Is mushroom mycelium bad for plants?
Mushroom compost for your garden
Our neighbor says his plants have been doing poorly ever since he started seeing mushroom on his lawn and under some of his shrubs.
He says the problem is the mushroom mycelium, and that it’s bad for plants.
I though mycelium was a good thing? Is he right, wrong… what??
Robin, thanks for the question!
As you seem to feel… your neighbor is dead wrong.
Mycelium is incredibly good for the soil… in your garden, in woods and forests, in agricultural land and pretty much anywhere else.
Mycelium binds the soil and helps it retain moisture.
And there’s a LOT of it. Under every step you take, there are up to 300 miles of fungal mycelium. That’s under just one footstep!
Mycelium also contributes to the health of plants and trees directly. It wraps itself around roots and even penetrates them, to share nutrients.
The mycelium takes sugars, which the plants and trees create through photosynthesis. And in exchange, the mycelium gives the plant or tree minerals and other nutrients.
In other words, the presence and cooperation of mycelium actively benefits plants!
The mycelium also works to improve the quality of soil, by decomposing organic matter in the form of fallen leaves and other organic debris. Give it time and it will decompose entire trees that have fallen to the forest floor.
Long story short, your neighbour is mistaken. Mycelium is good for the soil, good for plants, and good for trees.
If you want to know more about mycelium in your own yard, we have a whole page devoted to mycelium in garden soil.
And another page on the role of mycelium in the health of forests.