Ah, the joys of summer. Warm days, sunshine, and… mushrooms? That’s right – those pesky fungi can be a real nuisance in your lawn during the warmer months.
But don’t worry! With some determination and a little know-how, you can get rid of those mushrooms for good.
Why are mushrooms growing in my lawn?
Mushrooms are actually part of a larger organism known as a fungus. Fungi need two things to grow: food and moisture.
If your lawn has poor drainage and lots of organic matter, then it is likely that mushrooms will develop over time.
Organic matter like grass clippings, decaying plants, and even animal waste all provide food sources for fungi.
Rain or excessive watering from sprinklers provides the moisture mushrooms need to thrive. Compacted soil can encourage mushroom growth, too.
Are mushrooms in your lawn good or bad?
Lawn mushrooms can be either good or bad, depending on the specific species and the overall health of your lawn.
Some species can be beneficial fungi, as they help to decompose organic material and provide nutrients to the soil.
However, there are poisonous mushrooms and harmful species that may indicate the presence of pests or diseases in your lawn.
In general, it’s a good idea to keep an eye on all the mushrooms in your lawn and take action if necessary. Take note of the places where you regularly find mushrooms growing.
If you’re unsure about the type of mushroom growing in your lawn, you can consult with a local nursery or a horticultural expert for guidance.
Types of mushrooms growing in lawns
If you notice mushrooms appearing in your lawn, observe them carefully and try to identify the species.
If the mushrooms are small, white, and relatively unobtrusive, they are likely beneficial. However, if the mushrooms are large, colourful, or appear in clusters (or fairy rings), they may be harmful to your lawn.
Australia is home to a variety of unique and fascinating lawn mushrooms, and they may come in a range of shapes, sizes and colours. Common types of mushrooms in Australia include:
- Fly Agaric Mushroom
- Bitter Oyster Mushroom
- Fairy Ring Mushroom
- Inkcap Mushroom
- Yellow Stainer Mushroom
Although these lawn mushrooms might be less than desirable for homeowners wanting a healthy lawn, they can also provide insight into parts of nature that otherwise go unnoticed.
How to get rid of mushrooms in lawn
Once you have identified them, there are several methods you can use to get rid of mushrooms safely and effectively.
How to get rid of mushrooms manually
One method is to manually remove the mushrooms by hand. This involves gently plucking each mushroom from its stem and disposing of it in a garbage bag.
However, this method should only be used on small infestations as it can take more time and effort if there are many mushrooms present.
- Locate the mushrooms on your lawn. Look for areas where the mushrooms are growing and mark them with a small flag or another marker.
- Wear garden gloves to protect your hands. Some types of wild mushrooms can cause skin irritation, so it is a good idea to wear gloves when handling them.
- Use a shovel or trowel to carefully dig up the mushrooms. Be sure to dig deep enough to remove the entire mushroom. While mushrooms don’t have an extensive root structure, some types can be an underground fungus and spread spores in the soil.
- Dispose of the mushrooms. Do not compost the mushrooms or leave them in a pile on your lawn. Instead, place them in a plastic bag and dispose of them in your garbage.
How to kill mushrooms in lawn with chemical methods
Fungicides are chemicals that are specifically designed to kill mushrooms. They can be applied to the soil or directly to the mushrooms. It is important to follow the instructions on the label carefully when using fungicides, as they can be toxic to plants, animals, and humans.
Some herbicides can also be effective at killing mushrooms. However, it is important to be cautious when using herbicides around plants, as they can also kill desirable vegetation.
Applying lime to the soil can help raise the pH level, which can make it inhospitable to fungi, including mushrooms. However, it is important to use the appropriate amount of lime, as too much can have negative effects on your lawn and plants.
How to remove mushrooms in lawn without using chemicals or herbicides
- Locate the mushrooms and put on your garden gloves.
- Dig up the visible mushrooms and put them in a plastic bag.
- Pour a few drops of dish soap and water into the hole where you dug up the mushroom. This will prevent new mushrooms from growing.
- Mix two tablespoons of baking soda and a litre of water in a watering can.
- Sprinkle the baking soda solution onto the mushrooms and surrounding soil.
- Wait 1-3 days before raking up the dead mushrooms.
- Mix one part white vinegar with four parts water in a spray bottle.
- Spray the unwanted mushrooms with the vinegar solution. Be careful because white vinegar can kill any plant it comes into contact with.
- It can take a few hours or up to four days for this spray to work, so be patient and spray only a small part of your garden.
How to stop mushrooms from returning in your lawn
There are several steps you can take to prevent future mushroom growth in your lawn:
- Remove mushrooms that are currently in your lawn. This can help reduce the number of mushroom spores that are present in the soil.
- Remove any decaying organic material from your lawn. Mushrooms often grow in areas where there is a source of decaying organic matter, such as fallen leaves, grass clippings or a tree stump.
- Do regular lawn maintenance. Mowing your lawn regularly and keeping the grass at a reasonable height can help prevent mushrooms from growing.
- Consider aerating your soil or fertilising it. Both will help reduce fungal growth by restoring the balance between water and air levels in the soil.
- Water regularly and only when needed. Yes, water is important for healthy soil and a green lawn… but it can also lead to more mushrooms growing in your lawn. So, water your plants only when they need it and don’t overwater.
- Apply a lawn fungus control product. There are many products available that are specifically designed to help prevent and control the growth of lawn fungi. These products can be applied to the soil and may help prevent mushrooms from growing.
- Consider using a different type of grass seed. Some types of grass are more resistant to fungi and can discourage mushroom growth. Consult with a local nursery or lawn care professional to determine which types of grass may be best for your area and soil conditions.
There isn’t much room for mushrooms in a healthy lawn
Unless you’re growing edible mushrooms for cooking, you’re better off removing wild mushrooms as they pop up in your lawn. The key is to be proactive in identifying and addressing any underlying causes of mushroom growth and to regularly maintain and care for your lawn.