It’s fungi season in the Pacific Northwest! Although we will be fighting mildew and other fungal invasions for the next eight months or so, the benefits of fungi are so numerous, it’s hard to know where to start.
- “As much as 50 to 80 percent of the entire living biomass… in a garden soil sample may be fungal tissue.”
- “Some soil-dwelling …fungi live in the soil closely surrounding plant roots, where they feed on nutrients leaking from roots and help to defend plants from attach by pathogenic fungi and bacteria.”
- “Along with bacteria, fungi are the main recyclers of nutrients and a major source of nutrition for many of the animals of the soil.”
- Mycorrhizal fungal associations with plant roots have a 400 million year history! Without fungal strands to mine the soil for nutrients and water, most plants would not survive.
- “…fungi known as Trichomycetes (tricho=hair; myco=fungi) form partnerships with a number of soil-dwelling arthropods such as millipedes [a previous guest on Beneficial of the Week]. These specialized fungi live only in association with specific arthropods and only in the guts of these arthropods.
Specialized for decomposition, fungi keep us from being miles deep in detritus, dung, and cellulose-rich plant debris. They bring nutrients that are locked in tissues back to the soil, where they can be used by plants to feed and clothe us.
RESPECT to the fungi that dwell among us!