What Are the Orange Mushrooms in Yard | Harmful or Not?

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 mushrooms in yards 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 I Have Orange Mushrooms in Yard

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 are orange mushrooms in your yard.

Mushroom Ecology

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:  

  • Temperature
  • Humidity
  • Soil conditions
  • Season
  • Rainfall

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 favourable 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 yard 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 Yard or Lawn

There are different types of orange mushrooms worth knowing. But today, I’ll dwell on three kinds of orange mushrooms commonly found in the yard or lawn.

Jack-O’lantern Mushroom

The most common variety of orange mushrooms that can be seen in most people’s yards are a species called Jack-o’lantern.

Let me begin with a warning concerning these pretty-looking orange mushrooms: they’re very toxic as they contain Illudins.

Jack-o’lantern mushroom

According to ScienceDirect, an Illudin is a poisonous substance that causes vomiting, breathing difficulties, excessive saliva production, diarrhoea, 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 colour. 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.

orange peel fungus

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 flavour 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.

Sulphur Shelf Mushroom

Sulphur 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 colour. 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 colour to become dull white.

Like orange peel fungus, the sulphur 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 growing on the locust, eucalyptus, cedar, or conifer trees. Mushrooms growing from plants like this will contain toxins that are harmful to humans and animals.

Are Orange Mushrooms Poisonous or Edible

There are different types and species of orange mushrooms. Some are poisonous, like the Jack-o’lantern mushroom, and can even kill if eaten raw or cooked. Still, there are edible orange mushrooms. The problem comes in identifying them.

I have some vital tips that will help in the hunt for edible orange mushrooms. But I still insist that you work closely with a mushroom expert.

  • Only hunt for them alone if you have the needed education and experience
  • Join any mycology club around you to learn more about different species of mushrooms, not only the orange mushrooms
  • 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 orange mushrooms found growing in a yard or garden.

Fungicide

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.

Vinegar

Mixing vinegar and water provides a homemade fungicide one can use to kill orange 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. It should only land on the orange mushrooms.

Baking Soda

Are you looking for a more natural way to eliminate the orange mushrooms growing in the yard? I suggest trying baking soda. It can kill all the orange mushrooms in less than three days if used as recommended.

Baking soda doesn’t really kill the mushrooms but will make the conditions unfavourable 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 orange mushrooms.

Only one tablespoon of baking soda added to a gallon of water is enough to eliminate all the unwanted orange mushrooms.

Dish Soap

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 orange mushrooms
  • For effective results, repeat this process severally

Remove by Hand

Sometimes, the orange 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.

Conclusion

Many orange mushroom types will look similar, making it tough to tell if some are harmful. Additionally, most homeowners are not prone to harvesting and consuming fungi in their yard, so they often eliminate them, especially in homes with pets and kids.

Nevertheless, I recommend working closely with a professional in identifying edible orange mushroom species if you must eat them.