How to Get Rid of Mushrooms in the Lawn

How to Get Rid of Mushrooms in the Lawn

Removing mushrooms in your lawn is usually necessary during late summer and fall. This is because lawn mushrooms have a habit of seeming to appear overnight, spoiling the appearance of your lush turfgrass. Although mushrooms growing in a lawn won’t damage the grass or soil health, the white or yellow fungus growths are typically unwelcome yard visitors.

The sudden appearance of fungi may make you wonder how mushrooms got in your lawn. So, should you remove the lawn mushrooms by cutting them with a lawn mower? Or is there a more effective method to get rid of mushrooms from your yard?

As a warning — you should never eat mushrooms growing in your lawn unless you can identify the species with 100 percent certainty.

This article serves as a guide on how to remove mushrooms from lawns and yards. Additionally, you will find helpful tips on mushroom removal and preventing the recurrence of spongy fungal growths.

Why Do Mushrooms Grow in Lawns?

Why Do Mushrooms Grow in Lawns?

Mushrooms growing in lawn require plenty of moisture and organically-rich soil

Mushrooms grow in the grass because fungal spores in the soil start fruiting when conditions are right. Mushrooms grow in humid, damp, and dark conditions on decaying organic matter debris. Therefore, mushrooms are common in shaded areas of your lawn. However, they can appear anywhere in turfgrass.

To grow in lawns, mushrooms require organically-rich soil and plenty of moisture. They may start fruiting on old tree stumps or decaying wood under the lawn’s surface. And it’s not uncommon to see white lawn mushrooms growing in a circular ring pattern.

Another reason for lawn mushrooms is that the soil already has fungi that help decompose organic matter. For example, grass clippings or leaves left on the surface eventually break down, enriching the soil with carbon and other nutrients. The underground fungi feed on organic matter like old grass or tree roots, and help turn dead plant matter like leaves into soil nutrients.

Most mushrooms that grow in lawns are white. However, you may also find orange mushrooms, red mushrooms in lawns, or brown mushrooms, depending on the variety, time of year, and soil conditions. Although you may see yellow mushrooms, these small capped fungal growths are more common in houseplants.

Related reading: How to get rid of mushrooms from potted plants.

How to Identify Lawn Mushrooms

Mushrooms are easy to identify, growing among blades of grass. A mushroom has an oval, rounded, or flattened cap with gills on the underside. This cap sits on a cylindrical stem, typically a white color. Many poisonous lawn mushrooms have scaly or warty caps and a veil-like growth around the stipe (stem).

However, mushroom identification requires skill and experience. Therefore, you should not pick lawn mushrooms for eating if you are unsure of their type.

How Do Mushrooms Spread in Lawns?

Mushrooms spread by releasing microscopic spores into the air and are distributed by the wind. If the mushroom spores land on decaying organic matter, they will start fruiting when conditions are ideal. However, the spores can lay dormant for months or years during dry seasons. Then, as if from nowhere, they start growing after rainfall.

Interestingly, mushrooms also create their own air to disperse the spores. Studies into the fungi kingdom reveal that evaporating moisture from mushrooms creates cool air and water vapor. This generates an air current, allowing the spores to dissipate from the mushroom. This natural wind can send spores up to 4” (10 cm) away.

How Fast Do Lawn Mushrooms Grow?

Lawn mushrooms grow rapidly. And because they prefer dark, damp conditions and warm, humid air, they can appear overnight. Depending on the species, small mushroom caps can grow within 24 hours. However most mushrooms take between four and seven days to mature, but some take even longer.

Mushrooms in the Lawn — Friend or Foe?

Mushrooms cannot harm the health of your turfgrass or damage grass blades. The biggest problem mushrooms cause is to spoil your lawn’s appearance. Some homeowners prefer to leave the toadstools or fungi to grow. However, others concerned about poisonous mushrooms want to get rid of them quickly.

Reasons to remove mushrooms from a lawn

Although mushrooms are harmless to grass health, there are some reasons to rid your yard of mushrooms. Additionally, lawn mushrooms could signal underlying lawn care issues that you should address.

