Ask a Question forum: What is this gross thing?

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gweatherly
Nov 4, 2016 8:47 AM CST
I recently planted some small rust colored mums and put out MiracleGro soil from Walmart. Shortly after planting, I noticed a multi-layered fungus of the same color come up nearby. It didn't seem to be a problem, so I left it. Then, I went out yesterday, and the plants had literally melted away and in their place were thousands of crawling maggots. I sprayed with RAID. This is disgusting beyond belief. What is it? Should I remove this and/or treat the soil?
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Name: greene
Savannah, GA (Sunset 28) (Zone 8b)
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greene
Nov 4, 2016 6:30 PM CST
Fungus. Fungi grow on the wood chips in the soil. Sometimes you will find them growing on wood mulch. The fungus will mature and 'melt' and...as disgusting as it may be to you...the little flies find it irresistible.

Am I seeing moth balls in that garden bed?
Sunset Zone 28, AHS Heat Zone 9, USDA zone 8b~"Leaf of Faith"
Name: Rick Corey
Everett WA 98204 (Zone 8a)
Sunset Zone 5. Koppen Csb. Eco 2f
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RickCorey
Nov 4, 2016 6:31 PM CST
Hi gweatherly. Welcome to NGA!

I agree with you: the fungus should not be a problem. I would expect that to happen if a lot of organic matter was added, or some soil that was already organic became wetter than it used to be. The fungus should grow until it consumes the excess organic matter, then it melt away back into the soil.

And the matching color is a plus! That is a cool, color-coordinated great "multi-plant photo".

But maggots or grubs that eat plants? Yuck. I hope someone can say what they are and how to manage your garden so you have fewer of them.

P.S. After a few days or a week here, if you don't get a conclusive answer, you or I could suggest moving this thread to the Pests and Diseases forum (for the maggots or grubs or whatevers). Or the "Fungus Forum" if the wormy things seem to be associated with fungus somehow.

I'm prejudiced against soil products from Home Depot, but I haven't bought much from WalMart. If it had been HD, I would have been quick to say "Darned cheap crummy MG soil mix, they probably sned their worst stuff to HD or WalMart because you get what you pay fort (at best).

Contaminated with fungus: sure, though fungus spores are EVERYWHERE and only need moist organics to thrive. If it was very rich soil mix, lots of organics would be intentional.

I'm eager to see what experts think the squirmy plant-eating things are. I'm guessing a grub or larval stage of something whose adult phase none of us would like very much, either.

I hope it's a one-time-only thing for you. I have slugs that are like lawnmowers some years. Put out a tray of seedlings, and they'll eat them right down to the ground overnight.

[Last edited by RickCorey - Nov 4, 2016 6:32 PM (+)]
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Name: greene
Savannah, GA (Sunset 28) (Zone 8b)
My dogs love me; some people don't.
Deer Bookworm Keeper of Poultry Vermiculture Garden Ideas: Master Level Region: Georgia
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greene
Nov 4, 2016 6:34 PM CST
Might they be fungus gnat larvae?
Sunset Zone 28, AHS Heat Zone 9, USDA zone 8b~"Leaf of Faith"

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