8 Ways How To Get Rid Of Mushrooms in Lawns and Yard

Are there mushrooms appearing in your yard? This can be an unsightly problem, especially if you pride yourself on your beautiful lawn and gardens.

Not only do mushrooms look ugly across your pristine green lawn, but they can also present a risk to children and pets, or release fly-attracting odors creating a secondary problem

Keep reading if you want to learn why mushrooms are growing in your yard and how to get rid of mushrooms in your lawn.

Why are Mushrooms Growing in my Yard?

You probably know that mushrooms are a type of fungi. We tend to think of them as a type of toadstool, with a cap, stem, and gills underneath the cap, but they can include other types of fungi, that grow in all sorts of wonderful shapes and sizes.

Mushrooms typically thrive in damp, dark environments that have plenty of rich decaying matter. But you absolutely must not confuse lawn mushrooms with the species of mushrooms we like to eat, this can prove fatal or at least nauseating at best.

Mushroom Ecology

Mushrooms help to break down the organic matter in the soil and turn it into nutrients that your lawn can use. So if you see mushrooms, they are a sign that organic matter is breaking down and the soil is rich and of good quality. They do actually provide a valuable role in converting organic material into a more usable form of nutrients for other plants.

It is not uncommon for a yard to contain animal waste, dead grass, dead leaves, and even branches and old decaying tree trunks, or even subterranean roots. These are all great sources of food for mushrooms to break down into usable nutrients for other plants. 

Poorly draining yards and shady lawns are prime spots for mushrooms to thrive. A lawn with a lot of thatch will also have a lot of organic matter that mushrooms can feed on.

Then there are yards that are home to animals such as dogs, cats, chickens, or goats, the waste from these animals will provide organic matter that makes a great home for mushrooms to sprout.

How Do Mushrooms Reproduce and Spread

Mushrooms spread via spores. Spores are tiny reproductive cells that are released by the mushroom, carried on the wind. They land and start new mushroom colonies. UCLA researcher, Marcus Roper, explains that mushrooms create their own ‘wind’ to help spread their spores. Mushrooms allow their moisture to evaporate, which creates both cool air and water vapor around the mushroom. This gives the spores enough lift to spread out. The mushroom’s natural ‘wind’ can carry the spores as much as four inches up and out.

In dry times or stressful seasons, spores can go dormant and wait until the conditions are right to start growing new mushrooms and colonies.

Spore Rain (mushrooms reproduction)

How Fast Do Mushrooms Grow

Mushrooms are one of the fastest-growing organisms you will find in your garden. Small mushrooms can grow in just 1 day, and medium to large mushrooms take approximately 3 or 4 days to reach maturity. The rate of growth will be influenced by a number of environmental factors, including moisture level, and temperature.

How To Get Rid Of Mushrooms in Lawn

There are a number of ways to get rid of mushrooms on your lawn. But prevention is better than the cure, so for long-term success, you need to follow these basic lawn care procedures.

6 Tactics To Get Rid of Mushrooms:

  1. Improve Lawn Drainage mushrooms flourish in moist conditions. Improve drainage by aerating your lawn and if necessary amend the soil with sand
  2. Dethatch Your Lawn and mowing it short will improve airflow and light penetration to the soil, also removing excess moisture
  3. Clear Organic Materials such as grass clippings, fallen leaves, and other items that can increase moisture build-up and damp
  4. Only Water Early Morning avoid watering your lawn in the afternoon or evening as this creates the perfect damp environment overnight for spores to become active
  5. Apply High Nitrogen Fertilizer this will speed up the decomposition of the organic matter that mushrooms feed on, shortening their life span
  6. Apply Fungicide Treatment to your lawn, this will penetrate into your soil and tackle dormant mushroom spores sitting within the soil

Taking these basic steps will give you the best chance of controlling mushrooms on your lawn over the long term. If you have mushrooms right now, then you will also need to take corrective action to get rid of the mushrooms around your yard. This can be achieved by implementing one of the following fungicidal treatments:

How To Kill Mushrooms Using Fungicide

The mushrooms you see in your yard are like the ‘fruit’ of the body of fungi growing under the soil. Because of this, spraying fungicide onto the mushrooms itself, probably won’t kill the mushrooms directly. However, it can be used to kill the fungi growing beneath the soil.

Fungicide

There are a number of garden fungicides for purchase that can be used to treat your lawn or yard. These should be used with caution in yards where children and pets play. You can purchase sprayer attachments that fit onto your garden hose allowing you to spray the affected areas. Alternatively, you can dilute the product with water and use a backpack sprayer or pump sprayer, and finally, a granular product is also available that you can sprinkle or broadcast across your lawn surface.