Here are a few reasons to get rid of lawn mushrooms:

Poisonous mushrooms in lawns: Some mushrooms growing in lawns are highly poisonous. Even some edible puffball mushrooms have toxic look-alikes that you must avoid. Also, many red and white mushrooms are poisonous.

Mushrooms can signify drainage issues: Mushrooms in a lawn could mean drainage issues with the turfgrass. Therefore, rather than the mushrooms causing damage, waterlogged or soggy soil could damage your lawn’s health.

Mushrooms spoil aesthetics: Seeing clusters of small white lawn mushrooms can spoil the appearance of your lush, green lawn.

Why mushrooms are good for lawns

The presence of mushrooms indicates healthy soil in your yard. Mushrooms only grow in lawns if there is plenty of organic matter in the ground. Mushrooms play a vital role in the soil ecosystem. They break down organic matter, releasing usable nutrients and increasing phosphate and nitrogen levels — all beneficial for your lawn’s health.

Mushrooms also benefit plant health because they help boost defenses against pests and diseases. For example, Researchers at UCDavis report that mushrooms connect to other plants using their root system called mycelium. So if one plant comes under attack, the mushrooms warn other plants nearby. This causes plants to boost their natural defenses against attack.

How To Get Rid Of Mushrooms in a Lawn

How can you get rid of mushrooms for good if they are spoiling your lawn’s appearance? Fortunately, there are several natural methods to rid grassy areas of mushrooms. And you do not need to resort to fungicides to eradicate lawn mushrooms.

Remove Mushrooms From the Lawn By Hand

The easiest way to eliminate lawn mushrooms is to handpick them. Put on gloves and pick the mushrooms from just below the surface of the grass. Removing mushrooms as soon as you notice them in your lawn is best to prevent spore dispersal.

Typically, mushrooms don’t grow so fast and spread so quickly that they overtake your lawn. Therefore, it shouldn’t take too long to get your lawn looking lush and pristine again.

Do lawn mushrooms grow back after you pick them?

Mushrooms will regrow if you pick them. The fungal growths fruit from the mycelium root network and reproductive structures. And unless you remove the cup under the soil surface, the mushrooms will likely resprout. Additionally, it can be difficult to remove the mycelium completely.

But it’s good to remember that mushrooms only grow under ideal conditions. Therefore, it’s relatively easy to prevent mushrooms from sprouting.

Treat Lawn Mushrooms with Vinegar to Kill Them

Vinegar is an effective way to kill mushrooms and the network of roots they create in turfgrass. For this, it’s best to use horticultural vinegar — a strong solution with 30 to 50 percent acetic acid concentration. To make a mushroom-killing solution, mix vinegar and water to a ratio of 1:4.

You should spray or pour the vinegar solution on the mushrooms and around the cluster. This way, you can kill the reproductive cells in the ground, hoping to get rid of mushrooms for good.

Unfortunately, there are a few issues with killing mushrooms using garden vinegar. First, the acidic content can destroy surrounding grass. Second, you must wear protective clothing and eye protection to prevent burning your skin or eyes.

Baking Soda Can Help to Eliminate Lawn Mushrooms

A solution with household baking soda can help to kill mushrooms and prevent them from popping up again. To do this, mix two tablespoons of baking soda in a gallon (4.5 l) of water. Then, regularly pour the solution in areas where lawn mushrooms tend to grow to kill them for good.

Baking soda may be an effective natural solution because it raises the soil’s pH level, causing an inhospitable environment for mushrooms to grow. However, it could also affect the health of nearby plants.

Try a Dish Soap Solution to Eradicate Mushrooms in a Lawn

Some gardeners use a solution of commercial dish soap and water to kill lawn mushrooms. To do this, mix one tablespoon of liquid dish soap in one to two gallons (4.5 – 9 l) of water. Then, make deep, pencil-thin holes around the mushroom clusters and pour in the soapy water. Repeat daily for a week.

