Some people find mushrooms interesting, others find them tasty, and then there are those who freak out when they see mushrooms. This last type is usually homeowners, gardeners and lawn owners. However, the sudden appearance of mushrooms in the grass is not necessarily a bad thing. More often than not, it is a sign of beneficial lawn microbes at work, which is an integral part of a healthy lawn ecosystem. In this article, you will learn how to get rid of mushrooms in yard.
Photo Credit Do not panic if you see mushrooms appear suddenly on your lawn.
In some cases, however, mushrooms growing on your lawn indicate a serious lawn issue such as poor drainage and soil compaction. Moreover, mushrooms look unsightly, and there is nothing that can ruin a comfortable walk on your lawn than stepping on a squishy mushroom. So, how do you get rid of mushrooms on your lawn?
The first thing you need to do is figure out what is causing mushrooms to grow in your grass. It can be anything from overwatering to poor drainage to the increased organic matter in the lawn soil. Once you understand the elements causing mushrooms to grow in your grass, you can either use a home remedy or a commercial fungicide to get rid of mushrooms from your lawn.
That said, there is much more that you need to know about lawn mushrooms. Most of the time, they are not a threat to your grass or your lawn. So, instead of fearing mushrooms, try understanding the mushrooms and the causes of their growth. So, let’s get started!
What Are Mushrooms?
Photo Credit All mushrooms are fungi, but not all fungi are mushrooms.
Simply put, a mushroom is the fruit of a fungus. However, instead of producing seeds, a mushroom produces millions of microscopic spores that allow the fungi to reproduce and spread. The spores are spread by wind, water and other means from one place to the other.
Once they land on a suitable substrate, these spores germinate into fungi. Throughout most of its life, a fungus persists as a network of microscopic threads (hyphae). However, once the conditions become favorable, some hyphae become mushrooms, and the cycle starts again.
Why Do Mushrooms Grow In Grass?
Photo Credit Mushrooms usually appear in the grass when there is a lot of organic matter in lawn soil.
Fungi is naturally present in the lawn soil. You can actually see fungal hyphae in your lawn soil by probing it with a trowel, shovel, or long screwdriver. For much of the time, fungal bodies remain underground. However, when lawn conditions become suitable for fungal reproduction, hyphae give rise to mushrooms.
The right conditions for fungal reproduction or mushroom appearance in turfs are shade, increased moisture and the presence of excess organic matter. Read the paragraphs below to get a deeper understanding of the conditions which promote mushroom growth in lawns:
Increased Lawn Moisture
Mushrooms thrive in moist, damp and humid environments. That is why you often see mushrooms suddenly appear on your lawn after rain. Mushrooms might also appear in your grass if you frequently overwater your lawn or if there are any drainage issues in your yard which could increase soil moisture.
Soil Rich In Organic Matter
If your lawn soil is rich in dead or decaying organic matter, mushrooms will appear sooner or later. Thatch buildup, animal waste, grass clippings left behind after a mowing, compost or mulch can all increase organic matter content in your lawn soil.
Protected Spots & Shade
Mushrooms love a spot covered with shade and protected from disturbances such as movement or natural airflow. Such spots are a characteristic of lawn corners and places under trees and logs. These spots provide perfect conditions for the mushrooms to grow.
Warm & Humid Weather
Humid and warm weather is when mushrooms grow the most. It is why you see a boost in mushroom growth when temperatures reach around 80 degrees F, and there is increased rainfall. Generally, this happens in summer and autumn.
Should I Get Rid Of Mushrooms In My Lawn?
The sudden appearance of mushrooms in your yard can be weird and even problematic for the people who like having a green, uniform turf all across. However, mushrooms in your grass are not a bad thing. Mushrooms play a vital ecological role and increase soil fertility by breaking down the organic matter present in lawn soil.
So, do not panic and straight away spray a fungicide on your lawn if you see mushrooms growing in your grass. Removing mushrooms is, at best, a temporary fix. It is because mushrooms are merely the above-ground reproductive part of fungi.
