Mushrooms are one of the organisms you can find growing in your garden. Many assume they are plants due to their appearance. But many facts and studies prove that they are a kind of fungi.
Owing to this, various questions arise, and a common one is, are mushrooms decomposers or producers?
Are Mushrooms Decomposers Or Producers?
Mushrooms are decomposers by nature. They are not producers like plants. Mushrooms, just like other fungi, feed on decaying and dead materials instead. Moreover, one of the most common places they grow is on a dead tree trunk.
What’s more, the role of fungi like mushrooms is to decompose materials. Nevertheless, they restore useful nutrients to the soil while doing so.
Now you’re certain that mushrooms are decomposers. Still, you might want to know why they are not considered producers like plants.
Keep reading as we explain this in detail below.
Why is Mushroom Not a Producer?
Mushrooms do not make their food. Every producer makes its food in different ways. Mushrooms may look like plants, but they don’t feed like them.
Plants contain chlorophyll, which is a pigment that helps them to create their food via photosynthesis. It’s part of what makes plants producers.
Mushrooms are fungi, and chlorophyll is absent in every kind of fungi. Hence, what they do instead is decompose organic materials and at the same time feed on them.
Is Mushroom Harmful to Your Plants?
Whether mushrooms grow in your potting soil or your garden soil, they will not harm your plants. Many believe that mushrooms take away nutrients from the soil, which isn’t true.
They’re decomposers, but that doesn’t mean that they will degrade your plants too. Not at all! They only work on dead or decaying matter.
Mushrooms will instead enrich the soil and restore nutrients to plants. This is a major role of decomposers.
Furthermore, when they grow so much in the garden, many find it annoying and get rid of them.
However, it’s more beneficial to collect them and prepare them into mushroom compost. This way, you can apply it to your plants as fertilizer.
How Do Mushrooms Benefit Your Garden?
Mushrooms on your garden’s soil indicate that your garden is doing pretty well. There are so many ways mushrooms can benefit your garden.
Take a look at 6 of them :
1. Nourishes Plants and Soil
During the process of decomposing matter, mushrooms restore nutrients to the soil. They break down matter in their complex forms into useful minerals that plants can easily absorb.
This process is important for soil fertility and plant growth. And it makes mushroom compost a great organic fertilizer to use in your garden. Interestingly, there’ll be no need to fertilize your plants if you use mushroom compost.
2. Prevents Soil Compaction
Certain factors, like foot traffic and excess moisture, can make a soil surface hard and compact. However, mushroom compost can help prevent this problem in your garden.
In addition, when excess water can’t drain out quickly due to the compact nature of the soil, the roots of the plants can start to decay. As decomposers, mushrooms help loosen soil and, at the same time, help drain water properly from the soil.
3. Flexibility of Use
Interestingly enough, you can apply mushroom compost in many ways in your garden. On one hand, you can shove it deep into the seedbed where you want to grow your vegetables or flowers.
On the other hand, you apply them over your plants as top-dressing. Whichever way you choose to use the mushroom compost in your garden, it will be effective.
4. Increases Soil Water-Holding Capacity
Mushrooms, especially as compost, contain humus in high quantities. This humus encourages water retention in the soil. This way, plants grown on the soil won’t suffer from under-watering issues.
Additionally, in warmer seasons, the number of times you water your plants will reduce compared to when you didn’t add mushroom compost to the soil.
5. Protection Against Garden Pests and Weeds
A good thing about mushroom compost is that it’s steam sterilized. And this helps with pest and weed prevention.
This, in turn, ensures that you grow healthy plants that are not affected by diseases and weeds. Above all, mushroom compost improves a plant’s defense against viral diseases.
6. Eco-Friendly Fertilization
Applying mushroom compost to the soil is healthier than using artificial fertilizers. This is because mushrooms are organic fertilizers containing organic substances.
In addition, unlike artificial fertilizers, mushroom compost won’t release toxic chemicals that can be harmful to plants in the soil.
Learn more from another post: Is A Mushroom A Producer?
To sum up, you now know that mushrooms are decomposers and not producers. They decompose plant matter and equally feed on dead materials.
They would have been producers if they could make their food. But they don’t do this! They are consumers instead.
Many might have assumed they were annoying like weeds on the soil. However, this article has helped you understand how highly beneficial these decomposers are to garden plants.
Moreover, using mushrooms, especially as compost, is a great way to promote plant growth in your garden organically.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is Mushroom a Primary Decomposer?
Since they are fungi, mushrooms are mostly primary decomposers in the ecosystem. We refer to secondary consumers as those helping hands during decomposition.
They work with bacteria and fungi in the further decomposition of organic matter. This could be in soil or compost piles.
In addition to this, the forms of organic matter that secondary decomposers break down are those that primary decomposers have already broken down to some extent.
Are Mushrooms Plants?
No, mushrooms are not plants. They are fungi and belong to their kingdom, which is different from that of plants. In other words, they belong to the kingdom of Fungi and not Plantae.
They are heterotrophs and don’t manufacture their food as plants do. So this makes them different organisms from plants.
Is Mushroom a Consumer?
A mushroom is considered to be a consumer since it feeds and gets its energy and nutrients from other sources, particularly decaying organic materials.
Mushrooms don’t make their food, and that’s why they’re not producers. Generally, fungi, along with bacteria and many protists, are consumers.
Hey, I’m Lisa and I’ve been an avid gardener for over 30 years. I love writing, talking and living in the garden! Feel free to connect with me on my socials below