Mushrooms are Typically the Result of Decomposing Wood in the Soil

Problem Grass Mushrooms

What Are Mushrooms?

Mushrooms found in your lawn look a lot like those on your plate. They often have short, wide caps and a narrow stem, but there are many varieties. The job of all mushrooms is to help decompose rotting material. They thrive in moist, shady areas and grow most commonly in the Midwest in the Fall. Mushrooms are the fruiting bodies of fungi in the soil. Typically mushrooms are a result of some kind of decomposing wood in the soil, often old or dead tree roots.

What Causes Mushrooms?

Mushrooms are usually an indication of what’s going on in the soil. Mushrooms are caused by mycelium fungus and are not harmful to your lawn but are not very pretty to look at. As you know, bacteria live in soil and mushrooms gain their sustenance from bacteria and fungi. They typically thrive on rotting wood and also on moist, shady soil. Most of the time, mushrooms are an indication of happy soil with thriving, good bacteria, and rich nutrients. The easiest thing to do is not worry about them: you go on with your business and they will do their own thing and die off quickly.

How To Get Rid Of Mushrooms In Your Lawn?

If you are bothered by your mushrooms, first, pull the mushrooms out. They propagate via spores, so getting rid of the above-ground fruiting body will eliminate how the spores are sent out. Do not put them in your compost - this is one thing we encourage you to send to the landfill! Dispose of your mushroom collection in a sealed bag in the trash. This really may be all you need to do. Mushrooms come and go easily and so if you don’t see more mushrooms soon, you’re done! 

If you have reoccurring mushrooms, you may need to do more than pull them out of the ground. One reason mushrooms may be extra happy in your lawn (besides your thriving bacteria) is that you have excess thatch. Thatch is the layer of dead grass, leaves, and decaying material right above the soil of your lawn. It helps build healthy soil but can also get overly thick and hinder healthy grass growth. Aerating your lawn will break up and remove thatch, as well as add oxygen to your soil, allowing grass to prosper. Aerating will also alleviate Compacted Soil, which is another common cause of mushrooms. We suggest Core Aeration or Liquid Aeration. Core, or physical, Aeration pokes small holes in your lawn with a roller or spikes clipped to your shoes. Liquid Aeration uses a solvent that will do the job for you. DIY products we recommend for aerating your lawn and breaking down compaction are Liquid Aerator and Thatch Master. Of course, Good Nature Organic Lawn Care also offers both of these aeration services, if you are interested.

Buy Liquid Aerator

Buy Thatch Master

How To Prevent Mushrooms In Your Lawn

Mushrooms thrive in moist areas. Have you been watering too much? Do you often have standing water in your lawn? You may need to address ponding low areas and change your watering schedule. Additionally, pick up dog waste and dropped leaves regularly to reduce decaying material in your lawn. And lastly, mushrooms like deep shade. You might try to reduce shade in your yard by trimming branches or moving solid fences.

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Problem Grass Mushrooms Red

How To Identify Mushrooms In Your Yard

Problem Mushrooms Tree
  • Most have wide caps & narrow stems
  • Some varieties grow directly off trees
  • Found in damp, shady areas of yard
  • Often grow in clusters

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