A whole ring of mushrooms!
Well, not quite whole, but you get the idea. Some humans call this a fairy ring, and we squirrels hate to disappoint you, but there is nothing magical about mushrooms growing a ring.
Or so says Miz Flora.
When Hickory and I found this ring, we took our elderly neighbor squirrel over to get her expert botanical opinion. This is what she said:
“Mushrooms are the fruiting bodies of fungus, and appear at the edges of the underground mycelia–like roots of fungus. Those mycelia grow outward in all directions from where it first sprouted. Do you kits see any signs of a tree once being here?”
Hickory and I poked around. “Here it is!”
“That fungus,” said Miz Flora, “started decomposing the tree, or likely the tree stump or its underground remains, if the humans had the stump ground out. It has spread every year, wider and wider, working to break down those wood cells. If you come back next fall after a good rain like we’ve had, then you’ll find another ring, just a bit bigger.”
“But what about the knocked over mushrooms?” Hickory asked. “Does that hurt the fungus?”
“Nope.” She flicked her tail. “That only stops them from spreading more spores. That fungus is doing fine underground.” She looked around. “But I sure would like to see another tree on this bare corner rather than grass.”
What squirrel wouldn’t?