In Gardening

Mushrooms in the Lawn: Good or Bad?

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Mushrooms in the lawn are actually a common problem for most homeowners. Remember, your lawn is a part of nature and mushrooms are natural in nature. In some parts of the country, if your mushrooms grow in a circle, they are also known as fairy rings.

The question is whether or not mushrooms in the lawn are a good thing or a bad thing. What causes them to grow and what role do mushrooms play? If they are bothering you, there are several different methods of handling mushrooms in your lawn.

Are Mushrooms in the Lawn Good or Bad

It’s not a bad thing or a good thing to have mushrooms in the lawn. They could indicate that your turf grass isn’t as healthy as it could be as well as decaying vegetation. But mushrooms help keep the overall environment cycling as it’s supposed to.

Why do Mushrooms Grow in my Grass

mushrooms on decaying biomass

The key to maintaining a mushroom-free lawn is to know why mushrooms grow in the first place. Mushrooms hold a specific role in the environment as the recyclers of the world. They, just like any other plant, have a desired habitat to grow in.

Decaying Biomass

The number one reason why mushrooms grow in lawns is underlying decaying biomass. In other words, just for example, if you take out a tree, the roots will still be in the ground and they will start to decay. Mushrooms grow anywhere that something formerly alive is decaying.

Too Much Moisture or Shade

Mushrooms prefer higher moisture environments. And they don’t require sunlight to grow. This means that mushrooms grow best in shady and damp areas of your yard. Of course, mushrooms can grow in full sunlight but the sun typically dries out the ground too much for them to grow well there.

Compacted Soil

Compacted soil keeps your preferred plants from growing. This means that the soil is more available to grow mushrooms. To help prevent mushrooms in the lawn, aerate the soil every few years to not only break up the soil but also improve airflow in the roots of the grass.

How to Get Rid of Mushrooms in the Lawn

If the mushrooms are annoying you, there are a few different things that you can do in order to prevent them and get rid of them. Just make sure that you don’t damage things too much by overapplying chemicals to the area.

Reduce Excess Moisture and Shade

Prevent mushrooms from even growing in the first place by reducing moisture. If your yard has areas where water pools, fill them in so that the water drains out of them better and makes them dry out faster. With less moisture in the area, mushrooms will have trouble growing there. If you reduce the shade, it will help to dry out the area even further.

Clear out Organic Material

For yards prone to mushroom problems, it is important to reduce the organic material in the area. Make sure that any organic debris such as leaves, flowers, and branches are cleaned up promptly. If you take out any plants with large root systems, clear out as much of the roots as possible.

Clear, sunny, dry lawns will not have as many mushrooms

Cut Mushrooms off at the Base

For mushrooms that have already grown up, you can cut them off at the base. Gently cut them with a sharp knife as low to the ground as possible. And then remove them gently to prevent any spores from spreading to the rest of your lawn.

Lawn Mushroom Killer

As a final measure to get rid of any mushrooms that have grown, you can also purchase a fungicide to spray on them and kill them. This will also kill any healthy fungi in your lawn and you should use fungicides sparingly to prevent damaging your lawn.

Reasons to allow Mushrooms in the lawn

mushrooms in nutrient cycling

Mushrooms in the lawn are not always a serious problem. They are actually just a part of the overall environment that the lawn is also a part of. If the mushrooms are not bothering you, don’t hesitate to keep them where they’re at.

Mushrooms Provide Nutrients

When mushrooms break down decaying matter, they actually recycle those nutrients back into the soil. They are the ultimate natural recycling system. By providing more of these nutrients to the soil, mushrooms could actually make your lawn healthier overall.

Mushrooms are a Sign of Healthy Soil

Remember, mushrooms are actually a sign of healthy soil and a thriving ecosystem. Without a healthy ecosystem as a whole, mushrooms couldn’t survive. They require the regular cycling of life in order to grow.

Should I Get Rid of Mushrooms in my Lawn

kids and pets

Mushrooms in your lawn are not always a bad thing. But if they are bothering you, you can take them out. If you have any kids or pets that may try to eat the mushrooms, you should also remove them just to be safe. The last thing you want is for any of them to be poisonous.

What Types of Mushrooms Grow in the Yard

There are actually several types of mushrooms that grow in your yard depending on the area in which you live and the plant life that you have in your yard. Just remember that you will probably not be able to identify them with 100% accuracy.

White Mushrooms

  • Meadow Mushrooms
    • 1-4” across
    • White caps
    • Pink or brown gills
  • Vomiter Mushroom
    • 2-12” wide
    • White tops with brown center
  • Destroying Angel Mushroom
    • 1-6” wide
    • Pure white tops

There are a few species of white mushroom that will grow in your lawn. Some of them are harmless and others are deadly poisonous.

Typically, white lawn mushrooms are small diameters and relatively short. They prefer to grow at the base of large trees, especially oak trees. 

Brown Mushrooms

  • Haymaker Mushrooms
    • 1.5” wide
    • Brown caps
  • Fairy Ring Mushrooms
    • .5-3” wide
    • Brown flat caps

Brown mushrooms are more commonly seen in lawns than white mushrooms. They are usually a little wider than most white mushrooms.

Again, some of them are edible and some are not. You will find brown mushrooms under trees and in the center of your lawn.

Are Lawn Mushrooms Edible or Poisonous

Unless you have extensive experience with identifying mushrooms, you should not eat lawn mushrooms. You are just as likely to eat a poisonous mushroom as an edible one. You would also need to be careful of any fertilizers or poisons that could be in the mushrooms because you put them on your lawn.

Conclusion

It doesn’t matter what type of turf grass your lawn is made of, you’re probably going to get mushrooms in the lawn sooner or later. This isn’t a bad thing though. Mushrooms are simply a part of the natural environment. Though if you have kids or pets that may eat them, you should always remove them. It’s easier than you think to take them out though.