These cute little orchard visitors that pop up during rainy autumns and winter are not visits from the fairy kingdom but rather short-lived fruiting bodies of vines infected with Armillaria.
White mycelial mats can often also be found under the bark at the soil line and dark, rootlike structures called rhizomorphs grow from the root into the soil after symptoms develop on vines.
The fungal pathogen survives on diseased wood and roots below ground for many years. Healthy plant roots can become infected when they come in contact with inoculum from a preceding orchard crop and although kiwifruit plants are somewhat tolerant of this fungus, if the vine has already been weakened by Phytophthora infection, its death may be hastened by such an invasion.
A good reminder that when clearing land for planting or replanting vines, carefully remove and burn roots one inch or greater in diameter. Ensure planted vines are properly irrigated and not overwatered.