I love mushrooms, on my pizza that is but not spread across my lawn. With the recent rainy weather, I’ve noticed a lot of mushrooms showing up in parts of my lawn and garden.
Although mushrooms are pretty common this time of year, you may be wondering if they’re doing any harm to your grass and if they’re bad for your children or maybe your pets if they get a hold of them.
Read on to find out what makes the mushrooms grow, are mushrooms bad for your lawn, and how to get rid of mushrooms from your yard?
Mushrooms in the yard are ideally a good thing because they indicate that the soil in your yard is rich in organic material, and mushrooms breakdown this organic material, and make the soil more productive. However, if you want to get rid of lawn mushrooms to improve your yard’s appearance, there are a few ways to go about it including pulling them or with a fungicide (not recommended).
Why Do Mushrooms Grow in Lawns?
If you find one mushroom in your lawn, then great chances are that there are a lot more, and a large number of mushrooms can quickly become an eyesore.
Also dubbed as toadstools, mushrooms are the reproductive structures or “fruit” produced by fungi. They develop from spores, which according to experts can call your soil home for years until the conditions are favorable such as warm, humid rain showers.
These favorable conditions accelerate the lawn mushroom growth cycle, leading you to wonder where exactly they came from, and if mushrooms do more harm than good for your lawn.
The autumn rainfall every year stimulates perennial masses of fungal threads to start sending up their fruiting bodies, which we call toadstools, shelf fungus, conch, mushrooms, etc.
Facts About Mushrooms In Yard
- Fungi feed on decomposing plant material and convert it into a material called humus.
- The fruiting bodies (spore-producing organs of fungi, often seen as a toadstool) produce and send out microscopic spores that travel by air or water or with critters who eat them, while some grow into new mycelia under the right conditions.
- While there are several different types of mushrooms, the ones that live in your lawn are mostly harmless.
Mushrooms ultimately develop from decaying material in the soil such as grass clippings and woody material. They’re helpful in many ways including breaking down organic matter and accelerating microbial activity.
Fungi thrive in warm and humid temperatures, and mushrooms commonly pop up in your lawn after periods of excess moisture, which actually is a good thing as it indicates that your soil is active and healthy.
What Does Mushrooms Popping Up in Lawn Indicate?
Your soil is already rich in fungi, and fungi help break down organic matter. With regards to the lawn ecosystem, leaves and grass clippings that fall on your yard provide fungi with carbon and other nutrients, and fungi return the favor by converting the clippings and leaves into soil nutrients.
Since the mushrooms are conceived by fungi, it means that fungi are working around the clock beneath the surface to create healthy soil.
But on the flip side, the appearance of mushrooms can also indicate excess moisture, which can create the perfect breeding ground for fungal diseases.
Should You Be Concerned About Lawn Mushrooms? What are the Drawbacks of Lawn Mushrooms?
Depending on who you ask, the answer could be yes or no. The last thing I care about is a couple of mushrooms in my yard, and in fact, I feel they do add to the overall appeal (a few of them).
However, a large number of mushrooms can look unsightly in a rather well-manicured lawn. Some of the lawn mushroom species are edible, but others can be toxic. leading to a severe stomach upset if kids or pets get a hold of them.
The onset of mushrooms can mean overwatering your lawn, which isn’t just a waste of water, but can drown the grass plants and can cause yellow or bare spots.
Types of Mushrooms that Grow in Yards
There are several different types of mushrooms that can grow in your yard, with the most common being “inky cap” (Coprinus spp.). The name of this lawn mushroom originates from the dark, ink-like liquid that appears when the cap of the mushroom decomposes.
Mycorrhizae fungi is another type of mushroom found in lawns and is regarded as a helpful mushroom species, as it assists grass and plants with nutrient absorption.
|Common Garden Mushrooms||Characteristics|
|Lawyer’s Wig||Grows in tall cylinders, Looks similar to a wig, releases spores fast, then shrivels and dies|
|Green-Spored Lepiota||Toxic to humans and pets, measures between 2-4 inches, prevalent in Southern regions|
|Puffball||Doesn’t have stems, caps, or gills, looks like a round puffball, releases a small cloud of dark brown spores when stepped on|
|Fairy Rings||More than 60 species of mushrooms can create fairy rings in your lawn, a good sign your soil is high in organic matter, can affect all types of lawns|
The Armillaria mellea fungus is a honey-colored mushroom that appears in the fall and can kill trees, and the stinkhorn fungi mushrooms should be dug out of the lawn because they attract bugs, which then spread the spores.
Difference Between Edible Mushrooms and Lawn Mushrooms – Can You Eat Lawn Mushrooms?
Served fresh or fried, lots of mushrooms go from the garden to the table but have you ever thought about which ones are safe for harvesting this summertime delicacy?
There are roughly 70 to 80 species of poisonous mushrooms, which are responsible for over 7000 deaths in the US alone, so don’t just start picking mushrooms in yard areas to use as a food source until you know which ones are safe.
There are three categories of mushrooms:
Edible fungi include puffball mushrooms, a few types found in lawn fairy rings, portobellos, creminis, and button mushrooms.
