Hello fellow readers,
I always enjoy hearing from Craig of Frelinghuysen. Without exception his garden dilemmas always bring a chuckle. Remember his willows gone wild with the icky sticky slime? Well this time he has two rings that have made reoccurring visits in his lawn over the past few years in the exact same place. Each one is about ten feet wide and spaced five feet apart.
He and Caroline live in front of a farm field and thought perhaps pesticides used over the years are causing the mysterious rings. Their wellhead is located in the vicinity so the worry of chemicals is certainly warranted. Craig worried the worst – that they’d discover contamination that would be cause for chemical remediation costing tens of thousands of dollars. ‘Maybe it would be best to sell and get out of Dodge before the discovery.’ Holy moly!
Leave it to Craig to drill down to get to the bottom of the mystery. So much so that he literally dug a three foot hole to investigate if indeed he had something buried in the yard – perhaps old abandoned silos he thought? Then Caroline’s research offered relief; revealing they likely have fairy rings.
Fairy rings show up in lawns during spring and summer months. They appear as dark green or brown circular bands ranging in size from a few inches to fifty feet. The fairy ring fungus grows outward a few inches to several feet a year. Mushrooms can then develop in a circle outside of the rings during spring and fall after periods of heavy rain.
Centuries ago people thought that the mushrooms appeared where fairies had danced the night before – hence the name fairy ring. Other folklore tells us that these bizarre formations are the work of supernatural beings or portals to other worlds.
There are about 60 mushroom species which can grow in the fairy ring pattern. Grass loving mushrooms such as the edible Scotch bonnet, Marasmius oreades, are the best known. Then there’s Agaricus campestris which are also edible but are often confused with Chlorophyllum molybdites which are poisonous.
It’s true it’s been a marvelous year for mushrooms. We had a volleyball sized fungi that we’ll have to chat about next week. I learned our neighbor Bill actually ate his volleyball. What a fun guy! Garden Dilemmas? askmarystone.com