Lawn mushrooms are a common problem in the landscape. They will rarely damage your grass, but it is frustrating to see them growing in your lawn because certain mushrooms are often considered unsightly, especially for those people who love a well-managed lawn. Even if you do not hold this opinion, you should keep in mind that an unmanaged lawn can decrease the real estate market value of your property.
Some types of mushrooms are edible, but others are poisonous. Poisonous mushrooms are a real problem in houses with kids and pets. Some mushrooms even stink badly; the most notorious example of these types are “stinkhorns.” But the problem of mushrooms growing in the lawn can be easily fixed if you know how to do it.
Factors that Help in Mushrooms Emergence:
If mushrooms appear in your yard, it means that you have fungus deep in your soil. The mushroom is caused by the fungus that thrives in the garden bed or lawn.
- The fungus lives on organic matter. This can be roots of shrubs decaying in the soil, underground plants, or some old buried timber pieces in lawns or wooded areas. Often, mushrooms will disappear when they have consumed all the organic material they were consuming.
- Groups of mushrooms can be produced in areas that receive prolonged rains.
- Overwatering your lawn or an unnoticed leak can also trigger sprouting of mushrooms.
- A combination of low light with moisture also creates an environment for mushrooms to make a temporary home.
Whatever the reason is, having mushrooms pop up in your lawn can be a nuisance and an eyesore.
Natural Ways to Get Rid of Mushrooms
If you want a garden without the pointed or rounded heads of mushrooms coming out of the soil, then you can treat the fungus in your yard, with a few natural solutions mentioned below:
- Pick out the mushrooms from the base as soon as they appear in your grass. The sooner their growth is controlled, the better it is, as once they appear, they have a chance to spread their spores. Removal of mushrooms at first sight further reduces the possibility of poisonous mushrooms consumed by kids and pets.
- Regularly mow the lawn and limit the supply of water because short and mowed grass dries up more quickly than tall grass, thus reducing the amount of moisture for mushrooms’ growth. Pull up and rake away all the leftovers before you start mowing so that the lawn-mower doesn’t disperse mushroom spores across the yard, creating an even bigger problem.
- Rake up grass clippings, leaves, and branches from your lawn. Fungi consume decaying matter, so removing food sources helps to suppress mushroom growth. Consider dethatching your lawn, particularly if a thick layer of thatch is between grass and soil. (Thatch: is a layer of interwoven dead grass).
- Make sure to aerate the lawn properly, to improve drainage and increase airflow throughout the lawn; this also removes the extra moisture from the soil and grass. For best results, rent an aerating machine to pull out small plugs of soil. If the fungal layer is thicker than 8 cm, an aerator may penetrate deep enough to dig small holes to break up the layer. You can clearly see the fungus layer if you cut out a small section of soil from the lawn with a spade or shovel.
- Dig up any soil where you see mushrooms growing and eradicate the buried pieces of wood, large roots of trees, and other decomposing matter that can feed the fungi. Scraps of lumber are sometimes buried at construction sites, which can serve the purpose of food for mushrooms. If you cut down shrubs or trees from your yard, remember to remove the roots as well to prevent future mushroom growth.
- Improve the light in your lawn by removing tree branches from an overly shaded area where mushrooms tend to grow. More light will evaporate the excess moisture from the lawn, which promotes mushrooms’ growth.
Use of Fertilizer to Kill Mushrooms
Contrary to common belief, the use of fungicide or lime in the lawn has almost no effect on the growth of mushrooms. Fungicides do not penetrate deep enough into the soil to kill mycelia (branching strands of fungus at the base of mushrooms), and many of the previously used products against mushrooms are illegal now. It’s also a popular belief that lime sweetens the soil, which increases the soil pH that inhibits mushroom growth, but mushrooms thrive in acidic and alkaline soil.
If you’ve had a persistent mushroom problem that is affecting the beauty of your lawn, then you may want to select a fertilizer to deal with these unwanted lawn guests. Use a nitrogenous fertilizer, such as ammonium sulfate, at a rate of five pounds per 1,000 square feet of lawn; it will prevent the mushroom growth. Nitrogen speeds up the decaying process of organic matter on which mushrooms feed. Don’t use a slow-release fertilizer.
Mistakes that should be avoided
A mistake people often make is simply plucking the mushrooms and throwing it in the garden bin or in the compost pile. Properly decompose the plucked plant by using a garbage bag and tie it off so the spores can’t spread around your lawn.
Mushrooms can also grow in houseplants and should be immediately plucked from the pots or containers. It can also be controlled by using a few drops of dish soap to a pint of water that will kill the mushrooms. Stick holes in the topsoil of the indoor plants and carefully spray this mixture onto the mushroom and not on the plant.
Fungi and the mushrooms that feed on it are essential to the natural decay cycle, which is necessary for the soil fertility. They don’t directly affect the lawn, so if you can live with them, there’s no need to worry about removing lawn mushrooms. Nevertheless, eliminating them is a good idea to protect children and animals from accidental poisoning.