.


If this lady can find all those mushrooms on her back 40, why can't I find one good one on my front 1/10? Knowing that all mushrooms are not created equal, I decided to ask Mother Nature if these babies are edible before serving them up with a side of prime rib.

Northern Toothed Shelf Mushroom

Turns out I got a double whammy of bad news. She tells me that this fungus is not only inedible, it's a tree killer.

Oh man, what a drag!

The mycelia lives in the heartwood of the tree. The fungus can't be killed or successfully removed. While the tree may live for several years, it eventually will fall over dead; rotted from the inside out.

I should have known. Earlier this summer I had a large, dead limb removed. After closer inspection, the toothed shelf fungus is all over that tree, not just on the trunk. Another large upper branch is also dead.

Power lines run through this tree and it's only a few feet from the house. The way I figure it, it's better if the whole thing goes now, instead of waiting for a storm to blow it on to the tile roof.

No tree, no shade. No shade, no moss.

I spent the entire summer pulling grass out of the lawn. Now I have to go buy grass seed. And pay the tree guy....for the third time this year.

What a bummer. I really liked that tree.

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