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Lawn Mushrooms Harmless
Fungi Also A Major
Player In Decomposition
Dear Plant Doctor: I have a cen
tipede lawn. Irately I have white,
pink anil slimy tan or brown mush
rooms infesting many parts of the
lawn. Can you give me some infor
mation on how to get rid of this fun
gus? ? Calabash
Answer: Why? Mushrooms are
the fruiting structure of a group of
fungi known as the basidiomycetes.
Removing a mushroom from your
lawn is like picking an apple from a
tree but. unlike a tree, the true im
mense size of the mushroom "body"
is interwoven in the fabric of the
While some of these fungi are
among the most devastating diseases
of small grains (smuts and rusts) and
fruit trees (Armillaria root rot), the
great majority are harmless sap
rophytes (i.e., they live on dead
plant matter). Fairy rings in your
lawn are caused by some of the sap
rophytic mushroom fungi.
In general, mushrooms do no
harm. Leave them alone. They are a
major player in nature's scheme of
decomposition. Even if you did
want to kill them, no fungicide is ef
fective and labeled in North
Carolina for mushroom control in
Dear Plant Doctor: We recently
purchased a second home on Oak
Island which came with a beautiful
stand of centipede grass. I am not fa
miliar with centipede grass but my
neighbor tells me that it grows very
slowly and requires less main
tenance than other grasses.
My question... Is it feasible to
have centipede grass since we will
only be there on vacations and long
weekends? Is hiring a landscape
company necessary? ? Annapolis,
Answer: It depends.
If you are going to want a perfect
bluegrass or fescue-like lawn at Oak
Island (like I suspect you have in
Annapolis), then plan on planting
zoysia, St. Augustine or bermuda
grass and hiring a first-rate land
scape maintenance firm.
If you are going to be satisfied
with a yellow-green turfgrass that
will probably contain assorted
weeds a low-maintenance centipede
grass lawn will be just fine.
Some of the finest stands of cen
tipede grass I have ever seen were in
areas that were nearly neglected.
Centipede grass is truly a low-main
tenance grass. A high level of man
agement will often kill it as fast as
Depending on where you are at
Oak Island, you may want to consid
er a more salt-tolerant grass. Con
trary to common belief, centipede
grass is not well adapted to beach
areas. It does well in sand but does
not tolerate salt spray or saline water
Zoysia, St. Augustine and Ber
muda grasses are probably the best
adapted to coastal conditions, but
their maintenance is much more in
tensive (i.e. ,you will need a land
scape maintenance firm).
Dear Plant Doctor: Some of the
Gressette Sod Farms
1-800-444-2993 FLORENCE, SC
Avoid nasty surprises
next spring by winterizing
with BioGuard' now.
Relax. Bring your pool I?
Complete Line Of Pool &
Down East Spas
Island Village Specialty Shops
Hwy. 179, Ocean Isle Beach
(Behind IGA Bldg.) Open Mon-Sat
Chemicals, Accessories & Equipment
herbicides I use on my lawn re
commend either a spreader-sticker
or crop oil. What are spreader-stick
er and crop oil? Are they the same?
What about surfactant? ? Clinton
Answer: A spreader-sticker, crop
oil and surfactant are all products
that improve the biological activity
of pesticides by increasing spray
coverage of the plant. Collectively
these products are called adjuvants.
The adjuvants you mention break
the surface tension of water so that
the active ingredients in a pesticide
will be more evenly distributed over
the surface of the plant.
In addition some adjuvants, like
spreader-sticker or crop oil. bind
with the waxes on the leaf and stem
surfaces to allow for better pesticide
penetration and residual activity.
Spreader-stickers and surfactants are
chemically very similar to liquid de
tergents. Crop oil is usually a
processed water soluble petroleum
Adjuvants allow less pesticide to
be used but still receive maximum
If the label of your herbicide says
to use a certain type of adjuvant,
then use it. They are not all the
Dear Plant Doctor: I have a
large oak in my yard and I want to
know what kind it is. I would like to
purchase another oak just like it to
plant on the side of my house.
Where can I gel large oak trees? ?
Answer: Judging from the leaves
you included in your letter. I believe
you have a willow oak ( Querent
I"he willow oak is one of the
fastest-growing, easiest to transplant
and most adaptable of all the native
oak trees. I especially appreciate the
courtesy of willow oaks in the au
tumn because they drop all their
leaves at once.
I am sending you a copy of the
NC'DA Certified Nurseries in Bruns
wick County. This document lists
nurseries anil retail garden centers
registered by the N.C. Department
of Agriculture Plant Industry Divi
The willow oak is a common
landscape tree and can be easily ob
tained by most garden centers and
For other interested gardeners,
contact your county Cooperative
Extension Service office and request
to see the document titled "Certified
Nurseries and Plant Collectors of
North Carolina" (most recent edi
Send your gardening questions or
comments to The Plant Doctor, P.O.
Box 109, Bolivia, N.C. 2S422
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