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Uncovering the Mystery: Why Do Mushrooms Grow in Your Lawn?

Updated: Jan 26


mushrooms growing in lawn

As a lawn care professional, I have often been asked by homeowners, "Why do mushrooms grow in my lawn?"


It's a common problem that many homeowners face, and one that can be both unsightly and potentially dangerous.


In this article, I will explore the science behind mushroom growth in lawns, common types of mushrooms found in lawns, factors that contribute to mushroom growth, how to prevent mushroom growth in your lawn, fungicides for controlling mushroom growth, safe and natural ways to get rid of mushrooms, mushroom removal techniques, and tips for maintaining a healthy and mushroom-free lawn.



Table of Contents


The Science Behind Why Do Mushrooms Grow in Lawns



mushroom located in the lawn

Mushrooms are the fruiting bodies of fungi, which are decomposers that break down organic matter in the soil.

Fungi are present in most soil types, and they play a vital role in the ecosystem by breaking down dead plant material and recycling nutrients.

Mushrooms typically grow in lawns when the conditions are right for fungal growth.

Mushrooms need three things to grow: moisture, organic matter, and warm temperatures.

When the soil is moist and warm, it creates an ideal environment for fungal growth.

Organic matter such as dead roots and leaves also provide food for the fungi to grow.

The fungi release spores, which can travel by wind or water to new areas and start the growth of new mushrooms.


Common Types of Mushrooms Found in Lawns


There are many types of mushrooms that can grow in lawns, but some are more common than others.

Here are a few of the most common types of mushrooms found in lawns:


  • Fairy Ring is a fungal disease that causes circular rings of dead grass in lawns. It is caused by several species of fungi that live in the soil and decompose organic matter, creating hydrophobic soil. This causes water to repel from the soil, creating a dry environment that is not suitable for grass growth. Fairy Ring is difficult to control, but methods such as aerating the soil, removing thatch build-up, and reducing shade can help. Fungicides may also be effective, but they should be applied by a licensed professional.


fairy ring mushroom in lawn

  • Powdery Mildew is a fungal disease that appears as a white, powdery coating on the leaves of grass. It is caused by several species of fungi that thrive in warm, humid conditions. Powdery Mildew can weaken the grass and make it more susceptible to other diseases. To control Powdery Mildew, homeowners can purchase Yates Mancozeb Plus Fungicide.


powdery mildew in lawn

  • Brown Patch is a fungal disease that causes circular patches of brown, dead grass in lawns. It is caused by several species of fungi that thrive in warm, humid conditions and can spread quickly in hot, humid weather. Brown Patch can weaken the grass and make it more susceptible to other diseases. To control Brown Patch, homeowners can purchase Yates Mancozeb Plus Fungicide.


brown patch in couch lawn

Are Mushrooms Poisonous for Children and Dogs?


Some mushrooms found in lawns can be poisonous for children and dogs.


It is difficult to identify which mushrooms are poisonous and which are not, so it is recommended to keep children and pets away from all mushrooms in the lawn.


Ingesting certain types of mushrooms can cause severe illness or even death, so it is essential to take caution.


It's best to remove mushrooms in lawns to avoid any potential danger.



Factors that Contribute to Mushroom Growth


There are several factors that contribute to mushroom growth in lawns.

Here are a few of the most common factors:

  • Moisture: As mentioned earlier, mushrooms need moisture to grow. If your lawn is overwatered or has poor drainage, it can create an ideal environment for fungal growth.


  • Organic Matter: Mushrooms feed on organic matter such as dead roots and leaves. If your lawn has a lot of organic matter, it can provide a food source for the fungi to grow.


  • Warm Temperatures: Mushrooms grow best in warm temperatures. During the summer months, when temperatures are high, it can create an ideal environment for fungal growth.


  • Soil pH: Mushrooms prefer soil with a pH between 6.0 and 7.5. If your soil is too acidic or too alkaline, it can create an environment that is not ideal for fungal growth.


Soil pH testing device placed in lawn

How to Prevent Mushroom Growth in Your Lawn


Preventing mushroom growth in your lawn is not always easy, but there are several steps you can take to minimise the risk.

Here are a few tips:

  • Proper Watering: Water your lawn deeply and infrequently, rather than frequently and shallowly. This will encourage deep root growth and reduce the risk of fungal growth.


  • Aerate Your Lawn: Aeration helps to improve soil drainage and reduce compaction, which can create an environment that is less conducive to fungal growth.


  • Remove Organic Matter: Removing dead leaves and other organic matter from your lawn can reduce the food source for fungi and minimise the risk of fungal growth.


  • Adjust Soil pH: If your soil is too acidic or too alkaline, you can adjust the pH by adding lime or sulfur to the soil.


Fungicides for Controlling Mushroom Growth


If mushroom growth is a persistent problem in your lawn, you may need to consider using a fungicide.

