The Fungus Among Us -Fungi are plants that can’t make their own food and depend on organic matter for their nutrition. Most that exist in the yard are benign or even beneficial to us. Familiar fungi are mushrooms, yeasts and molds that help make wine, cheese and baked goods possible and exotic truffles.
In the broader scheme of things, fungi work with other scavenger organisms to break down organic matter, building soil fertility which supports the plant life we all depend on. The top foot of soil in a 1,000-square-foot planted area contains about 30 pounds of fungi, of which a small proportion are harmful to plants. It is important to know how to distinguish fungus diseases from other plant problems, and how to prevent or treat them. Often this can be accomplished with simple preventive cultural controls or with methods that don’t even require any chemicals.