White substance in my soil

Question ...

I've found a strange white substance in my soil and would like to know what it is, and whether we should be worried about it. Advice received from friends so far ranges from 'ignore it' to 'dig out every last crumb'.

Answer ...

There is absolutely no need to worry - 'ignore it' is the correct advice. This white deposit is called mycelium. It is a naturally occurring fungus whose job it is to breakdown organic material. You'll find it on bits of wood buried in the soil, on rotting straw or woody bits in compost heaps, on leafmould and manure in the soil - the list is almost endless. You're unlikely to find it in soil which never has bulky organic material added, so clearly some gardens will have more than others.

Neither plants nor wildlife (nor humans) are harmed by mycelium, and there is certainly no need to dig it out.

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