Your morning is great — but what’s this? You woke up to some uninvited fungi visitors on your lawn. Maybe this isn’t their first visit. If you’re wondering how to get rid of mushrooms in the yard, here’s the helping hand you’ve been waiting for! After all, it is best to find out what to do before more of them appear.
Or… Perhaps, you will even change your mind and decide to let mushrooms stay rent-free. Read on to find out!
Why Are Mushrooms Growing in the Yard?
Fungi are decomposers: which means they need something to decompose. If you have fungi growing in your yard, you likely have organic material in your lawn that attracts them. Mulching and gardening are common causes. In most instances, these decomposing dudes are welcome ecological workers, breaking down compounds into nutrients that can be reabsorbed by your green grass! There are situations, however, where mushrooms can be dangerous to your lawn’s environment. Here’s what you need to know.
Are Mushrooms in Your Lawn a Bad Thing?
While mushrooms are usually decomposers, that doesn’t make them welcome in all instances. Mushrooms can be poisonous to pets and are often outlawed in neighborhood association agreements. Whether for safety or social reasons, mushrooms are not necessarily invited guests.
Types of Mushrooms Growing in Lawns
Lots of fungi- friends and foes! make their home on your lawn. Unsure what visitor is cropping up on your lawn? PlantIn offers an expert-informed identification service that will help you tell dear mushrooms from the dangerous ones.
Honey Mushroom or Armillaria
Honey mushrooms earn their name by their honey-brown color and stickiness when moist. They are generally considered to be friendly decomposers, and prized harvests in Central Europe and Ukraine- though they are mildly poisonous if improperly cooked or consumed raw.
Puffball or Calvatia
Puffballs are easily identifiable by their unique shape, and habit of spurting out spores when poked at a mature age. Pfft! Most puffballs are a creamy white on the inside when young, cherished as a trustworthy and easily identifiable edible mushroom.
Lawyer’s Wig or Coprinus comatus
The Ink Cap, also known as the Lawyer’s wig, won’t sue you if you pluck it young! This characteristic cap joins the honey mushrooms and the puffball in the team of edible lawn-raiders. Nevertheless, it frequents nutrient-poor areas such as roadsides and gravelly patches, so consider evaluating the fertility of your lawn if you find these fellers growing there.
Green-Spored Lepiota or Chlorophyllum
Chlorophyllum molybdites, or the Green-Spored Lepiota is probably the most common lawn-visitor. These so-called false parasols are indicators of good soil health but are extremely toxic (though not considered fatal). Don’t be shy about plucking these surreptitious suspects from your greenery!
Fairy rings only appear when there are high levels of nutrients in the soil, so you know there’s a real nitrogen party going on under the surface! Nevertheless, some consider these apparations to be distasteful to the eye. Pluck or mow them before the cap opens.
How do all these mushrooms even find a way into our lawns? Perhaps, we should trim them more to look less like the forest.
How to Remove Mushrooms From Lawn by Hand?
Just because they’re called Fairy Rings doesn’t mean they have to come from the land of fairy wonders! When dealing with mushrooms, be most wary of their spores, handling them accordingly. Here are the steps you need to follow to remove mushrooms from the lawn by hand:
- Pick with sanitized gardening gloves. This will prevent spore spread.
- Mulch your mushrooms young, preventing them from entering maturity. Ideally, this will be before their caps opened. If you’re unsure, pick up their mulched leftovers.
- Place picked caps directly in a plastic bag.
- Dispose of the fungi separately from your compost or other lawn trimmings. Mushrooms contain spores and spores have a tendency to spread, unfortunately…
Seems easy enough!
How to Kill Mushrooms in Yard with Chemicals?
Let’s face it. Sometimes, ‘if you want something done right, do it yourself’ doesn’t apply. Maybe you should consider leaving your fungi problem to the science-proven chemicals!
- Fungicide. People have been fighting mushrooms off forever… Of course, this solution exists! Fungicides can be found in most home improvement or gardening stores. Make sure you look out for one of those on your next trip to the depot.
- Herbicide. Many herbicides are lethal to species of undesirable fungus in your lawn, preventing undesirable plant species as well as your fungi problem. Call it a double strike! Who would not take a weed- and fungi-free garden for the price of one?
Choose your poison! Literally…
Natural Ways of Killing Mushrooms in Lawn
Ah, all these ways to destroy nature… How sad that our pretty garden often comes at this expense! Well, if you have made up your mind and are willing to dispose of your fungi guests, we will offer you a whole array of weapons you can use. Pick wisely!
The simplest way to remove shrooms is what you’ve probably got in front of you right now: a set of hardworking, gardening-ready hands. Pluck caps from the stem, using gardening gloves, and dispose of the fungi directly into a trash can.
Dish Soap and Water
Did your dishes? Keep the dish soap open for the mushrooms. Locate your unwanted mushrooms and pluck them from the ground, adding a few drops of dish soap and water agent to their stems to burn the mycelium and discourage further growth.
