Weird fungus? In decomposed yard waste
by J. O’Toole
(Buchanan, Mi , USA)
We had a tree removed and waited a year before grinding the stump. We added yard waste, small branches, leaves, grass clippings, etc over the next year. This summer I created a raised planting island , adding some topsoil. I now have some very weird growths appearing that seem to be a fungus. How do I get rid of it, or do I need to if it is not damaging.. attached is a picture.
I live in southwest Michigan, USA, about 20 miles from Lake Michigan. We had a wet spring, and dry May and June.
Hello and thank you for sending your photo with your question.
Fungi are one of the main decomposers of woody material. I gather that you have started a garden bed over the old stump. While most of the material you've been piling on the stump has decomposed the woody stuff is taking a longer time. That's where the fungi come in. They are still on the job.
I haven't seen this type of fungi myself and I'm wondering if it might be the type of fungi associated with the tree you had removed.
The other thing this might be is a little community of lichens. Lichens are part fungi and part algae and they too will be handy woody decomposers.
I can't tell from your picture how big these are so I'm really not sure which they might be.
The thing with fungi is that what you see here is the fruiting body and a very cool looking fruiting body it is. The fruiting part would be supported by a network of mycelium, kind of like roots. This can be massive so getting rid of fungi, which are almost for sure doing something useful, could entail digging up the whole neighbourhood.
They are fascinating, I say enjoy them but don't eat them.