Mushrooms are, without a doubt, a sweet delicacy. They add a warm, savoury, and umami flavour to any meal without meat. However, not all mushroom species are safe for human consumption. Some are poisonous and can even kill if ingested.
You may be curious to know if orange-coloured mushrooms in your yard are safe or if they can harm people or your pets. Knowing which mushrooms are harmless and what types need removing before you expose pets or kids is critical.
Read on to learn if they’re safe for consumption or not.
- Why Do Mushrooms Grow In Backyards
- Identifying Orange Mushrooms in Yards or Lawns
- Are Orange Fungi Poisonous or Edible
- How to Get Rid of Orange Mushrooms
Why Do Mushrooms Grow In Backyards
Mushrooms are fungi living under the soil and can appear overnight if the conditions are right. Typically, this growth is quick when there is warm, damp weather. If there are mushrooms appearing, it is an indication that there is an abundance of organic material in the soil.
The rain might have encouraged them to appear in various places in the yard, under shrubs, and on trees. The below subtopics explain why there could be orange mushrooms growing in your yard.
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A mushroom is a fungus living under the soil. Its presence in the yard depends on how well it can adapt to the yard’s environmental conditions.
Throughout their life cycle, fungi can appear and spread in various forms depending on the various components of the fungi. These include spores, mycelium, sporocarp, and sclerotium.
Mushrooms relate differently to the habitats, site conditions, and living organisms in a given environment. They’ll naturally appear on shrubs, tree logs, deserts, open lands, and barks. With so many variances that contribute to their development and existence, it’s easy to understand why you may have them in your yard.
The reason they appear naturally in such environments is also food for thought. Their existence is highly linked to several factors, including:
- Soil conditions
That said, these fungi will never produce fruiting bodies, which produce the spores for further growth until the conditions are suitable. The temperature and moisture must be adequate for the mushrooms to appear. While the majority of mushrooms appear naturally after rainfall, others only pop up in the winter seasons.
How Do Mushrooms Spread
Mushrooms contain spores in their caps that they only release once they mature. The cap will widen in maturity to allow the spores to disperse. These spores travel widely by wind and can only germinate in favorable conditions of warm, damp organic matter.
Orange mushrooms mainly grow on decaying trees and in lawns with organic materials. Their presence in the yard gives an assurance that the soil is healthy.
To remove them, I recommend getting rid of their primary source. That is, the decaying wood in the yard or digging out the buried wood under the soil. But they can also disappear on their own once the soil dries up or when the sun is up.
Identifying Orange Mushrooms in Yards or Lawns
There are different types of mushrooms worth knowing about. But the focus of this article is about three specific types of mushrooms that are orange in color and commonly found growing in backyards or lawns.
The most common orange-colored variety of mushrooms that is seen in most people’s yards is a species called Jack-o’lantern.
Let me begin with a warning concerning these pretty-looking fungi: they’re very toxic as they contain Illudins.
According to ScienceDirect, an Illudin is a poisonous substance that causes vomiting, breathing difficulties, excessive saliva production, diarrhea, and severe cramps if consumed.
These symptoms usually appear thirty minutes after eating these mushrooms. Given the extreme effects, it goes without saying that this type of mushroom should not be ingested by humans or animals in any amount.
This mushroom comes in two forms, depending on the environment. It may appear as bright orange or in shades of olive and orange.
In most cases, Jack-o’lantern mushrooms appear in clusters on decaying trees, buried woods, and stumps.
Many people eat them thinking they’re chanterelle, an edible mushroom species, based on their color. Indeed, it’s only the symptoms above that confirm the opposite.
Orange Peel Fungus
The orange peel fungus is common in North America in both the fall and summer seasons.
These mushrooms have a bright orange cup-like body right from the roots, without a distinct cap.
They can grow up to 5cm, but others may appear flat on the ground. Unlike the jack-o’lantern mushroom, orange peel fungus is edible. However, they do not carry a strong flavor or taste, making them not as popular as other edible fungi.
Typically, orange peel fungus grows in clusters on the ground, among the grass, near wood edges, and besides dead trees.
Sulphur Shelf Mushroom
Commonly referred to as the chicken of the woods, the sulfur shelf mushroom is easy to identify.
They come in two distinct colors, either bright yellow or orange. They’re meaty and appear on a unique structure resembling a shelf.
