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Honey Fungus.


Martin Vahl, a Danish mycologist described Armillaria mellea as Agaricus mellea in 1790 , and it is now commonly known as Honey fungus. Honey fungus can destroy immense numbers of plants and a diverse range of species, mainly because of its immense network of spreading underground rhizomorphs which can attack vunerable roots of perennial plants and further the decaying of rotten wood. These Rhizomorphs dominate the top soil as a clearly visible creamy-white fungal mass or a pungent sheet of white fungal growth. Above ground, honey fungus toadstools indicate its presence. These fruiting bodies are honey-yellow brown in colour with 100-150mm diameter caps, and can appear briefly in autumn around the base of infected plants. According to the RHS, spores are of little importance and the Rhizomorphs or ‘bootlaces’ are the main concern, as they can infect perennials up to 30metres away making it a serious fear for gardeners in parks and gardens.

Planting in infected sites should be avoided for 12 months, and regular soil cultivation may destroy rhizomorphs, but importance is placed on plant stress. As selecting the correct species for the environment can minimize susceptibility to stress factors in the roots, making them more vulnerable to Honey fungus (Hortweek). This may be enhanced using biological mycorrhizal inoculation. Soil sterilisation can be employed along with fungicides (Hortweek).


image: Dealing with Honey Fungus - BBC Gardeners World Magazine


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