Lawn soil naturally contains plenty of fungi. Fungi breaks down the dead and decaying organic matter present in the lawn soil. This can be anything from decaying wood logs to animal feces and from compost to grass clippings left on the lawn after mowing.
So, we highly suggest that you first analyze the causes of mushroom growth in your grass and then decide if you want to remove them or let them grow. And if you decide to remove mushrooms from your lawn, here are a few ways you can do it:
How Do I Rid My Lawn Of Mushrooms?
Photo Credit Only use fungicides as your last resort to get rid of mushrooms from your yard.
Since mushrooms grow when organic matter is present in the soil, you can wait for some time. When the fungi are done breaking down the organic matter, they will disappear on their own. However, getting rid of mushrooms quickly can help prevent the spread of fungal spores. Fungal spores can give rise to new fungi and mushrooms when the organic matter becomes available in the lawn soil again.
There are two ways you can rid your lawn of mushrooms. You can either do it with a natural product or use a fungicide. However, fungicides should only be used as a last resort as they contain harmful chemicals. Nonetheless, here are a few everyday household items that you can use to remove mushrooms from your lawn:
How To Kill Mushrooms Naturally?
Kill Mushrooms Using Vinegar
Photo Credit Vinegar contains acetic acid, which does an excellent job at killing mushrooms.
Before you go ahead and start pouring vinegar on mushrooms growing in your yard, you should know that common household or cooking vinegar is far too diluted to kill mushrooms. So, you will need to get your hands on horticultural vinegar, which is much more concentrated and can be used to kill the mushrooms in your yard.
To kill mushrooms using vinegar, mix four parts of water with one part of horticultural vinegar. You can put the mixture in a spray bottle for easy use. Make sure that you wear gloves and eye protection during the whole process to avoid acid burn.
Now, spray the mushrooms with the vinegar solitons, and they will die within two to three days. You might need to apply vinegar more than once. Also, avoid spraying this solution on the grass as the vinegar can also damage or kill the grass.
Kill Mushrooms Using Dish Soap
Photo Credit Dish soap kills mushrooms by drying them out.
Another great way of killing mushrooms on your grass is to use dish soap. It is easy, affordable and very convenient. All you have to do is pour around two gallons of water into a bucket and then add three to four tablespoons of dish soap to it.
Next, stir the mixture thoroughly and put the mixture in a spray bottle for ease of application. Once you have done that, take a screwdriver and poke holes in and around the soil where mushrooms are growing on your lawn.
Pour the dish soap solution onto the mushrooms and into the holes and repeat the process three to four times a week. This will kill the mushroom by drying it out and prevent the growth of fungus underneath the soil.
Kill Mushrooms Using Baking Soda
Photo Credit Baking soda kills mushrooms by raising the pH of the soil.
Mushrooms and fungi grow best in acidic soil, so if you raise the pH of the soil, you can get rid of fungi and mushrooms from your lawn. To do this, you can use the common household item baking soda, otherwise known as sodium bicarbonate.
It is non-toxic, economical and readily available. To kill mushrooms using baking soda, mix two tablespoons of baking soda in a gallon of water. Mix it well, and then spray the mixture on the mushrooms in your lawn and surrounding soil.
Alternatively, you can sprinkle baking soda on mushrooms and water the area. After a few applications, it will stop mushrooms from growing and kill existing ones. However, note that extreme changes in soil pH can also impact grass growth.
Remove Mushrooms Manually
Photo Credit Wear gloves when removing mushrooms with your hands.
If there are only a few mushrooms in your grass and you do not want to go through the trouble of preparing materials, you can simply remove the mushrooms manually. You can either do it with your hands or use a sharp object such as a knife to do the job.
Whatever tool you use, make sure that you remove as much fungi as possible and dispose of it properly. If you are using your hands to remove mushrooms, wear gloves, put the mushroom in a plastic bag, seal it tightly and get rid of it.
