NEWBERRY — A rosebush, flowers and giant clusters of brown mushrooms can all be found in Joy Cooper’s backyard.
The mushrooms, which mostly grow in Cooper’s flowerbed, are an unwanted and unexplained presence.
“I’ve got two giant mushrooms growing in a flowerbed,” Cooper said. “I’ve got no idea why they’re here.”
Cooper said she first noticed the mushrooms two years ago, but she had never seen anything similar to them before then.
“I was born and raised in the country, on a farm, and I’ve never seen anything like them,” Cooper said.
The mushrooms are similarly mysterious to Kim Bagwell, Cooper’s neighbor, who helps Cooper remove the mushrooms as they spring up.
“(Bagwell) is always helping me with something in the yard,” Cooper said. “She’s just a wonderful neighbor.”
Bagwell guessed the mushrooms may be connected to the soft soil in Cooper’s yard and said they do not grow in her yard.
“I’ve never seen anything like them, and I’ve lived in Newberry my whole life,” Bagwell said. “She’s the only one who gets them.”
Both women said this year the mushrooms have appeared more often and grown more quickly than they usually do.
“Before it was just one at a time,” Bagwell said. “I’ve probably dug up around 10 this year.”
Aside from being sudden and unwanted, the mushrooms also threaten the plants in Cooper’s flowerbed. Cooper said her rosebush was a near casualty of the mushrooms last year.
“They’re not too bad to dig up, but they’ll kill anything that’s around them,” Bagwell said.
Cooper said while the mushrooms threaten the plants in her garden, uncertainty about what the mushrooms are and concerns about wildlife keep her from using fungicide or pesticides.
Cooper said she hopes to identify the mushrooms and learn how to prevent them in the immediate future.
“I’ve bought plastic bags, so I can take soil samples,” Cooper said.
She plans to take samples of her soil and the mushrooms to an extension agent from Clemson University. This will be her second attempt at gaining insight into what is causing the mushrooms.
“I spoke to someone previously, but he told me he dealt in cotton,” Cooper said.
Cooper hopes she will soon have her mushroom problem solved.
“I like little fried mushrooms, but these are getting ridiculous,” Cooper said.