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August 11, 2018

QuestionI planted phlox this year and I noticed some weird looking things on top of the soil. They appeared in clumps. Do you know what they are?

Picture of birds nest fungi



You have a type of cup shaped mushroom known as one of the birds nest fungi.  They look just like a tiny birds next with eggs inside.  The egg-like structures are filled with the spores of the fungus.   They will actually help your mulch break down into humus or compost, so they are beneficial.   They often appear in mulch, around dead trees or in soils heavily amended with compost.  The cup actually catches rain as it falls which then will eject the “eggs” out.  Where they land they begin the process all over again.      


June 16, 2018



 Help our phlox is started turning brown at the base and worked its way up. The stems are growing very tall as well.


AnswerPhlox can suffer from several diseases from root rot to powdery mildew.  Heavy soils, planting too close together or overwatering can all lead to problems.  Tall thin plants can also be due to lack of sunlight.  Take a sample of your phlox with some pictures in to your local county extension office.  If they cannot diagnose the issue they can send it to the disease diagnostic lab. 


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