White roots in dead pine needles

Q: I’ve dug up some strange white organic material while planting a hedge row in my back yard. The ground was neglected for several years and is covered with a thick layer of pine needles and pine cones. Should I be concerned about this?

A: Mycelia is exactly what you have. You are witnessing the natural decomposition of organic matter to humus.

Fungi do not have roots; rather they rely on white, thread-like hyphae to digest organic material. Fungal hyphae don’t normally attack healthy plants. Even so, before planting, I would rake away the decomposing pine straw and distribute it into other parts of your landscape.

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