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I have this mushroom or fungus-type growth that looks like coral growing in the mulch under my hollies and rhododendrons. Is it harmful to my plants? If so, is there any way to eradicate it short of digging out all the mulch? Denise


Crown-tipped Coral Fungus Hi Denise,
That is a wonderful photo of Crown-tipped Coral Fungus (Artomyces pyxidatus or Clavicorona pyxidata). This is a very common and widespread coral fungus in eastern North America. The flesh of the Crown-tipped Coral Fungus is tough and pliable; not brittle. It is saprobic, which means it obtains nutrients from rotting wood. It grows alone or in groups on dead, well-rotted wood of hardwoods, especially aspen, willow, maple, tulip tree and cottonwood during spring, summer and fall. It is not at all harmful to your plants. There must be a buried stump or root that the fungus is growing on.

If you don't like the way it looks in your garden bed, all you need to do is to use a rake to clear it away. Thank you for your question and great picture.

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About Linda Lillie

Linda K. Lillie is the President of Sprigs & Twigs, Inc, the premier landscape design and maintenance, tree care, lawn care, stonework, and carpentry service provider in southeastern Connecticut since 1997. She is a graduate of Connecticut College in Botany, a Connecticut Master Gardener and a national award winning landscape designer for her landscape design and landscape installation work.


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