Mushrooms: Good or Bad Guys?

May 16, 2017

Around this time of year when we get a lot of rainfall, we start getting many questions about mushrooms growing in lawns. While mushrooms are sometimes seen as an eyesore, they actually aren’t cause for alarm and can be a sign of a healthy lawn.

Why do mushrooms appear?

Mushrooms will appear in your lawn for a couple of reasons.

  1. Organic material has been introduced into your soil or compost (This is usually the most common reason)
  2. Heavy rainfall
  3. Low light

Besides organic material, heavy rainfall or prolonged periods of rain will also entice mushrooms to pop up. If you have areas that get little sunlight and are consistently moist, mushrooms may also show up in those places.

Mushroom Fairy Ring Photo Courtesy of HGTV

Mushroom Fairy Ring Photo Courtesy of HGTV

What does a mushroom do for my lawn?

Mushrooms help your ecosystem by breaking down organic materials and turning them into nutrients that your lawn uses. If organic matter has been added to your soil or compost, mushrooms will thrive in this environment.

How do I get rid of mushrooms?

Even though mushrooms can be left alone, we know that most of you probably want to get rid of them. One of the best, easiest, and quickest ways to make mushrooms disappear is to knock them down or mow over them. Once you’ve broken the mushrooms off, make sure to gather any pieces and throw them out.

Aerating your lawn can also help by improving air circulation.

Do not use fungicides. Like we talked about in a previous post about synthetic products, fungicides will do more harm to your lawn and they don’t actually kill the fungus that’s causing mushrooms in your yard. They may prevent short lived fungi from spreading, but won’t get rid anything else. Fungicides’ primary use is to help stop the spread of things like root rot diseases and lawn leaf spot, not mushrooms.

Lawn Mushrooms Photo Courtesy of Purdue Turf

Lawn Mushrooms Photo Courtesy of Purdue Turf

Are mushrooms dangerous for pets and children?

Yes! Depending on the type, mushrooms are potentially hazardous. If you have curious pets and/or children, it’s important to get rid of mushrooms as soon as you spot them in order to avoid possible ingestion.

As the weather warms up and rainfall becomes less consistent, you will start to see less and less mushrooms in your lawn. In the meantime, simply knock them down or leave them and enjoy their funky shapes and colors!

Want to know more about the mushrooms around your yard and garden? Check out this resource which also notes whether a mushroom is known to be poisonous or not.

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