Baking Soda and Water
Mix 1-2 tablespoons of baking soda into 1 liter of water and pour your solution over the mushroom-afflicted areas. Give the solution 2-3 days to settle into the soil, and then rake your mushrooms into the dirt. That’ll show ‘em!
White Vinegar and Water
Vinegar is not only good for cooking. Here is a recipe for fungi destruction! Combine 1 parts vinegar with 4 parts water. Spray your unwanted mushrooms with the solution, sit back, and wait! It’ll take a few hours, maybe a day or two, to see the withering results.
Applying small quantities of lime or other basic substances to your lawn can discourage fungal growth while leaving your greens relatively unharmed, as fungi are typically more sensitive to pH than grasses. Be careful, however! Lawn pH is easy to overshoot- and not easy to repair. Apply lime sparingly.
Mushrooms thrive in low-oxygen environments. Prevent their spread by aerating your lawn, or mowing with a crisp, low trim! Give your garden some air to breathe.
Some gardeners swear that the application of cornmeal can cull unwanted caps. This natural fungicide may discourage fungal growth. And, last, if you try it out, share your results on the PlantIn community! We would love to hear about the results.
Switch to Wood Mulch
Fungi can have a harder time sinking their mycelial teeth into dry wood chips. If you want to fertilize your lawn without risking the popping-up of mushrooms, consider switching from moist mulches to wood chips. Your capped visitors will soon have nothing to munch on!
Nature knows best. It holds for creation and destruction alike!
How to Prevent Mushrooms From Growing in the Yard?
There’s one reason for mushrooms to be growing in your lawn: organic materials. If you want to prevent fungi from growing on your lawn, here’s what to do.
- Prevent accumulation of organics. Some people like to spread compost over their lawns. If a teeming mycological ecosystem is undesirable to you, avoid such tactics; also avoid mulching and certain nitrogen-heavy fertilizers.
- Keep your environment dry. Fungi are the plumbers and engineers of organic water systems. Want to keep them away? Keep things dry! Consider lowering your watering frequencies to discourage fungal growth; no more than 1 inch (2.54 cm) per week. Also, consider watering first thing in the morning, so your water has time to dry.
- Don’t let mushrooms fruit. Mushrooms are resilient little fellows! Exterminate them by mulching, picking, or spraying them before they can reach maturity and spread their verminous little spores.
- Decrease shade. Mushrooms are kings of shadowy groves! If your mushroom problem persists, consider increasing surface temperatures and UV by trimming trees to give your soil more direct sunlight.
Having a lawn that is rich in undigested plant materials is like building a big old breakfast buffet for fungi!
How to Stop Mushrooms From Returning to Your Lawn?
Everyone knows prevention is the best strategy. Don’t let unwanted visitors outstay their welcome by having generation after generation of babies in your lawn!
- Don’t let mushrooms fruit. If the infectious mushrooms release their spores before you can remove them, say goodbye to the possibility of saying goodbye to your mushrooms. Mushrooms will propagate as long as they can- destroy the mushrooms young!
- Keep organic matter low. If you’ve been mulching, composting, or fertilizing thoroughly, no wonder you’re living with Mario in Mushroom Kingdom! Mushrooms will grow where they can, and they can grow best among decaying organics. Keep your lawn pristine!
- Be conscious of watering habits. Fungi famously love moist, dark environments. If you don’t already, consider watering your lawn only in the mornings or keeping a strict watering schedule. PlantIN’s Watering feature can help you keep track!
- Decrease shade. Fungi love nothing more than shade. Trim what trees and bushes you can to raise soil temperatures and UV exposure, discouraging puffy mushroom growths.
- Treat lawn with fungicide/herbicide. Really don’t want mushrooms sprouting your pretty turf? Kill them in advance. Small quantities of preventative fungicide or fungus-killing herbicide can be warranted. Just be sure to apply at a time when the weather forecast predicts dry weather; applying just before a rainstorm can prevent the fungicide from settling in effectively, and worse, washing off your lawn and into local ecosystems.
If mushrooms recognize you as a bad host, they will not appear next to you. They are said to be extremely intelligent for a reason!
What Kills Mushrooms but not Grass?
The quickest answer is fungicide; the truest answer is it depends on the species of grass. Generally speaking, using baking soda or lime to raise soil pH will have little effect on the grasses you are growing, as most plants are much more pH tolerant than fungi; nevertheless, you will have to be careful. You can also consider the fungicide solution, which targets fungi specifically, but we at PlantIn always recommend hand-removal.
What Kills Mushrooms the Fastest?
The acetic acid of vinegar is incredibly fast-acting, and if you use our formula listed above you might find your shrooms dead and dying in a matter of hours. However, acetic acid can damage plants and beneficial insects just the same as fungi! In fact, the fastest solution is almost always diligent hand-picking.
What Is the Best Time of Year to Treat Lawn Fungus?
Most fungi like to sprout their little heads from late summer through the early winter. That means that anyone looking to take care of their problem long-term should start keeping their eye out in mid-summer, around July in the Northern Hemisphere.