Sulfur shelf mushrooms grow mostly on large oak trees that are dead. When identifying these mushrooms, one notices their shelf-like construction and bright orange/yellow color. However, other factors also count.
They have semicircular caps that are covered with tiny pores on the lower part. The upper part of the caps is pretty smooth. The meaty cap is about 20cm deep and can grow up to 30cm wide.
On maturity, these Sulphur Shelf mushrooms tend to fade their bright orange color to become dull white.
Like orange peel fungus, the sulfur shelf mushroom is edible and very rich in nutrients. They taste like chicken when cooked. But I don’t recommend eating them raw as they may cause severe allergic reactions in some people.
Though they mostly grow on hardwood trees such as oak, cherry, and maple, these mushrooms can also grow on other types of trees. Some of these trees are conifer, locust, and eucalyptus.
It’s advisable not to eat any Sulphur Shelf mushrooms found growing on Locust, Eucalyptus, Cedar, or Conifer trees. Mushrooms growing from plants like this will contain toxins that are harmful to humans and animals.
Are Orange Fungi Poisonous or Edible
Some mushrooms that are orange in color are poisonous, like the Jack-o’lantern mushroom, and can even kill if eaten raw or cooked. Other varieties are edible. The problem, however, comes in identifying them.
I have some vital tips that will help in the hunt for edible mushrooms – regardless of their color. Nevertheless, I recommend that you only forage with a mushroom expert.
- Only hunt for them alone if you are an experienced mushroom forager
- Join any mycology club around you to learn more about different species of mushrooms, not only the species that are orange
- Get a mushroom hunting guide suitable for the area you live in
- Avoid mushrooms that are insect-infested, have a terrible smell, and with decaying meat. Such mushrooms are past their maturity
How to Get Rid of Orange Mushrooms
There are a number of tried and tested ways of how to get rid of fungus, from plucking them out by hand to spraying fungicide. Here are five proven methods on how homeowners can get rid of mushrooms found growing in their yard or garden.
The most effective way is to use a fungicide to treat the yard. This way, the primary source of these mushrooms gets killed.
There are many fungicides suitable for the garden that are available in the market. Depending on the one a homeowner decides to buy, follow the manufacturer’s instructions carefully for effective results.
After mixing as recommended by the manufacturer, transfer to a bottle sprayer and spray severally in the yard.
Mixing vinegar and water provides a homemade fungicide that is an effective way of killing mushrooms.
In a spray bottle, add 1:4 parts of vinegar-water ratio, or as directed by a professional/vinegar manufacturer.
Note that this homemade fungicide solution can also kill grass and plants in the yard. Therefore, when using it, I recommend you do it carefully. You only want it to land on the mushrooms.
If you want a more natural way to eliminate the mushrooms found growing in the yard, I suggest trying baking soda. It can eradicate all types of fungus in less than three days if used as recommended.
Baking soda doesn’t really kill the mushrooms but will make the conditions unfavorable for them to thrive. When applied in the yard, this natural fungicide increases the alkaline level of soil, which in turn inhibits the growth of mushrooms.
I recommend mixing one tablespoon of baking soda with a gallon of water.
The process of using dish soap is somehow long, but I can assure you, it’s all worth the effort. Here’s how to make the soapy solution:
- In a container filled with two or three gallons of water, add three tablespoons of dish soap
- Stir to ensure it’s well-mixed
- Now, use any tool available to poke holes in the yard
- Next, pour this soapy solution into these holes and on the visible mushrooms
- For effective results, repeat this process severally
Remove by Hand
Sometimes, mushrooms may appear next to plants and grass, so killing them using the four suggested methods may not be possible. In this case, I recommend removing them by hand.
However, have your gloves on and pluck them right from the roots. Place them in a tight container and later in a general waste bin rather than on your compost heap. This way, their spores don’t spread further in the yard.
Finding an orange mushroom in your yard can be fascinating for some homeowners but a worry for others. Their color, texture, and structures are a sight to behold, but with many varieties looking similar, it can be tough to tell which ones are harmful, especially if you have kids and pets.
Although they have many beneficial properties when it comes to soil enrichment, unless you are a seasoned professional when it comes to foraging, my recommendations are clear. Avoid picking them up, leave them well alone, or consider taking action to get rid of them completely.