Updated: Feb 15
At this time of the year, our gardens might see strange visitors popping up overnight while the ground is still warm and damp with rain. They come in all shapes, sizes and colours. Cue spooky music.
But there is a strain that has a deadly tone to the plants that we love and tend to throughout the year. In some cases, you might not even know you have it until you lose a healthy tree/shrub.
I'm talking about Honey Fungus, this is the horror of the garden: it is the most destructive fungus of the garden, spreading underground with its bootlaces attacking the roots of your plants weakening and slowly killing them over several years. Not all plants are immune but some are better at coping with this dark destroyer.
It spreads through infected roots, travelling from plant to plant but also long distances - up to 100 feet from the source of infection which makes it so destructive.
You might see mushrooms with honey colour toadstools if the conditions allow, bleeding from cracked bark. In other cases, the plant starts to die back slowly whilst giving a bumper crop of fruits or even suddenly dying because the root system has been under attack.
There is no chemical treatment/control:
However, a barrier like a pond liner to stop the rhizomorphs (bootlaces) from travelling to your prize plants can help. It should stand out from the ground slightly however I feel this is not a look I like to achieve.
Otherwise, you can dig it out and burn it or sent it to landfill, do not compost. It is best to get all the affected area out to discourage the fungus from finding the next victim it needs to feed.
The absent of toadstools doesn't mean it is not active.
The RHS Honey Fungus Plant List is a great place to find out if your plants are susceptible to Honey Fungus.