Toadstools may look whimsical and be good for introducing nutrients to your soil, but when too many mushrooms pop up in your yard it can be unsightly and dangerous to children and pets. Thankfully, it’s easy to get rid of mushrooms in your yard.
- How to Get Rid of Mushrooms in Your Yard
- Why are Mushrooms Growing in my Yard?
- How to Keep Mushrooms from Coming Back
- FAQ About Lawn Mushrooms
- When to Call a Lawn Care Professional
How to Get Rid of Mushrooms in Your Yard
If you’re looking for a natural solution to your mushroom problem, try these options to de-fungi.
A mixture of baking soda and water in a spray bottle will increase the pH balance in your yard to gradually inhibit mushroom growth.
It’s possible to get rid of the mushrooms in your lawn by mowing them, but there are some important things to consider. Mowing over mushrooms can cause pieces and spores to spread throughout your yard, which will worsen the problem, and the underground fungus will remain intact.
Removal by Hand
Looking to get your hands dirty? You can remove your mushrooms by hand, as long as you wear a good pair of gloves and toss them into a garbage bin or plastic bag (not your compost pile!).
The Waiting Game
Mushrooms will also go away on their own once conditions in your yard are no longer suitable for them, so if you’re able to root out the cause in time, your mushroom problem may resolve itself. Waiting can be risky, though, as mushrooms spread by releasing spores once they reach mature size.
Many fungicides are available for purchase to tackle mushroom problems in your yard. These should be used with caution in areas where pets and children play, however. Fungicides will also only kill visible fruiting bodies, not ward off new mushrooms or eliminate the rest of the fungus underground.
Since they’re toxic and can be ineffective, fungicides are often not recommended unless a professional suggests them.
Nitrogen-based chemical fertilizers will speed up the rate at which organic matter decays, lessening the likelihood of a fungi infestation. However, too much nitrogen will lead to the creation of nitrate, which pollutes groundwater, streams, and estuaries.
Instead, consider an organic fertilizer. Since these don’t lead to nitrate, they’re a common alternative that’s kind to your lawn.
Why are Mushrooms Growing in my Yard?
Mushrooms thrive in dark, damp environments with plenty of decomposing matter, where they spread by releasing spores. These conditions can be created with poor drainage or standing water, shady lawns, and high organic matter in your soil.
If you’re noticing mushrooms in your yard, it may be a sign of standing water or irrigation and drainage issues. These are especially common if you live by the water or in a rainy region, from the Pacific Northwest to the Gulf Coast.
In addition to a watery environment, many other factors can cause standing water in your yard, from thatch and soil type to plain old overwatering.
Your lush, shady lawn may be creating the perfect habitat for mushrooms to grow. Mushrooms thrive in the dark – remember, in the wild, they’re commonly found nestled under boulders or in the trunks of trees. Your mushrooms may also be originating under your deck or in your crawlspace.
Speaking of trees, mushrooms love to feed off of decaying matter like tree branches and leaves. A high presence of organic matter is great for your lawn, but can lead to a fungi feeding frenzy. Have a dog? Pet and animal waste is another common source of mushroom food.
How to Keep Mushrooms from Coming Back
To keep your mushrooms from coming back, go back to your original lawn diagnosis. Whether drainage, shade, or organic matter is the culprit, there are plenty of simple solutions to keep your yard mushroom-free.
Water the Right Way
If a watery lawn is fostering your fungi, check your sprinklers and watering schedule. The tuna can test will help you determine how well your automatic sprinklers are working.
Water by hand? Check out our tips for developing a healthy watering schedule that keeps your yard nourished and maintains irrigation.
If you’re watering appropriately but still seeing puddles, there are a few options to keep your yard healthy and increase irrigation.
- Try adding compost if you have clay soil, which drains slowly and traps water.
- You can also try dethatching and aerating your soil by clearing out old root systems and tilling the soil with an aerator.
- If your yard is on a hill, you can add a rain garden or drainage system.
Don’t sacrifice your shady oasis just because it’s causing mushrooms. If you’re landscaping for shade, be sure to trim your trees regularly to let some sunshine in. As a bonus, this will keep your trees healthy and lessen the amount of decaying matter in your yard.
Think your deck or crawlspace has become a mushroom mothership? Scrape the underside for fungi, and make sure any wood is sealed and properly constructed for ventilation.
Remove Plant and Pet Debris
Mushrooms have their place in the lawn ecosystem, and the way they process organic matter like decomposing leaves and pet waste makes it easier for plants to digest and introduces new nutrients to the soil. If you’re seeing too many of them, however, be sure to:
- Rake your yard regularly
- Remove tree stumps and branches
- Clean up after pets
FAQ About Lawn Mushrooms
Mushrooms are a sign that your soil is healthy and high in organic material, which is great for your plants. In moderation, they’re very helpful. Some mushrooms are a sign of lawn diseases, however, and any wild mushrooms can pose a danger to children and pets.
Only about 3% of common yard mushrooms are poisonous, but it’s best to proceed with caution and avoid eating any mushrooms that haven’t been cultivated or identified by an expert. Edible and non-edible types of mushrooms can look nearly identical and grow right next to each other in your yard.
Even washing or cooking poisonous mushrooms won’t make them edible. While you may know immediately if you’ve eaten a less poisonous species, the symptoms of highly toxic mushroom poisoning can take up to 24 hours to appear – particularly the effects of the Amanita “death-cap” mushroom.
Some varieties of garden mushrooms are edible, including the puffball mushroom and highly sought-after morels. Due to the danger of toxic lookalikes, however, if you’re looking to eat some homegrown mushrooms, opt for a mushroom growing kit instead.
When to Call a Lawn Care Professional
Mushrooms are a sign of nutrient-rich soil, but too many can cause issues for children, pets, and curb appeal. Though diagnosing and removing a mushroom problem is relatively straightforward, they can be tough to tackle once they get out of hand.
If you’re a little lost in the mushroom sauce, check in with LawnStarter’s lawn care professionals for help. Whether you’re having trouble determining where your mushrooms are coming from, deciding between removal strategies, or looking for regular lawn care help to prevent future fungi, our providers are ready to help at the touch of a button to help you create a healthy lawn.
Main Photo Credit: LoggaWiggler / Pixabay