South Charlotte

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Moisture, warm weather spark mushroom boom

Those ubiquitous mushrooms popping up all over southern Meck and Union County lawns are just the start of what's to come, according to a local expert – especially if hurricanes Hanna and Ike dump more rain on our region.

“It's probably going to be a pretty showy late summer, early fall for mushrooms,” thanks to the downpours we've already had, said David Grant, urban forester with Union County Cooperative Extension Service.

“Go get a mushroom guide and sit back and watch the show.”

Credit the flourish to the recent combination of moisture and warm temperatures. That allows the ever-present mushroom spores – those microscopic particles that easily find their way to soil via the wind, animals or lawn equipment – to germinate and multiply.

Grant says you're likely seeing two types of mushrooms around town. Fairy Ring mushrooms have pancake-like flat tops running as much as 6 inches across. Puff Balls are the round ones that explode into black dust if you hit one with your foot. Look, and even touch – provided you wear gloves or wash your hands well afterward, Grant said – but don't eat them.

Although some may find mushrooms unsightly lawn additions, Grant said, it's best to leave them alone. Mushrooms are a sign of a lot of things going right in the ecosystem: “It's nature's decomposer. It's turning organic matter into soil.”

Celeste Smith

Volleyball tournament is Saturday

Twenty volleyball teams from public and private high schools in the Charlotte region will participate in the seventh annual Serve for the Cure Volleyball Tournament on Saturday.

More than 250 players will compete to raise money for the Charlotte Affiliate of Susan G. Komen For The Cure. The tournament has raised more than $84,000 over the last six years. The event is sponsored by Sports Connection and Carolina Juniors Volleyball. It will be held at Charlotte Latin School off Providence Road.

Teams from southern Mecklenburg scheduled to participate include: Ardrey Kell, Charlotte Christian, Charlotte Country Day, Charlotte Latin Varsity, Jay Robinson, Providence Day, Providence High and South Mecklenburg.

Vanessa Willis

Toys for Tots Golf Tournament

Charlotte's first Toys for Tots Golf Tournament will be held at 10 a.m. Sept. 29 at Cedarwood Country Club.

Proceeds will be donated to Toys for Tots. Additional corporate sponsors, hole sponsors and silent auction donations are being sought to help support the charity event. Information is at www.ToysForTotsGolf.org or available by calling event organizer Burke Communications, 704-377-2600.

Toys for Tots is a Marine Corps service program that collects and provides Christmas gifts to children in need.

Staff reports
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