How to get rid of mushrooms in lawn. This is the question at the front of your mind when you look out across your yard and see small, white-grey blobs invading the surface.
Your lawn has been plagued with an infestation of fungi, popping up to spoil the good looks of your grass. You are searching to find out how to get rid of them before they spread, or worse, harm pets or children.
Mushrooms that grow in your lawn are not the sort you can eat, and you’re nervous you may have the type of fungi that’s poisonous. Let’s put your mind to rest with our guide to mushrooms in lawn and how to deal with them in 9+ easy steps you can apply quickly to eliminate them now.
Why do Mushrooms Grow in Lawn?
Firstly, why do mushrooms grow in lawn? Remarkably, they are a sign your soil is rich and of good quality. But that’s no comfort when they are an eyesore, and may be harmful.
The fungi family includes both mushrooms and toadstools. They thrive in damp, dark environs, breaking down organic matter in your lawn and yard. Mushrooms love those patches of lawn that are dead, thick with thatch and covered in leaves. Or areas under trees with lots of soggy leaf mould, decaying tree stumps and branches.
The main body of the fungus lives underground breaking down organic matter in the soil. This breaking down function helps the soil absorb nutrients more easily. In turn, nutrient rich soil is then able to support good lawn growth.
The mushroom, also called toadstools, is the fruit of the fungi. And it is this ‘fruit’ we recognize when they pop up in lawn.
The mushroom (the part we see above ground) spreads by dropping spores into the air to reproduce where they land. The spores can lie dormant in the soil for a long time. But as soon as conditions are right for them, they grow quickly, sometimes appearing within a day or two.
What Type of Mushrooms Grow in Lawn?
There are over 15,000 types of fungi that produce mushrooms. But, here are a few of the most common you’ll see pushing up through your grass.
Field Mushroom (Agaricus campestris)
Often appearing in spring time, or later in fall, these mushrooms look exactly as you would expect. They can grow a white cap of up to 3 inches in width and to a height of 3 inches, with gills underneath the cap of deep pink, turning to dark brown as the mushroom ages.
Take care when identifying this mushroom, as they can be easily mistaken for other non edible mushrooms such as yellow stainer or Agaricus pilantianus.
Yellow Stainer (Agaricus xanthodermus)
As suggested by its name, yellow stainer leaves a yellow blotch around the base of the stem, and around the edges of the cap.
They grow to a height of around 6 inches, and are white in color. Yet, it is the smell of the yellow stainer which tells you it is not safe to eat. Smells include iodine, hospitals and Indian ink unlike the field mushroom that smells of … well, mushroom!
Lawyer’s Wig (Coprinus comatus)
Just as shaggy looking as a lawyer’s wig, this mushroom is also known as shaggy inkcap. Tall and slim with a conical shape cap, lawyer’s wig turns from white through pink to grey and then black before dying.
These mushrooms can be found from April through to November.
Looking like a football, these mushrooms don’t have the stems, gills and caps like other mushrooms. They can grow up to a foot across with a smooth, white surface and grow throughout the summer season.
These mushrooms will often get blown about the yard in a strong wind, when they will drop their spores, ensuring they reproduce.
Fairy Ring Champignons (Marasmius oreades)
As the name implies, this is the most common of mushrooms popping up in fairy rings. Pushing up in your grass from late spring through early summer, these mushrooms help feed the grass within the centre of the circle.
You’ll spot the vibrant grass in the middle of the grass, and wonder why the grass outside looks so poor! The fungi beneath the surface feed the grass with nutrients and water, encouraging the grass to grow and release sugars back to the fungi in return.
Of course, there are many different types of mushrooms that grow in lawns. As we have suggested, many of them are not edible. If you’d like more information about what you can eat or not, take a look at this article on mushrooms and their specific characteristics.
How to Get Rid of Mushrooms in Lawn
As noted before, mushrooms will sprout in dead grass, damp, dark environments. In order to eliminate mushrooms you will have to get rid of their favorite breeding grounds.
Poor draining spots and shady areas, along with lawn filled with thatch are ideal for fungi spoors to burst into life. Take away their ideal habitat and you will, for the most part, encourage the spoors to look elsewhere to colonize.
Therefore, prevention is better than cure.
How to Prevent Mushrooms from Growing in Lawn
Clear lawn of organic matter – Grass clippings, leaves, and twigs can all increase moisture levels.
Dethatch your lawn – Keep your lawn healthy by fetching out all dead grass, weeds and moss. Here are 7 vital tips to dethatching lawn.
Improve lawn drainage – Good drainage where water is able to reach down into the soil and not sit in puddles, or create boggy ground, will help with unwanted mushrooms.
Aerate your lawn – By aerating your lawn, you will help drainage and allow air to circulate deeper into the soil. For more information on how to aerate your lawn, take a look at this guide.
Water only if necessary – Be sparing with water and only water if turf is wilting. And then, water in the cool part of the day – early morning or late at night. Watering in cool conditions won’t encourage damp environments to linger. Whereas, watering in the warmth of the day will spur on the fungi.
Apply high nitrogen fertilizer – This helps strengthen grass, boost lawn health and ward off mushrooms from growing. Best time to fertilize lawn? This backyard care guide will answer your questions.
How to Kill Mushrooms Safely
By hand – Use gloves at all times, as some mushrooms are poisonous. This will only remove the ‘fruit’ part and will not kill the fungi in the soil.
Use a natural fungicide such as vinegar – Dilute 4 parts water to 1 part vinegar. Spray directly onto the mushrooms. The acetic acid in vinegar will kill the mushrooms. However, the acid will also kill anything else it comes into contact with. So, be careful where and when you spray.
- Use baking soda – Baking soda raises the pH of soil. Start by dissolving 2 tablespoons of baking soda in a gallon of water. Aerate the soil well around the mushrooms and pour the baking soda water around and over the mushrooms so the water drains freely into the soil.
Be careful not to over water. This is not a one and done method for controlling mushrooms. You will have to carry out the steps a number of times before you see results.
- Use Dish soap – Agitate 1-2 tablespoons of dish soap into 3 gallons of water. Pour the soapy water over the mushrooms in the same manner as baking soda. Make sure to aerate the area around them first, so the water drains well. This again has the effect of changing the pH level in the soil.This another method you will have to carry out a number of times. A note of caution, though with both baking soda and dish soap: too much of either will tip the balance of pH the wrong way. Grass will not grow in high pH soil.
- Try a commercial fungicide – As with the other suggestions above, fungicide will only kill off the fruiting part of the fungi. It is therefore more effective to take preventative measures, rather than having to fix the problem once mushrooms appear.
Getting Rid of Mushrooms Doesn’t Have to Be Complicated
As you’ve read, removing mushrooms from lawn doesn’t need to be difficult. In the first instance, it is easy to take the offending mushroom ‘fruit’ away by hand, and a good pair of gloves.
Further effective methods for how to get rid of mushrooms in lawn are preventative ones. Stop mushrooms growing in the first place by maintaining your lawn all year round for healthy grass.
Here at Cresco Spreaders we are dedicated to helping you create a backyard to be proud of. With tips and technology designed to support your vision, we aim to make your gardening life easier.