6 Effective Ways to Get Rid of White Fungus Balls in Soil

White fungus balls, also known as mycorrhizal help, refers to a group of fungi that form symbiotic relationships with the roots of most plants.

They are found all over the world and can live in both soil and sand.

White fungus (mycorrhizal fungi) on the soil is caused by certain types of plants that are incompatible for a symbiotic relationship with mycorrhizal fungi, specifically, legumes.

It can also cause many problems in soil, including nitrogen deficiency in some plants. Due to its fast growth, it absorbs nutrients before plant roots can absorb them.

White fungus balls on the ground
Source: Bernard Spragg (Flickr)

How does white fungus look like

The white fungus appears as small balls on the surface of the soil.

When these balls are sliced open, they reveal stringy filaments which branch out from a central stem.

These tiny threads release enzymes that absorb nutrients from the surrounding area more efficiently than their rootless counterparts.  

Plants that have developed a relationship with this type of fungus allow some proportion of their nutrient uptake to be siphoned off by the fungus. This is due to their increased ability to gather food through the enzyme-induced breakdown of organic matter.

Effects of white fungus balls on the soil

These white fungus balls can be extremely harmful to soil and gardeners.

The fungus begins by absorbing nutrients from the surrounding area and storing them in their fruiting bodies or sporophores.

The main effect that these spores have is that they will severely reduce the overall nutrient level of the soil around them. It can kill most other live beings around its environment including beneficial bacteria, insects, worms, etc.  

However, the most damaging part about this is that mycorrhizal fungus has been proven to absorb nitrogen from plant roots before plants themselves can absorb it.  

And if enough of these fungi grow near one another, they can severely inhibit the growth of plants in an area.

Is white fungus harmful to humans

Even though these spores don’t directly harm humans, many people are allergic to them. If their skin comes in contact with these fungi, they may become itchy or develop a rash.

A whole bunch of white fungus balls
Source: Roman K (Flickr)

White fungal spores have also been shown to cause respiratory problems when inhaled by people with lung conditions such as asthma.

So if you or anyone living at home has allergies, it’s better to avoid coming into contact with them until symptoms subside.  

How to get rid of white fungus balls on soil

There are many things that you can do when trying to remove white fungus from your garden. Here’s a list of some different methods:

1. Dig up the soil and throw the fungus out

The most straightforward method involves simply digging up and throwing away all soil that contains any type of mycorrhizal fungi spore.

But this tends not to be effective because it requires such a large area to be cleared out, and most spores tend to spread rather quickly within their environment, thus creating infested areas nearby that weren’t there before.

It is however, the preferred method for people who are unable to remove their garden or deal with other methods.

2. Use a fungicide

The next thing you can do is to use a fungicide on your soil, killing any mycorrhizal fungi growth in your ground.

This is a more common solution, but it can be expensive, and it’s not guaranteed that all spores will die when using this method.  

It would be best if you still tried digging up as much fungus as possible before using a fungicide for the best results.

3. Add sawdust or shredded leaves

You can get rid of these white fungus balls from your garden is to add sawdust or shredded brown leaves into the soil, which reduces the amount of light reaching the fungi spore, therefore, inhibiting its growth process.

This method is relatively inexpensive, and it’s better to use than fungicide because it doesn’t kill the beneficial bacteria around these spores.

5. Apply manure on your soil

Another way to get rid of them is by applying a layer of manure on top of your soil, which has been shown to be effective against mycorrhizal fungi fungal growths because they are so heavily competing for plant roots. Still, this method isn’t as efficient as using sawdust or shredded leaves.

There are also other types of pesticides that you could apply to your garden, including insecticidal soap, which can help you get rid of white fungus balls without spending too much money.

It may not be as effective as other chemicals that you can purchase at stores because it does not work on all types of fungi.

6. Apply a thick layer of mulch

Finally, you can also apply a thick layer of mulch to your garden, which will not only get rid of the white fungus balls but will also help improve soil conditions.

You can use any organic matter such as leaves or grass clippings to add a new protective barrier over the fungus while improving the quality of the soil by naturally fertilizing it and increasing airflow.


Currently, no product on store shelves works perfectly against white fungus balls in the soil because they are hard to destroy entirely.

Most products end up damaging other beneficial bacteria around your garden rather than just destroying harmful spores.

But do keep in mind that if you have been exposed to mycorrhizal fungi in the past, then you may be sensitive to them and should contact your doctor if you start feeling ill after exposure.