Over time, you should see the mushrooms diminish. This may not be a permanent solution, so you will need to use additional measures to prevent the mushrooms from returning.

Pick and dispose of any visible mushrooms so they do not spread spores and clean your lawn areas of any decaying matter that could contribute to mushroom growth.

If the household products do not take care of the problem effectively, you can hire a professional to use more potent products on your lawn.

Natural Ways How To Get Rid Of Mushrooms In Lawn

The most natural way to get rid of mushrooms in your yard is to allow them to dissipate by seeing out their own life cycle.

Since mushrooms grow in organic matter that is decaying and breaking down, once this process is complete, the mushrooms will naturally die off and disappear. You can help this process by removing any obvious sources of decaying matter, such as old rotten stumps, tree branches, animal waste, grass clippings, and thatch regularly with a thatching rake

Vinegar

Another natural way to kill off mushrooms in your yard is to use vinegar. Household vinegar or cooking vinegar is usually too diluted to be effective, so you will need to use horticultural vinegar, which tends to be 30-50% concentrated.

Dilute the horticultural vinegar to a ratio of 4 parts water to 1 part vinegar. You can put it in a spray bottle for ease of application. You will probably want to wear eye protection and gloves because vinegar at this strength can burn skin.

Simply spraying the mushrooms with a vinegar solution will kill them. It may also kill surrounding grass, so spray carefully. You may want to do a test area and leave it for a few days to check the effect.

How Does Vinegar Kill Mushrooms

Vinegar is an acidic substance that contains an active ingredient called acetic acid which gives vinegar its familiar odor. Acetic Acis is also used in medical applications to kill bacteria and fungi infections.

Baking Soda

For a more gentle approach to removing mushrooms, try baking soda. Baking soda is not a fungicide, however, it will help to mitigate the problem by raising the pH of the soil inhibiting the mushroom’s growth. It is not a permanent solution, but it is gentle, safe, and effective.

Mix two tablespoons of baking soda per gallon of water and stir until it is well dissolved. Spray the mixture onto the mushrooms and the surrounding soil. Over time, this will reduce the growth and even kill the mushrooms.

Alternatively, you can sprinkle baking soda directly on the mushrooms and the soil and water it in. You may need to repeat this method regularly to see results, however, it is both inexpensive and safe to use around children and pets.

Just take note that any significant changes to the soil’s pH level could inhibit the growth of other plants in the immediate area.

How Does Baking Soda Kill Mushrooms

Baking soda, also known as sodium bicarbonate, is another natural preventative treatment for mushrooms. When diluted with water and sprayed onto fungi its acts to disrupt the growth and prevent mushrooms from producing. So baking Soda is more of a preventtive approach than a cure.

Dish Soap

Another, easy and natural solution to killing mushrooms in your yard is to use dish soap.

Mix one or two tablespoons of any commercial dish soap with up to three gallons of water. With a screwdriver, poke holes in the soil around the mushrooms. Pour the soapy water over the mushrooms and into the holes so that it interrupts the life cycle of the fungi beneath the soil surface.

Repeat this process several times a day for a week, and you will see a fast reduction in your mushroom colonies. The key to making this work is to make sure the soapy water gets down deep into the soil where the fungi live.

How To Get Rid Of Mushrooms In Yard Areas

Clean

To get rid of mushrooms in your yard areas, first, make sure to keep your yard clean. Remove dead clippings, leaves, and any other decaying organic material. If left in the yard it is the perfect food source for mushrooms to flourish. So removing it will help keep the mushroom population under control.

1. Moisture Control

Water your yard sparingly. The best time to water the lawn is early in the morning so that the sun has time to dry off any extra moisture. Do not overwater your lawn because dampness will encourage mushrooms to grow.

Trim away and remove any excess branches on trees and shrubs because shady areas make a welcoming home to fungi.

2. Lift Mushrooms By Hand

If you see mushrooms growing, you can remove them by hand. Wear gloves if you are picking them up by hand and putting them in a trash bag, seal them up tightly, and throw them into the trash. Do not put mushrooms in a compost pile because their spores could continue to spread.

You can also mow them off with the lawnmower or smash them with a shove. Try to destroy or remove mushrooms before they grow large. They need to be removed before they are big enough to release more spores.

Do mushrooms Grow Back After You Pick Them?

