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Controlling puff balls and toadstools

SOME years ago I gathered pine needles to put as a mulch on the garden at my holiday home at Twizel. Unfortunately, since then I've had big toadstools growing among my plants, and now this season, puff balls and small toadstools are growing in the lawn. In spite of digging them up, white spores and all, pouring boiling water on the spots and adding compost, they still persist. Because of the intense heat and the need for watering, the soil becomes leached out of any nutrients and as I'm there only at holiday times, I have a problem. Is there some solution that I could put on that would improve the soil in garden and lawns? Now, later in the season, red-capped toadstools have appeared on the edges of the lawns and in the shingled drive. I would be most grateful if you can help me defeat these invaders.


ONE problem with gathering mulch from the wild is that you run the risk of introducing unwanted elements to your garden. Plant material can harbour all sorts of nasty insects, fungal and bacterial problems that can boom in numbers when they get into a home garden environment. The fungal spores in your garden would have been present on the forest floor. Pine needles are also slightly acidic and need to be added with something like lawn clippings to help them decay faster. Try spraying or drenching the area with Yates Fungus Fighter or Greenguard. This will kill off a lot of the spores, but you will need to persist, as they spread by water or wind. The other alternative to try is to sterilise your soil with Yates Basamid Granules. To do this you need to remove the plants in the garden and apply the granules.

Weekend Gardener, Issue 106, 2002, Page 24

Reproduced with permission from the former Weekend Gardener magazine. The views expressed here are not necessarily those of the RNZIH.

Andrew Maloy Weekend Gardener

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