With the cooler weather of fall and a bit more rain than normal, it is inevitable that you may see the odd mushroom – or an entire colony of them – spring up overnight on your beautiful lawn. This is very typical and should not be looked at as a problem…although it is a bit of a nuisance. Note: you may want to be on alert if you have pets, as they may eat mushrooms from your lawn and get sick (although rare, I have heard of this happening to a customer once).
The questions we get quite often at Weed Man are: “why do I get mushrooms?” And “how can I get rid of them?”
To determine why you have mushrooms growing on your lawn, you have to consider the biology of the mushroom itself. In your lawn there are all kinds of living organisms, and some of these organisms are mushroom fungi. Mushroom fungi help break down all kinds of material that may be buried in your lawn. For example, things like wood that may have been left over from building material, or an old stump that may have been buried in the yard years before. Regardless of what it is, and you will likely never know, the fungi are feeding on it and breaking it down into organic matter. This is actually a good thing, as this organic matter is turned into a nutritional food source for the turf later on.
Get Rid of Mushrooms
So you have fungi in the lawn doing its thing. Given the right conditions – usually moist, cooler weather – the fruiting body of the fungi, the mushroom, will begin growing in your lawn. Now what can you do to get rid of it? I recommend trying one of the following:
- Wait for the mushrooms to disappear when you cut the lawn or when the weather changes.
- Put some gloves on and pick the mushrooms off the lawn before they go to spore and propagate.
- Try an old-fashioned remedy by sprinkling some baking soda around where the mushrooms are growing.
Fungicides can also be effective, but they are expensive don’t last very long. It is important to remember that mushrooms LOVE moisture. Therefore, any lawns that are heavily shaded, over watered, or that have poor drainage may be more susceptible to them. A well-drained, sunny lawn will typically have fewer mushrooms than a soggy one.
A complete ring of mushrooms growing on your lawn is called a fairy ring. Fairy rings were thought to be good luck by the Irish; in fact, legend has it that fairies would sit on the mushroom caps in a circle and have a party. At least that’s what my great grandmother told me when I was a kid.
In the end, mushrooms are not a bad thing. If you are concerned for your pets or young children, then the best method is to head outside and pick them or rake them up.
To learn more about mushrooms, comment below or visit our website at www.weedmanusa.com.