Yes, mushrooms will regrow after picking. However, it is important to clarify the mushroom is simply the fruit of the mycelium root network within the ground. So the mushroom you have picked may not have shed spores to reproduce. But if left untreated with a fungicide or similar treatment you can be sure the mycelium or other mushroom spores will get to work and produce more fungi.

3. Nitrogen Fertilizer

Fertilize your yard with a nitrogen-based fertilizer to prevent more mushrooms from forming. Mushrooms will feed off of decaying matter in your soil. Adding nitrogen to the yard will increase the speed at which the organic matter decays. The faster it decays, the quicker the life cycle of the mushrooms will end.

When considering how to get rid of mushrooms in lawns this is a great dual approach. Simple basic lawn care will tackle your mushroom problem simultaneously.

Are Mushrooms In My Lawn Dangerous

The mushrooms you find growing in your yard are not dangerous to the yard itself. In fact, they are helpful organisms because they can break down the organic matter into nutrients that your lawn can absorb easily.

They will not spread diseases to your yard and will likely disappear once the organic matter has been broken down and there is nothing more for the mushrooms and fungi to feed on.

However, there are over 100 species of toxic mushrooms that can cause a range of symptoms from diarrhea, to vomiting and stomach pain. Some kinds of mushrooms can cause the kidneys to shut down and the most poisonous mushrooms can cause liver failure leading to death.

death cap mushroom

Amanita Phalloides

The most poisonous mushrooms are Death Caps or amanita phalloides.

They look perfectly benign and may even resemble the delicious varieties of mushrooms you can purchase at the grocery store.

This is why it is important to never eat wild mushrooms, they are difficult to identify, and the risk of death or serious illness is just too high.

Symptoms of mushroom poisoning can appear anywhere from 20 minutes to 24 hours after ingestion. With amanita poisoning, there may be an initial onset of digestive symptoms, followed by a short period of recovery. Within a few hours or days of ingestion, there may be an onset of septic shock, internal bleeding, and liver failure. Currently, there are no medications that will mitigate this poison.

Always teach children not to touch or eat mushrooms they may see in the yard or growing in the wild. If you suspect someone has eaten a mushroom, seek immediate medical attention. If possible, bag and take the suspected mushroom to help medical professionals choose the right course of action.

Common Garden Mushrooms

There are over 10,000 types of fungi that produce mushrooms, many of them are completely harmless, whilst others can present a genuine risk to health. Here is a list of some of the more common garden mushrooms with identification pictures.

Lawn Mushroom Identification Pictures

Coprinus_comatus,_the_shaggy_ink_cap,_lawyer's_wig,_or_shaggy_mane_mushroom
Coprinus comatus

Lawyer’s Wig

Lawyer’s Wig is also known as a shaggy ink cap or Coprinus. This type of mushroom grows in tall cylinders with shaggy edges, making it look like a wig. When it is time for this species of mushroom to release its spores, it turns from white to inky black. It quickly releases the spores, then shrivels and dies.

Chlorophyllum_molybdites_169974_cropped
Chlorophyllum molybdites

Green-spored Lepiota

A lawn mushroom that is toxic to pets and humans. It spans 2-4 inches but can reach up to 10 inches. A thick white mushroom with white gills, becoming green-gray as the mushroom matures. Very common throughout the United States, but more prevalent in Southern regions. Risk to children and pets.

Spiny_Puffball_Mushroom_(15437938476)
Calvatia

Puffball

Puffball is the name for a type of mushroom that does not have stems, caps, or gills. It appears as a round puffball. Some can even grow up to a foot across. If you step on a puffball, you may be surprised by a small cloud of dark brown spores released from the hole in its top.

mushroom Fairy_Ring
Mushroom Formation

Fairy Rings

There are more than 60 species of mushrooms that can make a fairy ring in your yard. A fairy ring starts with a central food source, such as a rotting tree stump. The fungi fan out under the soil from the stump, and mushrooms, the visible part of the fungi, grow in circles or waves around the food source.

Verdict: How To Get Rid Of Mushrooms In Lawns

Although mushrooms will not harm your yard, they certainly can be unsightly and they can also be poisonous to people and pets. For that reason alone, it is wise to remove them as quickly and safely as possible.

We have looked into how to get rid of mushrooms by combining several techniques for mushroom removal and control. Remove any visible mushrooms by hand as soon as you notice them so they do not produce spores. Correct the conditions which lead to mushroom growth, such as dampness, shady areas, and extra organic matter in the yard, Lastly, treat the mushrooms and soil using natural or chemical methods to prevent the fungi from spreading any further.

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