scary spore-looking infestation on soil - Knowledgebase Question

Brooklyn, Ne
Avatar for susan9930
Question by susan9930
June 1, 2010
Can you help me identify what's happened to my soil? I came back from a 3 day weekend to find these rod-shaped things growing on the soil surface next to my green bean plants. The container is an untreated wooden crate. When I went to water it, a big puff of dust came up.
See photo
Thank you!

Answer from NGA
June 1, 2010
What you are seeing is a simple fungal growth. Most fungi are classified as saprophytes because they live on dead or dying material and obtain energy by breaking down organic matter in dead plants and animals. The compost/bark/organic matter is decomposing, which is promoting the fungi and when you disturbed it with water, it released its spores. I'd scrape the fungus off the soil and cultivate the top half inch of soil to allow fresh air to help dry it out. You may see more fungal growth later in the season (because the spores were released) but just raking the soil to incorporate fresh air should help discourage the fungal growth. It's harmless to you and your plants. Hope this answers your question!

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