Last Updated on July 27, 2021 by Grow with Bovees
Mushrooms can be an unsightly addition to an otherwise immaculate lawn. Though in most cases harmless, there are poisonous varieties of lawn mushrooms, so it’s a good idea to keep them away from culinary curious kids and like-minded pets.
So the mushrooms have to go. But before we can answer the “how to get rid of mushrooms in yard” question, let’s take a little look at the impertinent invader itself and find out why it might be growing on your lawn in the first place.
Know your enemy.
Why Do Mushrooms Grow in My Grass?
Believe it or not, lawn fungi are already a part of the composition of your soil. These fungi help with the decomposition of organic matter.
The fact that mushrooms are appearing above the surface might be the result of tree leaves or decaying wood that have fallen in your yard, too much moisture, or a lack of light.
Otherwise, it could simply be that spores have been carried into your yard by the wind, birds, and insects.
These spores then go on to establish threadlike filaments called hyphae. A tell-tale sign that mushrooms might be on their way is the browning of grass in dark circular patterns.
These patterns often precede the growth of mushrooms and are sometimes referred to as “fairy rings.”
Does This Indicate an Unhealthy Lawn?
While the browning of grass might signal a nutrient problem, generally speaking, the presence of mushrooms indicates that your garden is part of a healthy ecosystem. Mushrooms serve an important function in that they help to decompose organic matter as well as providing nutrients to the surrounding soil.
That said, if you need to remove the mushrooms from your lawn, then this is how it should be done.
How To Rid Yourself of Mushrooms
The key to effectively removing mushrooms is to treat the cause at the root, so to speak. Simply removing a lawn mushroom head from the surface, though necessary, will not stop the mushroom problem from coming back.
In order to be effective, the campaign against mushrooms in your yard needs to be holistic, incorporating good yard maintenance practices.
Removal and Disposal
Before we can move onto more preventative measures, however, it is necessary to completely remove all the mushrooms from your lawn. This must be done manually without the use of a lawnmower. The last thing you want to do is scatter mushroom spores to all the corners of your yard.
When it comes to disposing of mushrooms, it’s a good idea to bag them as soon as they are pulled. Again, this prevents those pesky spores from spreading and adding to your troubles.
At this stage of the process, it might be a good idea to spread a little nitrogen fertilizer on the spots that the mushrooms were taken from. This will speed up any decomposition and encourage new grass to grow—factors that contribute to preventing future mushroom growth.
Prevention is the key to keeping mushrooms at bay. It is important to create an environment that they don’t like. Think of yourself as a poor host in the relationship.
Let’s see what that actually entails when it comes to lawn mushrooms.
Remove Food Source
A good place to begin is by tackling your uninvited guests’ food source. By removing decaying plant matter, such as rotting wood, fallen tree leaves, grass clippings, or even animal waste, you are effectively starving mushrooms out.
Remember, some of this organic matter might be buried beneath the surface of your lawn—so it might not always be immediately visible.
Water Less/Improve Drainage
Fungi thrive in damp and shaded areas, so it might be a good idea to water your lawn less frequently and restrict watering to the daylight hours, preferably the morning. This will mean there is less chance of the damp and the dark coming into contact—the perfect conditions for mushrooms to grow.
Good irrigation is also an essential factor, particularly if you’ve been experiencing a lot of rain.
The idea is to keep excess moisture down to a minimum.
Keep Things Well Aired
It is helpful to improve airflow as much as possible. This will ensure that the soil dries quicker and is, therefore, less attractive to fungi. Removing any thatch will help in this endeavor.
As will shorter grass, so mowing frequently is another strategy for discouraging mushroom growth. Obviously, you should remove any mushrooms before cutting the lawn; otherwise, you risk spreading the problem even further.
Using Fungicide to Kill Mushrooms in Your Lawn
The consensus among experts is that, despite promises and ads made by manufacturers, fungicides don’t work when it comes to getting rid of mushrooms. The chief reason for this is a lack of penetration on the fungicides part, which leaves the hyphae (that underground network, remember) very much intact.
So while you might appear to be dealing with the problem on a superficial level, below the surface, the root causes for mushroom growth remain the same.
In other words, despite their name, fungicides are not suited to all kinds of fungi treatment. It might be best to steer clear of them and stick to a more holistic root and branch approach.
Natural Alternatives: Vinegar
A more natural alternative to fungicide is a combination of vinegar and water. Vinegar contains an active ingredient called acetic acid. Though harmless to humans, this perfectly natural acid is a killer when it comes to lawn mushrooms. The only problem is that grass doesn’t particularly like it either, so spray as directly as possible.
That said, though vinegar is effective at getting rid of mushrooms and perhaps even slowing their return, it does not tackle the root issues.
How Do Mushrooms Spread?
Mushroom spores spread when a mushroom head is disturbed in some way. Mushroom spores might even be carried into your garden by the wind, insects, birds, or other animals.
How Do I Get Rid Of Mushrooms in My Lawn Without Killing the Grass?
By removing organic matter, such as rotting wood, fallen tree leaves, plant matter, grass clippings, dead shrub roots, or even pet waste, you are effectively starving the mushrooms out. All this organic matter can be composted and used to great benefit if you take the time. Good drainage, improved aeration, and light will also combat mushrooms without destroying surrounding grass or your lawn’s natural ecosystem.
Will Vinegar Kill Mushrooms in My Yard Like It Does Weeds?
The active ingredient in white vinegar, acetic acid, is harmful to mushrooms and will eventually kill them. That said, vinegar isn’t great for grass either, so a good aim is vital. Moreover, when ridding yourself of mushrooms with vinegar, there is no guarantee that the mushrooms won’t return. In other words, vinegar doesn’t tackle the underlying reason for mushrooms in your yard.
Should You Be Concerned About Lawn Mushrooms?
Although generally speaking, the appearance of mushrooms in your yard suggests a healthy ecosystem and shouldn’t be the cause of great alarm, some mushroom varieties are poisonous to people, so they must be treated with extreme caution.
If kids and pets frequent your lawn, then it would be an excellent idea to get rid of mushrooms for greater peace of mind.
And that about covers it. By incorporating some of the content from above into your own lawn maintenance program, you will effectively eradicate mushrooms and stop them from ever interfering with your lawn again.
Allowing you, your family, and your pets to safely enjoy the beauty of being in the yard with perfect peace of mind.