If you’re wondering if lawn mushrooms are edible, the answer is some of them are and others aren’t. Given the high rate of people being poisoned by wild mushrooms and the fact that it’s not easy to tell the difference between edible and non-edible mushrooms, I recommend discarding them properly.
Natural Methods of Getting Rid of Mushrooms in My Lawn
Even though the presence of mushrooms indicates healthy soil, there can affect your curb appeal and can be harmful to kids and pets.
Remove Mushrooms in Lawns with Vinegar
Instead of resorting to chemical methods, you can kill mushrooms with vinegar. However, you can’t use the bottle of cooking vinegar in your kitchen cabinet because it contains just 5 percent acetic acid, so it’s too diluted to kill mushrooms in yard areas.
To get rid of mushrooms in yard areas, you need vinegar that’s much more powerful such as the Natural Elements garden vinegar.
- ✅ 6x stronger than store bought vinegar, industrial-strength solution for indoor or outdoor usage. Use to replace many harmful & toxic chemicals.
- ✅ All natural and safe for humans and pets. 100% non toxic, 100% biodegradable. No harsh chemicals.
- ✅ Excellent for removing hard water deposits, cleaning rust from tools, cleaning soap scum, removing carpet and upholstery stains & cleaning grout.
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This industrial-strength solution is 6 times more powerful than cooking vinegar, and best of all is completely safe for humans and pets.
How to use vinegar to remove mushrooms from the yard?
- Dilute the vinegar to the right strength.
- Make sure you wear eye protection and gloves because high-strength vinegar can burn your skin.
- Fill a spray bottle with the solution.
- Spray the solution directly on the mushrooms and avoid getting any on the surrounding grass.
- I usually spray a small test area, check the results, and spray a couple of days after over all the mushrooms as long the results are good.
Remove Mushrooms from Yard with Baking Soda
Using baking soda is a gentle approach to eliminating mushrooms from your yard. Baking soda works by raising the pH level of the soil, which inhibits the growth of mushrooms in your lawn and around tree trunks and nearby trees.
Although this isn’t a permanent solution to removing fungi-rich mushrooms from your property, it’s billed as a gentle, safe, and effective method. You don’t need industrial-grade baking soda to remove fairy ring mushrooms and other types of mushrooms but can make the solution with household baking soda.
How to use baking soda to remove mushrooms from the yard?
- Grab a large bucket with approximately 2 gallons of water and mix 2 tablespoons of baking soda.
- Stir well until fully dissolved.
- Fill a spray bottle with the mixture, and spray on the mushrooms, and surrounding soil.
- Instead of creating a mixture, you can sprinkle baking soda over the mushrooms and water it in.
- One of the downsides of the baking soda mushroom removal method is that you may not see the best results with the first application, so you will probably have to repeat the process a couple of times.
Important Note – Use Baking Soda with Caution on Yards: Keep tabs on the pH level of the soil, as a high pH level can inhibit the growth of grass and other plants in the area.
Also, you may be interested in seeing my guide on “How to kill crabgrass with baking soda”.
Remove Mushrooms in Lawn with Dish Soap
The dish soap solution is yet another effective way of doing away with mushrooms on your lawn. Dawn dish soap will also kill grubs in your lawn, so it can be used as a natural herbicide.
Dish soap neutralizes the hyphae and stops them from growing and doesn’t cause any harm to your turfgrass or garden.
You can make a dish soap mushroom killer solution by mixing dish soap with three gallons of water and pouring the solution over the mushrooms.
Make sure you pour the solution deep into the soil so that it disrupts the life cycle of the underground fungus. You may have to repeat this process two to three times a week to see a considerable reduction in mushroom colonies.
Do Away with Decaying Elements
The decaying process around mushrooms actually fuels their growth, so it’s important to get rid of anything that’s dying or dead in your yard. Dead plant matter such as grass roots, clippings, pet waste, organic debris, root rots are good examples of decaying dead matter, and in fact, leaving them unattended can affect your green lawn.
How to Get Rid of Mushrooms by Hand?
You can remove mushrooms in your lawn by hand but it can be a daunting task, especially if there are mushrooms that are growing all over your yard and around nearby trees.
Simply, pull the mushrooms individually by hand, or you can even run your mower over the area where they exist. Make sure you wear gloves when pulling mushrooms by hand, put the mushrooms in a trash bag, seal the bag tightly, and dispose of it properly.
Pro tip: Do not dispose of the mushrooms in your compost pile, because they will release spores to plant and grow new mushrooms.
You can prevent fungal growth and more mushrooms from popping up in your yard by adding more usable nutrients like nitrogen.
There are ideally no herbicides formulated specifically to kill mushrooms in your beautiful lawn, but even if there were, I’d use them with extreme caution.
Mushrooms are indeed a sign of a healthy lawn, but if you notice a circular ring pattern (fairy rings), or another type of fungal infection, then the mushrooms aren’t beneficial for your lawn.
Mushrooms growing in your yard are also a good sign that you’re overwatering your lawn, and excess water penetration can not only cause mushroom growth but can be detrimental to the overall health of your lawn.
Hi, Alex Kuritz here. Growing up I remember that my family had one of the best lawns in the neighborhood. Richly green and lush. I did a lot as I grew up in terms of caring and tending for not only my family’s lawn but also my neighbors. I can say I have years of experience, and I am here to share it with you.