What to do about mushrooms on your lawn
You finally get a beautiful morning after a few days of rain and you step outside to enjoy the day, and then you see them. Mushrooms have popped up overnight. What causes the growth of these strange invaders and what can you do about them?
Are they bad for my yard?
Even if mushrooms do start growing on your lawn, there is no need to worry as they really aren’t harmful at all. The only reason to remove them is to ensure that children and pets don’t pick or eat them and of course to improve the appearance of the lawn. In fact, many experts say that mushrooms are great for recycling agricultural waste, old rotting tree stumps, animal waste, and other decomposing matter.
If you do decide to remove them, it’s not as simple as just picking the mushrooms off of the lawn, unfortunately. While picking them right away will prevent any spores from spreading to other areas of both your and your neighbor’s lawn, it doesn’t remove the underground network of threads called mycelium from which they sprout up from.
Where do they come from?
Understanding how and why they colonize your lawn can help you understand how to get rid of them. A mushroom’s life cycle begins when another mushroom releases spores and they get carried elsewhere by the wind, water, or on animals. Once the spores reach their final destination and the right mix of moisture, shade, and organic material in the soil becomes present, the underground network of mycelium begins to take root.
While the visible part of the mushroom may disappear in as little as a few days, the underground portion can remain there for years and only sprout mushrooms when the conditions are right. Once a mushroom grows, it releases thousands of spores that can travel to new locations. If you mushrooms grow to be very large, that’s a good indicator that there is more food present in your lawn that average.
How to rid your lawn of them
Picking the aboveground part of the mushroom will not get rid of these pesky growths forever but it’s a start. Specialists suggest that you remove them immediately as they appear so they don’t release more spores. Once you have pulled the mushroom, dispose of them right away in a plastic bag. Tie the bag up securely, and toss it into a trashcan.
Next, spread nitrogen fertilizer on your lawn to help prevent their future growth. Fertilizer will decompose any organic matter present and leave nothing for the mushrooms to feed on. It’s recommended that you use one pound of fertilizer for every 1,000 square feet of lawn. You should also make sure that you don’t use slow release or water-soluble fertilizer. In addition to the fertilizer, it helps to add a little phosphorous and potassium to the mix as well. The ratio used should be three parts nitrogen, one part phosphorous, and two parts potassium. Be prepared to do this procedure every year.
You will also have to kill the mycelium. Mix 3 tablespoons of dish soap with 2 gallons of water. Poke holes into the soil using a shovel or screwdriver and fill them with the mix.
How to remove a fairy ring of mushrooms
Sometimes a ring of mushrooms will appear. If the caps are not visible, the ring will appear as a circle of dark green or dead grass. Use a lawn aerator on the area if the fungal mat is fewer than 3-inches thick. If it is deeper than 3-inches you will have to dig it out with a shovel. Either way, work 24 inches on all sides of the affected area.
Be sure to throw all contaminated soil away in a plastic garbage bag and replace with fresh clean soil. Repair the area with turf or sprinkle some grass seeds on it. For more help on maintaining a lush green lawn, stop in and talk with the experts at Snappy’s!