pine straw digesters

Jack Murphy jmurphy at TFM.FMNH.ORG
Mon May 20 08:21:30 EST 1996

Roger <Roger at> suggests three mycorrhizal fungi as possible
"pine straw digesters."  I doubt any of these would suit
lkbonham at "Louis K. Bonham" 's purposes, which was, it seems, the
decomposition of pine needles.  Mycorrhizal fungi in general are not active
decomposers and even if you could get them to grow in your compost bed, they
wouldn't contribute much to its composting.  
        I'd suggest using a good litter decomposer.  I'm not familiar with
southern conditions, but in Virginia there are a variety of species of
Collybia, Marasmius, and Mycena which decompose pine detritus.  Other
decomposers in the Tricholomataceae would also do, like Clitocybe or
Lepista, for example.  Cultures of these might not be readily available, but
if you find mushrooms of these genera in the wild, you might just crush them
up and mix them with the pine straw. If they are still fresh when you do
this, then the crushed portions might colonize your pile.
        Perhaps others have had more experience in this arena?


Jack Murphy

Dr. John (Jack) Murphy  (JMURPHY at
Dept. of Botany
Field Museum of Natural History
Chicago, IL 60605-2496
(312) 922-9410 ext. 722
fax (312) 427-2530

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