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 how to get rid of mushrooms in lawns, and backyards.
Why Do Mushrooms Grow In Lawns?
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.
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 convert 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 sub-terranean 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 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 mushrooms 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.
How To Get Rid Of Mushrooms in Lawn
There are a number of ways to get rid of mushrooms in your lawn. Of course, you can try any method that fits your lifestyle and budget, or you can try a combination of methods for the fastest, most effective means of getting rid of them.
Although they do have a form of beauty about them, for safety reasons it is important to remove mushrooms where they may come into contact with people or pets.
How To Kill Mushrooms Using Fungicide
The mushrooms you see in your yard are like the ‘fruit’ to 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.
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 on 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.
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 along by removing any obvious sources of decaying matter, such as old rotten stumps, tree branches, animal waste, and grass clippings and thatch.
Another natural way to kill off mushrooms in your yard is to use vinegar. Household vinegar or cooking vinegar is usually much too diluted to do the trick, so you will need to find horticultural vinegar, which tends to be very potent.
Follow the directions on the bottle to dilute the horticultural vinegar to the right strength. You can put it in a spray bottle for ease of use. You will probably want to wear eye protection and gloves because vinegar at this strength can burn skin.
Simply spraying the mushrooms with the 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.
3. 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.
4. 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
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.
6. Moisture Control
Water your yard sparingly. The best time to water the lawn 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.
7. By Hand
If you see mushrooms growing, you can remove them by hand. Wear gloves if you are picking them by hand and put them in a trash bag, seal it 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.
8. 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 which 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.
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 a wild mushroom, 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
How To Get Rid Of Mushrooms In Lawns Summary
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.