Mysterious root masses

Credit: Flickr /

Q: I live on an oceanfront property and have been finding horrible root masses in my raised beds. No plants – just root masses. The root masses are increasing every year and are becoming more difficult to dig up – HELP!

I believe you are describing the fungus mycorrhizae. It is one of numerous fungi that coexist symbiotically with vegetation root systems. Therefore, mycorrhizae is beneficial to many plants. The fungi gain nourishment from the plant’s root system while the plant is able to absorb nutrients more efficiently. The end result is a healthier plant. A similar relationship is seen between “nodules” and legume plants, e.g. bean and pea in your vegetable garden.