A mushroom is a fleshy, spore-bearing fruiting body of a fungus that grows above ground, on soil, or on its food source. Some mushrooms are sometimes known as toadstools, but toadstools are typically poisonous.
Mushrooms belong in a kingdom of their own–Fungi, as opposed to Plantae or Animalia. Plants, in general, make their food using the sun’s energy by means of photosynthesis, whereas animals eat and then digest their food internally.
Fungi, on the other hand, grow into or around their food source. They then secrete enzymes that digest the food externally and then absorb the digested nutrients.
Beautiful and unusual lawn mushrooms are intriguing, but because some are poisonous, you should avoid touching or eating any unknown wild mushrooms that appear in your yard. If you have lawn mushrooms and are not sure how dangerous they are, contact your local lawn care specialist to help you!
What Causes Mushrooms?
Mushrooms seem to spring up out of the blue, but that’s simply not true. They are just the visible manifestation of a long-running underground process.
This fungus has been spreading as it feeds on decaying organic matter in the soil, which is often aided by poor drainage and a lack of sunlight.
You can blame the environment for these mysterious growths. When these three elements come together, it is an ideal environment for mushrooms galore.
Moisture is essential for mushroom development because they have no skin, which makes it difficult for them to retain moisture. This means they must grow in a moist environment to avoid drying out the fruiting bodies.
Shade or Cloudy Weather
Mushrooms need the right amount of light and the right temperature to grow properly. Most mushrooms prefer shade or darkness, which is why they are commonly found on forest floors.
Some mushrooms, however, can grow in partial to full sun, such as those found growing on manure in a field. Mushrooms are more likely to adapt to less-than-ideal conditions if they grow on a high-quality substrate.
Rich, Organic Material
Fungi in your lawn spend most of their time underground, feeding on organic material in your soil. The fungi can remain dormant for many years.
However, when the conditions are favorable, they produce reproductive structures known as mushrooms.
By this point, they are well-established beneath the surface, and the mushrooms are merely a sign that there’s a flourishing fungus in your yard.
Some examples of organic material include:
How Do You Get Rid of Mushrooms?
There are a couple of different ways to get rid of mushrooms on your lawn. Keep reading to see which method would be best for you.
Make Sure You Have Proper Drainage
Try to avoid circumstances in which water sits on your lawn for an extended period of time. This can help discourage mushroom growth and deprive any existing populations of moisture.
If you need to, install a French drain to help water drain faster from your yard. Additionally, avoid overwatering your garden if you have one.
Decrease Shade in Problem Areas
Mushrooms love the shade and cloudy weather. If you are experiencing an outbreak of mushrooms, consider trimming back or thinning out branches on nearby trees and shrubs.
A little extra sunshine will help to keep mushrooms at bay.
Use the Dish Soap Method
For this method, pull or dig up as much of the mushroom as possible and immediately place it in a plastic bag. Make sure to close the bag tight so that the spores do not become airborne.
Next, add a few drops of dish detergent to a spray bottle filled with water. Spray the area where you removed the mushroom, as this will act as a mild fungicide.
Schedule an Aeration
If your lawn has standing water or is damp for an extended period of time after a rain, your soil may be compacted.
Aerating your lawn can help improve drainage, which will help reduce the moisture that mushrooms thrive in. It also aids in increasing the amount of oxygen that reaches your grass’s roots.
Remove Organic Matter
Keeping your lawn clean is the best way to remove organic matter.
This means regularly cleaning up after your pets so that there is no pet excrement left on the lawn, raking, or blowing leaves off, bagging grass clippings, and removing old tree stumps.
Failing to do any of these things could result in mushrooms popping up.
Add Baking Soda to Mulch
Mulch retains moisture, so it is common for mushrooms to pop up in mulch.
A trick you can do is to mix one tablespoon of baking soda in one gallon of water and then spray the mixture over the mulch. This should help kill any mushrooms that are growing.
Use a Fungicide
You can use a natural fungicide such as vinegar by diluting 4 parts water to 1 part vinegar and spraying it directly on the mushrooms.
The acetic acid in the vinegar will kill the mushrooms but be careful where you spray because it can kill anything else it comes in contact with.
You can also try a commercial fungicide, but keep in mind that fungicide will only kill off the fruiting bodies.
Knowing this may behoove you to keep current with prevention rather than waiting for the problem to occur before treatment.
Hire a Professional
The best way to prevent mushrooms is by maintaining your lawn all year round for healthy grass. This is where we come in. Our comprehensive lawn care program offers 9 strategically timed visits throughout the year.
Our team is dedicated to giving you a lawn that you can be proud of without having to do all the maintenance yourself. If you’re looking for the lawn of your dreams, get a quote today! We’d love to have you as a customer!