Do not put the mushrooms in compost. Their spores can regrow into new fungi and mushrooms once they enter the soil and conditions become favorable.
Kill Mushrooms With Fungicides
Photo Credit If nothing else works, fungicides will.
Using fungicides is the quickest and easiest way of getting rid of mushrooms in your yard. There are many types of fungicides available in the market. However, they should be used with caution as they contain harmful chemicals.
You might need to apply fungicides to the grass several times before entirely getting rid of mushrooms from your lawn. Some fungicides are also available in granular form. You can throw them on your lawn and then water the grass.
However, fungicides or, as a matter of fact, all the methods that have been described above are only temporary solutions. It is because you are only killing and removing the reproductive body, the mushroom, not the fungi itself. So, when the conditions become favorable, mushrooms can and, in most cases, will return. Therefore, in order to get rid of mushrooms permanently from your lawn, you need to improve lawn conditions. Here is how you can do it:
How to prevent mushrooms from growing in your yard?
If your lawn has dead or decaying organic matter, mushrooms will appear on it sooner or later. However, you can do a few things to discourage extensive mushroom growth on your lawn. This involves making the lawn environment inhospitable to fungal growth.
Here is how you can do it step by step:
Increased moisture in the lawn soil is one of the main reasons for fungal growth. If you water your lawn deeply and infrequently, it will keep moisture locked in deeper soil layers. This moisture is still enough to sustain grass growth; however, it will discourage fungal and mushroom growth in your yard.
Aerate Your Lawn
Fungi grow best when lawn soil becomes compact or when too much thatch accumulates on the grass. Both of these issues can be solved with soil aeration. Aeration will bring lawn microbes up to the surface, which will help in thatch breakdown and will discourage fungi from making extensive hyphal networks in the ground.
Apply A Nitrogen Rich Fertilizer
Another way to discourage fungal growth in your lawn is by adding a nitrogen-rich fertilizer. It will accelerate grass growth and the decay of organic matter. And when the turf is thick, and there is less organic matter in the soil, it automatically discourages mushroom growth.
Remove Organic Debris
If there are excessive grass clipping, thatch, fallen leaves and piles of logs in your yard, we suggest that you remove them. It will significantly reduce the amount of organic matter in the soil, negatively impacting mushroom growth.
Fix Lawn Shade & Drainage Issues
Fungi grow best in moist, damp and shady places. So, if there are shade or drainage issues in your lawn, mushroom growth is inevitable. So, fixing these issues will also be critical to preventing mushroom growth in your yard.
Conclusion | Mushrooms in the Lawn: Good or Bad?
Sure, the sudden appearance of mushrooms in the yard can be frustrating and weird, but there is no need to fear mushrooms. Most of the time, they indicate healthy lawn soil and do not pose any threats to your turf. So, instead of hating mushrooms, try understanding them and the reasons for their growth.
That way, you will be able to better address the mushroom issue of your lawn, prevent mushrooms from coming back, and make your turf healthier and look better.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
What does it mean when you have mushrooms growing in your garden?
The presence of mushrooms in the lawn, yard or garden means the presence of organic matter in the soil. Once the organic matter breaks down, mushrooms will disappear. However, in some cases presence of mushrooms means drainage, aeration, shade, and compaction issues in your yard which will need to be fixed, or your yard health will deteriorate.
Can I mow over mushrooms?
While you can mow over mushrooms in your grass, you will risk spreading mushroom pieces on your lawn that look messy and can also spread fungal spores in your yard. So, we suggest that you remove them manually and then mow your grass.
Are mushrooms poisonous to dogs?
Most mushrooms are not poisonous; however, it is not to say that you should let your pets eat mushrooms that grow in the grass.
Sources for Further Reading
- Mushrooms in the Yard: To Eat or Not to Eat has been a Common Question – The Ohio State University Extension
- Mushrooms in lawns – University of Minnesota ExtensionMushrooms and Other Nuisance Fungi in Lawns – Agriculture and Natural Resources, University of California
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