If you take good care of your lawn, you may be frustrated and confused to see mushrooms suddenly popping up. Many times, mushrooms seem to appear and take over the yard in a matter of a few hours. This can be quite alarming to yard enthusiasts. However, unlike other common yard nuisances like weeds and pests, mushrooms can actually be a sign that you are doing things correctly!
So, why does your lawn have mushrooms if you are caring for it properly? Mushrooms are a part of the fungi family that resides deep down in the soil of your yard, breaking down organic material. However, when the conditions are just right, mushrooms spring up into sight! This is especially common during rainy seasons as fungi thrive on moisture.
What do mushrooms tell you about the health of your lawn? How do you get rid of them when they begin to take over? Can they cause more harm than good? These questions and more will be answered in today’s post. Keep reading to learn more!
Identifying Mushrooms in Your Lawn
Mushrooms in your lawn can appear in many forms. From the traditional mushroom shape that we are all familiar with to round “puffball” mushrooms. These kinds of mushrooms are usually an excellent sign that your yard and lawn is healthy! Healthy mushrooms can be removed if you wish. However, they typically do not pose a threat to the health of your lawn.
Other types of fungi that spread across the lawn such as blight or brown patch fungus can actually be destructive to your yard. Because of this, it is important to address this type of fungi. Determining the root cause of the fungi or mushrooms is the best way to create a treatment plan. In the following sections, we will share several ways to address the mushrooms growing in your yard.
Why Mushrooms Grow in Your Lawn
Mushrooms typically grow in your lawn as a sign of health. When mushrooms begin to show up in your yard, it’s a sign that your soil is healthy and full of good organic material. During wet or rainy seasons, mushrooms flourish. This is typically when you will notice them appearing on the surface of your yard.
However, even if mushrooms are not visible on the surface of your lawn, they are still hard at work underneath the soil. Fungi is responsible for breaking down the organic material in your soil. By doing so, they encourage healthy and productive soil that allows your lawn to continue to thrive.
When moisture hits the soil, mushrooms release their spores into the air. This causes an increase in visible mushrooms. However, once the sun appears and begins to dry out the soil, the mushrooms will die once again and the cycle repeats.
How to Get Rid of Mushrooms in Your Lawn
Most mushrooms in your lawn are not harmful. However, it can be frustrating to deal with a yard that seems as if it has been taken over by fungi. If you choose to get rid of the mushrooms in your lawn for any reason, there are many steps you can take.
Decrease the Amount of Shade in Affected Areas
Mushrooms thrive in damp, dark areas. This is why you will almost always notice more mushrooms under trees, bushes, and furniture than you will in the middle of your lawn. If you are experiencing mushrooms that are mostly focused in the shady areas of your yard, you can decrease the amount of shade to those areas.
This can be accomplished by trimming overgrown bushes and trees. It can also be helpful to move the furniture or yard toys to a more sunny location to eliminate the shaded areas during wet seasons.
Aerate the Soil in Your Yard
When the soil in your yard becomes compacted, it is much more likely to stay damp for extended periods of time. This causes an outbreak of mushrooms. One of the ways to combat compacted soil is to aerate the lawn. When you aerate the lawn, you are increasing the flow of oxygen to the roots of your grass. By doing so, you allow the roots to soak up the rainwater more effectively.
Excessive amounts of thatch in the lawn can also create damp soil. Aerating is one way to reverse this common lawn woe. However, if thatch is the culprit of your mushroom infestation, you may need to dethatch your lawn.
Remove Dead Trees
The organic matter left in the ground due to dead tree stumps or roots is a feast for mushrooms. If you have tree stumps that remain in your yard, you are inviting the mushrooms to stick around. Removing any stumps, including the entire root system, will eliminate the food for mushrooms to feast on.
Clean Up Pet Waste
If you have a furry friend that you don’t regularly clean up after, you are providing extra organic matter for the mushrooms to feast on. Removing pet waste from your yard eliminates this extra source of fungi fuel. In doing so, you can decrease the appearance of mushrooms in your lawn.
Apply a Nitrogen Fertilizer
One of the ways to discourage fungi growth is to apply nitrogen fertilizer to your lawn. Nitrogen fertilizers work by quickly decomposing the organic matter in your soil. Because this organic matter is fuel for mushrooms, you will eliminate their main energy source.
You can also add phosphorus or potassium to the fertilizer mix for increased efficacy. If you decide to take this approach to remove the mushrooms from your lawn, you will need to repeat the process annually to continue to appreciate the results.
Remove the Mushrooms Quickly
If the mushrooms in your lawn only occupy a small area of the yard, the most effective of removal may be to simply pick them. Removing the mushrooms as soon as you notice them appear is the best way to eliminate the spread of fungi spores. If the mushrooms are in your lawn for a longer period of time, they will have the ability to spread their spores through the air. This is how mushrooms quickly take over your yard.
When you remove the mushrooms from your yard, make sure to dispose of them properly. Simply throwing them in the back corner of your yard is not sufficient if complete elimination is your goal. Remember that mushrooms spread through the air. Because of this, it is best to dispose of the mushrooms in a trash bag.
Adjust Your Watering Habits
In addition to the natural moisture provided by rain and morning dew, watering your lawn with sprinklers can cause an increase in mushrooms. If you are noticing more mushrooms than normal, you may need to adjust your watering habits. Watering your lawn too much will prevent the grass from fully absorbing the moisture. This creates the ideal scenario for fungi to populate.
Are Mushrooms in the Lawn Dangerous?
Most mushrooms that grow in your lawn are not dangerous or toxic. However, it is best to treat them as if they were. If you have small children or pets in your household, it is wise to remove mushrooms from your yard. There are a few types of mushrooms that are toxic to humans and animals. Although it is rare to have these toxic mushrooms in your lawn, it is always best to eliminate the possibility.
Having mushrooms suddenly appear in your perfectly manicured lawn can be incredibly frustrating. The product of an ideal environment, mushrooms are actually a good indication that your soil is in great condition! By addressing the underlying cause of the fungi problem, you can quickly eliminate these harmless pests from your yard.
Thank you for reading American Lawns! You can find more helpful lawn tips here.
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