View Full Version : Fungal growth in/on soil in sub-area

william wood
09-05-2007, 05:15 PM

Found these growths in a sub-area recently that covered an area aprox 80-100 sq feet (not solidly); soil was damp but not wet; no visible plumbing leaks; very level home with no signs of uneven settlement.
The growths were partially bulbous but mostly resembled the type of flat growths you've seen on rotting tree stumps except these were reddish in color.
Oddly, I was under the house next door last year taking pictures of a large area of subsidence that was causing very severe settlement to the center of the home. That home is still empty and now has a number of attorneys firmly attached.
Both homes built 1940's to 50's.
Think the two are related?
No one, including the city engineer has come up with an explanation for the settling house; no city sewer trunk or canal pipe in that area to collapse (according to their records).


Scott Patterson
09-06-2007, 06:10 AM
Without pulling out my crystal ball, I would say that if you dig down or take some core samples you will find organic matter. Most likely tree roots are in that area. Even if a tree is not within 50' of the home it could still send roots out. Also large shrubs can produce some huge roots. If this was a newer home I would have bet that the builder covered over tree stumps.

You might not see any trees or shrubs if they were cut down. But their roots are still in place and rotting or decomposing away. This is why you see the oyster or shelf mushrooms growing. Roots underground can cause major subsidence when they rot away.

william wood
09-06-2007, 02:14 PM
Thanks Scott;

That sounds like a logical explanation.
Also the client talked to a neighbor who found a similar growth in her backyard after she ordered some fill dirt; that sounded like imported spores.


Greg D. Dames
04-23-2008, 10:05 AM
William - Beautiful photos thank you for sharing .. With out a sample my best guess is that it's a fruiting body of a wood decay basidiomycetes (mainly grows on wood, sometimes it can also be found growing on soil). This fungus rapidly degrades cellulose and lignin (which give strength of the wood) and as a result wood is degraded. It does not produce any mycotoxin and not harmful to humans (but not edible). It produces abundant basidiospores (lower surface of the fruiting body), as a result some people may get allergy if exposed to large numbers of spores. Again, it's a harmless fungus but can rapidly degrade the wood.

Don't know that you wanted to really know but got my two cents in anyway.

Best Regards
Greg D. Dames
National ThermoGraphic Inspections
Pacific Mold Assessment