At first, the word fungi doesn’t sound good.

Hello, again!

One of the most prized fungi is the morel mushroom. This mushroom is not only sought after, but the locations where morel hunters find them are greatly guarded, just like that closely guarded fishing or hunting spot.

At first, the word fungi doesn’t sound good. A relatively few fungi on our lawn and landscape plants can damage its appearance, or even worse, can produce toxins that affect plants and animals. For the most part though, fungi are important decomposers in most ecosystems. Mycorrhizal fungi are essential for the growth of most plants. Fungi, as food, play a role in human nutrition in the form of mushrooms, and also as agents of fermentation in the production of bread, cheeses, alcoholic beverages, and numerous other food preparations.

Our lawns and landscape are full of fungi, and most of the year the conditions are good and don’t allow much damage to the plants. But when the conditions are right, (as they tend to be early summer) some fungi can erupt and cause damage and disease. The conditions include moisture at night (watering late in the day or a late afternoon rainfall), poor air circulation, and nighttime temperatures in the 70’s. This encourages dormant fungi to come to life.

We see a variety of fungi (mushrooms) pop up in our yard and landscapes after a rainy period. Not all mushrooms are edible, unfortunately. I’m frequently asked for the remedy for the fungi; I think it’s like the remedy for the common cold: take a couple of aspirin, and it’ll go away. In the case of these strange growths in our yard, they’ll be gone in a day or so and really do no harm. I believe that the sign of mushrooms in the landscape shows we have healthy soil, full of rich organics that are breaking down, enriching the soil.

It’s much easier to prevent damaging fungi in the lawn than it is to cure it. Brown patch is a common turfgrass disease that is caused by the Rhizoctonia species fungus. We treat it with ferti-lome F-Stop Fungicide Granules. Apply ferti-lome F-Stop Fungicide Granules during the growing season. F-Stop contains Eagle fungicide, which both prevents and controls fifteen different diseases in both established lawns and ornamental turfs. One application protects for up to 4 weeks.

While recording our Johnson’s Garden Time show recently, Jeremy and I were going over fungi controls. It’s our typical show, where we have a timely topic and go over products for controls. It airs every Saturday and Sunday at 7:55 am on KAKE-TV. As usual, I got the segment started and pitched it to Jeremy. He mentioned that ferti-lome has a new fungicide, Fungicide 5. Honestly I wasn’t familiar with the new product. He told me that it’s a biological fungus control containing Bacillus amyloliquefaciens. It can be used on vegetables, fruit, nut, and ornamental trees, shrubs, flowering plants, houseplants and tropical plants. It’s made to control many diseases, such as anthracnose, leaf blights, black spot of roses, downy mildew, fruit rot, powdery mildew, scab and more. He went on to explain that the fungicide colonizes plant roots, putting it in a prime position to outcompete pathogens for growth on the plant. These beneficial bacteria fertilize the plant by providing nutrients that are in short supply and produce chemicals that induce plant growth. What an innovative way to control damaging fungi!

I also recommend keeping irrigation water off of the foliage of plants and planting disease resistant varieties to help prevent many diseases to our landscape and garden plants. As always, read and follow the label directions.

Stop by the stores and ask for Bacillus amyloliquefaciens, or ferti-lome Fungicide 5 if that’s easier to remember. Let us know how it works for you!

Your friend in the garden,

Marty Johnson
Owner - Johnson's Garden Center