Types of Garden Fungus

Garden fungi are spread through spores that get dispersed by wind or water splash, and flourish in moist areas. Beneficial garden fungi improve the soil and help plants absorb more nutrients--but some fungi that attack the garden can ruin a whole year's worth of hard work. To prevent harmful fungi, water early in the morning to allow the foliage to dry completely in sunlight so spores in the air won't take refuge your garden.

Mycorrhizal Fungi

Mycorrhizal fungi are tiny, harmless critters that attach themselves to roots to help plants make use of water and organic nutrients in the soil. Use organic fertilisers and soil conditioners to increase the beneficial action of the mycorrhizal fungi. This fungi populate the plants' roots to form very thin filaments that act like a second set of roots. This process helps the plants survive drought and transplant shock.

Saprophytic Fungi

The saprophytic fungi is a network of fine, white threads in the surface layers of the soil. Seeing them in the garden may seem quite alarming, but they are actually very helpful to garden soil. They feed on the remains of dead plants and animals, which aids in the decomposition of organic matter and in turn, improves the fertility of the soil.

Bracket Fungi

While a number of fungi cause danger to plants, some of them are actually harmless. One such type of fungi is the bracket fungi, which grow on many different varieties of trees. This fungi live on dead wood. Its spores are unable to penetrate healthy barks, but can settle in and grow on a bark that is wounded. If the trees in your garden are hosting bracket fungi, it's an indication that the tree may be injured or diseased.

Potato Blight

Potato blight is a widely known fungal infection in the garden. At first, it appears as black or brown patches around the edge of leaves. Also look for tubers that show a reddish-brown rot and discoloured skin. In damp weather--especially during the rainy season--these patches enlarge and spread to the stem. Eventually, potato blight can kill the plant. Having potato blight makes plants more vulnerable to bacterial infections.

Peach Leaf Curl

Another type of harmful fungi is peach leaf curl, which causes the edges of the leaves to become wrinkled, curled and twisted. Affected areas often show changes in colour, usually yellow or shades of purple and red. Later on, the leaves turn brown and drop. A severe infection may defoliate an entire plant or tree.

Fairy Ring Fungi

The fairy ring fungi is a species of toadstool fungi that produces circular or semicircular green bands of grass in a lawn. It harms the garden by causing circles of discoloured turf and it prevents the roots from receiving adequate water, oxygen, and nutrients.

Clematis Wilt

Clematis wilt is another garden problem caused by the fungus phoma clematidina. It can remain in the soil for many months. One or more clematis shoots will begin to wilt from the tip of a leaf, spreading downward very rapidly. The affected leaf stalks turn black while newly-infected stems blacken internally.

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About the Author

Rianne Hill Soriano is a freelance artist/writer/educator. Her diverse work experiences include projects in the Philippines, Korea and United States. For more than six years she has written about films, travel, food, fashion, culture and other topics on websites including Yahoo!, Yehey! and Herword. She also co-wrote a book about Asian cinema.