The Fungus Amungus
Summer rains bring different kinds of fungi, some are bad and some are harmless. Water carries disease, so proper landscape care is needed to help keep your beloved plants healthy.
Suddenly appearing throughout your landscape and lawn, mushrooms indicate moist soil with organic material. Most mushrooms are harmless and can be left alone, removed by hand, or mowed. If you remove them, there may be fewer mushrooms in the future. You’ll definitely want to remove them if you have a dog. Many are poisonous, and you wouldn’t want your curious pup to get sick.
Don’t eat mushrooms yourself either. Many poisonous mushrooms look nearly identical to harmless ones.
It’s important to correctly maintain your lawn to help avoid disease problems such as brown patch and take-all root rot. Rake and remove all debris after storms to give lawns a chance to dry out. Follow the UF/IFAS recommendations for mowing, watering, and fertilizing to help ensure you have a strong, healthy, Florida-Friendly lawn. If the turf is not being correctly watered, fertilized, or mowed, symptoms will begin to show above-ground as irregular yellow or light-green patches. Then the grass will begin to thin and die. Your best action is prevention. Avoid over-watering and fertilizing too much or too often.
You can bring a sample of grass from the affected area to the Flagler Extension Office to find out for sure what’s going on with your lawn.
Heavy rains can damage tender plants, wash away mulch, and erode soil from around plant roots. Injured or dead plant parts should be pruned after they’ve dried to allow the plant to recover. Clear fallen leaves and other debris. If the soil is very saturated, remove mulch from around plantings for a few weeks to help the soil dry.
Monitor your plants for signs of disease that may show up later. You may see spots or other discoloration on foliage, stems, fruit, or a whole plant may rot. Black spot on roses and powdery mildew on a wide range of plants can become a problem after weeks of rain.
Healthy Landscape, Healthy Community
Water that isn’t absorbed into the landscape flows down streets, sidewalks, and driveways directly into the storm drain. Unlike wastewater from your home, water from storm drains don’t go to a water treatment facility. It goes into the closest body of water near your home. Picture all of the grass clippings, fertilizers, oils, and other pollutants going directly into the environment without being treated.
To help minimize environmental impact, consider your entire landscape looking for areas that stay especially wet. Consider planting a rain garden or planting in raised beds in those spots.
Follow a proper irrigation schedule with a system that includes a working rain sensor. Have a good fertilization regime and plant the right plant for the right place to reduce the chance of some diseases becoming a problem. Maintaining healthy and stress-free plants helps reduce the chance that a landscape will become diseased.
Written content by Kathi Wright, Master Gardener Volunteer, UF IFAS Extension Flagler County
For more information, please refer to the following sources: