Hi.Can you help me with this?
Here is a picture of fungus(?) blooming like crazy. It started beneath my pine tree and has spread further. Should I try to change the ph of the soil by adding wood ashes? Would that get rid of this? Any advice would be most welcome. I live in Port Perry, Ontario. The area gets some morning and some evening sun. Thank you.
Thank you for contacting the Toronto Master gardeners with your inquiry.
Your photo shows a textbook example of Liverworts. Liverworts represent a branch of non-vascular plants. The name “liverworts” is derived from the belief in ancient times that the diseases of the liver could be cured with these plants. Liverworts are in the division Marchantiophyta. Instead of possessing regular roots, liverworts anchor themselves with relatively primitive and simple, one-celled appendages known as rhizoids. These primitive plants can be found in various palces in the garden- mainly on the soil and hard surfaces such as patio stones, although they can be found growing on plants.
Liverworts like mosses prefer moist, damp or even wet conditions and thrive in an area that does not recieve direct sunlight which is why they are thriving under your pine tree.
The fact that liverworts are thriving on your soil is a sign the soil is compact, airless and remains moist for much of the year. In order to keep liverworts from coming back you may have to alter some your gardening practices. Fertilizing will actually help the liverworts thrive, so cutting back on the fertilizer along with the amount of water will help.
Liverworts can be scrapped off relatively easily, but will return unless something is done to improve the compaction and drainage of the soil. Yearly addition of organic material or mulch will improve the porosity, compaction and drainage of the soil.
Improving the airflow in the area by pruning back older shrubs /branches that are low-hanging will also allow more sunlight and more air movement in the affected area and discourage liverwort growth.