The idea is that the dish soap mushroom killer solution helps to smother fungus roots, disrupting their growth and causing them to die.

Treat Your Lawn With Nitrogen-Rich Fertilizer if Mushrooms Are Growing

One way to eventually kill a mushroom invasion in your lawn is to apply a nitrogen-rich fertilizer. Nitrogen is vital for a healthy lawn. However, it causes decaying organic matter to break down more rapidly. This can remove a vital food source for mushrooms, ensuring they never return to your lawn.

When using a lawn fertilizer, always follow the manufacturer’s instructions. Over-fertilizing lawns or plants can be just as detrimental to their health as a lack of nutrients.

Related reading: How to choose the best organic lawn fertilizers.

Use a Lawn Mower to Kill Lawn Mushrooms

Mowing the grass around a mushroom patch instantly removes unsightly mushrooms from grassy areas and lawns. However, although this method has instant results, it won’t kill mushrooms completely. This is because mowing mature mushrooms release spores into the air.

Additionally, there may still be mushroom cups in the ground that will rapidly start fruiting under the right conditions.

How to Prevent Mushrooms from Growing in Lawns

Good lawn care methods are usually enough to prevent wild mushroom growth in lawns and avoid large mushroom populations from spoiling your beautiful lawn.

Increase sunlight to prevent mushroom growth

To prevent yard mushrooms, try increasing the direct sunshine your lawn receives. Therefore, it’s a good idea to trim tree branches, reduce the height of shrubs, or remove obstacles to sunlight. Mushrooms struggle to thrive in direct sunlight and drier conditions.

In many cases, increased sunlight on lawns can be a permanent solution to your lawn mushroom issue.

Reduce excessive moisture and shade in your lawn

One of the reasons for lawn mushrooms is too much shade and excess moisture. Therefore, ensure that your lawn gets four to six hours of sunlight daily. In addition, it can help to aerate your lawn once or twice a year to improve water drainage and prevent moisture buildup.

Remove lawn clippings

To prevent the growth of mushrooms in your lawn, removing or collecting lawn clippings when mowing grass is a good idea. Lawn clippings and dead grass break down in the ground and become food for mushrooms in the soil.

It’s also vital to prevent too much organic material in a lawn that has a mushroom problem. Therefore, always clear up dead leaves in the fall and put them in the compost pile. This prevents the decomposition process from taking place on turfgrass, helping to reduce the presence of mushrooms in yard areas.

Clean pet waste from lawns regularly

Removing any animal waste from lawns can help to stop most types of mushrooms from growing in your yard. Mushrooms thrive on dead matter and organic waste. Therefore, keeping your yard clean if you have pets is crucial for mushroom prevention.

Adjust your watering schedule

If mushrooms are continually visible in your lawn, ensure you water it correctly. Of course, new lawns need plenty of water to help them get established. However, established lawns only require watering to prevent the grass roots from drying out completely.

Overwatering encourages mushrooms and toadstools, particularly if you water in the evening and let the water sit on the ground overnight. Therefore, be in the habit of watering your lawn in the morning to give excess moisture time to evaporate during the day.

Aerate your soil and improve drainage

An essential part of regular lawn care — and mushroom removal — is to aerate it. This process helps improve drainage, increase oxygen and boost soil nutrient content. Lawn aeration involves removing plugs of soil from the ground. This allows moisture and nutrients to penetrate the roots, keeping the grass healthy.

How does lawn aeration impact mushroom growth? First, it helps reduce extra moisture at the root level. This makes it difficult or impossible for mushroom spores to start fruiting, causing a cluster of mushrooms to appear “out of nowhere” on your lawn.

Avoid lawn mushrooms by removing thatch buildup

Removing the thatch layer from turfgrass can help prevent visible mushrooms from popping up and spoiling your lawn’s appearance. Excess thatch prevents proper airflow and traps excessive moisture in the soil, making conditions perfect for the appearance of mushrooms.

To remove thatch from lawns, use a landscaping rake to remove the thick layer of dead grass and moss on the soil surface. After that, put the clumps of grass on the compost heap.

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