You may have looked down at your lawn and seen a mushroom sprouting from the ground. Anyone who’s ever had a mushroom randomly appear on their lawn is bound to be a little confused. After all, how did it get there? What do you do about it? Is it dangerous?
If this situation or these questions are sounding familiar to you, then you’re in luck. In this guide, you’ll find everything you need to know about mushrooms growing on your lawn and how to handle them.
What Types of Mushrooms Tend to Grow in Lawns?
There are a number of mushroom types that can spring up in people’s lawns, some of which include:
- Coprinopsis atramentaria (inky cap mushrooms)
- Mycorrhizae fungi
- Armillaria mellea fungi
- Stinkhorn fungi
- Marasmius oreades (fairy ring mushrooms)
You might be wondering: what are fairy ring mushrooms? Fairy ring mushrooms are a type of fungus native to North America and Europe. However, a fairy ring can also speak to the shape that many mushrooms can take; this is when multiple mushrooms sprout and grow in a circle that is usually roughly two meters in diameter. Suggestions for fairy ring treatments, as well as treatments for other types of mushrooms in grass, will be explored in greater detail in one of the sections below.
Many of these mushrooms attach to tree roots and tree stumps; in fact, dead tree roots are one of the most common breeding grounds for mushrooms, along with buried lumber. While some mushrooms can assist plants with nutrient absorption, some can be quite damaging to trees themselves. Oftentimes, you can only tell that a variety of mushrooms has caused damage to the tree once it has already died.
Why Are Mushrooms Growing in My Lawn?
There are a few potential causes for mushroom growth in your lawn or yard, some of which include:
- Excessive moisture – Mushrooms love moisture and they need it to thrive, so if you’ve been getting a lot of rain or watering your grass often, you might notice more mushrooms appearing shortly thereafter
- Large amounts of rich organic matter – Materials such as animal waste, compost, and wood often thrive in your grass and can sometimes lead to mushroom growth
- Shade – Mushrooms aren’t like flora in the sense that they need sunlight to grow; on the contrary, they grow extremely well in shaded areas
Are These Mushrooms Dangerous?
While mushrooms growing in your yard might be unsightly, it does not usually cause concern to your grass; as we mentioned, a good number of mushrooms that might appear in your lawn can actually provide additional nutrients to the soil, helping your grass grow even healthier.
However, when it comes to human or animal consumption, these mushrooms are generally not safe to eat and should be avoided. If you’ve got curious kids or dogs that will eat just about anything they find, it’s best to have your mushroom problem treated as soon as possible. This brings us to our next point.
How Do I Get Rid of Mushrooms in My Lawn?
If you’re wondering how to stop mushrooms from growing in your lawn and how to get rid of the ones you currently have, we’ve got you covered. The first thing you’ll need to do is remove the mushrooms before they release their spores (which would cause further growth). It’s important to do this in a timely manner; even if you’re one day too late, the mushrooms may have already released their spores. If there are just a few scattered around the lawn, they should be relatively easy to dig out by hand. Be sure to wear gardening gloves for extra protection.
Next, we’d recommend having your lawn aerated. Aerating your lawn helps its roots grow more deeply and produces a more vigorous and healthy appearance. Aeration also helps alleviate soil compaction, which can prevent the proper amount of nutrients and water from penetrating the roots of your lawn.
Finally, install a proper drainage system in your yard to ensure that water isn’t building up in your grass and fostering mushroom growth. As we mentioned, mushrooms absolutely love moist areas, so if you deprive them of that environment by properly draining your lawn, you won’t have to deal with them anymore. A French drainage system is a particularly popular option.
Once you’ve had the mushrooms in your lawn treated, you’ll want to educate yourself on prevention strategies to keep them from popping up in your grass again, which you can do by reading the following section.
How Can I Prevent Mushrooms From Growing in My Lawn?
You may be fortunate enough that you don’t have to worry about how to stop mushrooms from growing on your lawn. In any case, prevention is the name of the game.
One of the most effective methods for preventing mushrooms in the grass is to avoid overwatering your lawn. Mushrooms thrive in damp environments, often growing in areas with poor drainage or after a big rainfall. You’ll also want to rid your yard of large amounts of rich organic matter, such as grass clippings, mulch, compost, wood, or animal waste, all of which can encourage mushroom growth in your lawn.
You can also try reducing the number of shady areas in your yard to decrease mushroom growth in grass. You can do so by pruning or trimming trees or shrubs that might be overshading your yard and creating an environment for mushrooms to thrive. The more sunlight you have in these areas, the less you should see of any mushrooms.
Finally, another tactic you can try to prevent mushrooms in lawns is to reduce the level of fertilizer that you use on your grass. More fertilizer may just be adding extra nutrients to the mushrooms, which is the last thing you need if you want to avoid them. Always follow the instructions on the packet carefully.
If you’re ready to get your lawn back to its original glory and nip those mushrooms in the bud, time is of the essence. You’ve taken an excellent first step by informing yourself of the mushroom variations, their causes, and how to treat them. Now, all you need to do is implement these tips. The sooner you do, the sooner you’ll have the healthiest and most manicured lawn.