Fungicides are chemicals that are designed to kill or control fungi.

The most popular fungicide used by homeowners is Yates Mancozeb Plus Fungicide.

mancozeb plus

Safe and Natural Ways to Get Rid of Mushrooms


If you prefer to avoid using chemicals in your lawn, there are several safe and natural ways to get rid of mushrooms.

Here are a few tips:

  • Dig Them Up: Digging up mushrooms as soon as they appear can help to prevent spores from spreading and minimise the risk of fungal growth.



  • Add Nitrogen to Your Soil: Adding nitrogen to your soil can help to reduce the risk of fungal growth. You can add nitrogen by applying a nitrogen-rich fertiliser or by leaving grass clippings on your lawn.


  • Sprinkle Baking Soda: Sprinkling baking soda on the mushrooms can help to dry them out and prevent them from spreading.


Method

Description

Decrease shade in problem areas

Remove or trim trees, bushes or any other plant that is blocking the sunlight.

Aerate your soil and improve drainage

Promotes soil health by allowing water, air and nutrients to penetrate deeper.

Don't overwater

Overwatering creates a perfect environment for mushrooms to grow.

Don't leave grass clippings on the lawn

Grass clippings can act as a food source for mushrooms.

Remove thatch build-up

Thatch build-up can create a damp environment, which is ideal for mushroom growth.

Replace old mulch

Old mulch can become a breeding ground for mushroom spores.

Reduce the amount of fertiliser applied to your lawn

Over-fertilisation can create a perfect environment for mushrooms to grow.

Clean up after your pet

Pet waste can create a damp environment and is a potential source of nutrients.Remove tree stumps and rotting wood

Remove tree stumps and rotting wood

Tree stumps and rotting wood can serve as a food source for mushrooms.

Remove by hand

Removing mushrooms by hand can help prevent the spread of spores.

Use fungicide

Fungicides can be used to prevent and control mushroom growth.



Mushroom Removal Techniques



If you have a large amount of mushrooms in your lawn, you may need to take more aggressive measures to get rid of them.

Here are a few techniques you can use:

  • Remove the Top Layer of Soil: If the mushroom growth is particularly dense, removing the top layer of soil can help to eliminate the fungus.


  • Use a Tarp: Placing a tarp over the affected area can help to prevent spores from spreading and minimise the risk of fungal growth.


  • Use Hot Water: Pouring hot water over the mushrooms can help to kill the fungus.



Tips for Maintaining a Healthy and Mushroom-Free Lawn



Maintaining a healthy and mushroom-free lawn requires a combination of proper lawn care practices and preventive measures.

Here are a few tips:


  • Mow Your Lawn Regularly: Mowing your lawn regularly can help to prevent the buildup of organic matter and minimise the risk of fungal growth.


  • Remove Clippings: Removing grass clippings after mowing can help to reduce the food source for fungi and minimise the risk of fungal growth.


  • Monitor Watering: Monitor your watering habits to ensure that your lawn is not overwatered or watered too frequently.


Frequently Asked Questions:


Q: Why are mushrooms growing in my lawn?

A: Mushrooms can grow in lawns due to a variety of factors, such as damp or shady conditions, compacted soil, overwatering, poor drainage, excess thatch, buried debris, and decaying organic matter.


Q: Are mushrooms harmful to my lawn?

A: Mushrooms themselves are not harmful to lawns, but they may indicate underlying problems with soil or lawn care that can affect the health and appearance of the turf.


Q: Can mushrooms in lawns be poisonous to children or pets?

A: Some species of mushrooms can be poisonous if ingested, so it is important to keep children and pets away from them. However, most mushrooms in lawns are not highly toxic and are not likely to be eaten by animals or humans.


Q: Should I remove mushrooms from my lawn?

A: It is not necessary to remove mushrooms from your lawn unless they pose a risk of ingestion or if you find them unsightly. However, removing the visible fruiting bodies will not eliminate the underground mycelium that produces them, so they may reappear.


Q: How can I prevent mushrooms from growing in my lawn?

A: Some ways to prevent mushrooms from growing in your lawn include reducing shade, improving soil drainage, avoiding overwatering, removing excess thatch, cleaning up debris, and reducing fertiliser applications.


Q: Can I use fungicides to control mushrooms in my lawn?

A: Fungicides may help to reduce the appearance of mushrooms in lawns, but they are not always effective and may harm beneficial fungi and microbes in the soil. It is best to consult with a lawn care professional or horticulturist before using any chemical treatments.


Q: How do I know if mushrooms in my lawn are edible?

A: It is generally not recommended to consume wild mushrooms unless you are an experienced mycologist or have been trained to identify edible species. Eating toxic mushrooms can be fatal or cause severe illness. It is best to err on the side of caution and avoid eating any mushrooms that grow in your lawn or garden.


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