This section is from the book "The Gardener V1", by William Thomson. Also available from Amazon: The New Organic Grower: A Master's Manual of Tools and Techniques for the Home and Market Gardener.
"We have known wooden stakes, such as you refer to, spawn the soil round them with fungi, which would be quite likely to attack the roots of Pear or Apple trees. We have also seen tallies made of white wood infest the soil of the pots they were in, in the same way, and injure the plants; and sawdust is sure to give rise to it. We would never put sawdust on the ground to keep Strawberries clean - spent hops, straw, or short grass, are better and safer every way: we prefer wheat-straw to anything for the purpose.