“Ahhhh,” sighed the old lady. She was very distraught. “What am I to do with these mushrooms?” she lamented as she paced around her tiny garden. The lawn had been alive with beautiful flowers and a picturesque tree, now it was overrun with mushrooms that were sprouting up from the earth all over her yard in their ugly brown caps.
Has something like this happened to you? In this article, we’ll go over how to get rid of those pesky mushrooms in your lawn that seem to pop up after every rain.
How To Get Rid Of Mushrooms On Your Lawn in 6 Steps
1. Remove mushrooms as they appear. Bag the mushrooms and seal the bag to prevent spores from creating new mushrooms
2. Add 1 lb of nitrogen fertilizer for every 1,000 square feet of lawn. Mushrooms are in your lawn feeding on decaying organic matter. Adding nitrogen fertilizer will quicken the decay.
3. Dig up big mushroom clusters and remove any decaying debris. Mushrooms need moisture and lots of carbon sources/decaying wood to live. By removing their food source either by manually digging it up, by adding nitrogen to speed up the decay, or simply waiting for the mushrooms to eat it you will get rid of mushrooms.
4. Kill mushrooms with soap and water. Mix 1 gallon of warm water with 1 tablespoon of dish soap. Use a screwdriver to punch holes in the soil around the mushrooms. Pour in the soapy water which will kill mushroom roots (mycelia).
5. Add french drains to heavy mushroom areas. Your lawn may be too wet. Mushrooms love moisture and decaying debris. If you’ve removed the decaying matter you may still need to dry out the lawn a bit.
Before adding french drains double-check that the soil is too moist. Check for rushes and other grasses that prefer to grow in wet soils. If those are present then it makes sense to add drainage otherwise you could dry out your lawn.
6. Just wait. Mushrooms are there because there’s extra debris in your lawn. They will naturally break it down providing food for your grass. Over the long run, this will make your lawn better though it may take a few years for the mushrooms to fully break it down.
Before choosing to wait also check that you don’t have any wet spots in the lawn that need drainage. You’ll notice these as areas where rushes and other non-ideal grasses like to live.
Why Are Mushrooms Growing On Your Lawn?
Mushrooms need moisture and decaying plant material (carbon sources, e.g. an old stump) to grow. If mushrooms appear on your lawn it means you have these things present. Mushrooms will remain until most of the decaying material is gone.
What’s A Carbon Source?
Mushrooms consume carbon and nutrients in the soil. Mostly this comes from dead and dying plant matter like old tree stumps in the lawn. Got an old stump you want to remove?
Plant it (inoculate it) with oyster mushroom spores. The oyster mushrooms will break it down and give you something to eat! You can also use shiitake mushroom spores to break it down as well.
Are Mushrooms In Your Lawn Bad?
Due to the poison danger, if you have kids or dogs it might be best to manage these mushrooms a bit. See the instructions above to get rid of mushrooms on your lawn.
Puffball mushrooms are edible and are the most common safe mushrooms to grow on your lawn. You can leave these in place to eat the dead plant matter in your yard which in turn feeds your grass.
Some fairy ring mushrooms are edible. You can generally leave these alone as well.
Many of the Amanita mushrooms (large mushrooms that look like umbrellas) are deadly poisonous. If you have kids or dogs first teach them to avoid these mushrooms then take steps to get rid of them.
When You Should Leave Mushrooms On Your Lawn
You should leave mushrooms on your lawn if there’s no danger of accidental ingestion from dogs or kids. Mushrooms are working for you to break down dead plant matter and feed your lawn. Leaving them to do their work will make your lawn better.
How To Get Rid Of Mushrooms In Mulch
Mushroom outbreaks are very difficult to remove from mulch. Mulch is an ideal food source for many mushrooms.
To get rid of mushrooms in mulch follow the steps below:
1. Remove the mushrooms by hand. Bag them in plastic and seal the bags so the spores don’t spread.
2. Dig up the mushroom root mass (white mycelia growing through mulch). Bag this up and seal it as well.
3. Use soap and water to kill the remaining root mass. Mix 1 tbsp of soap with 1 gallon of water and spray over mulch.
4. Use commercial mushroom killers as needed.
Home Remedies For Killing Mushrooms In Lawn
Mushrooms can be killed using several homemade remedies such as soap and water, bleach, baking soda, or vinegar. Full mixing instructions are below.
Killing Mushrooms With Soap And Water
You can kill mushroom root mass by injecting a mixture of soap and water into the ground around the mushrooms. Mix 1 tbsp of soap with 1 gallon of water. Poke holes in the soil with a screwdriver or similar. Pour the mixture into the holes.
Killing Mushrooms With Bleach
You can kill surface mushrooms and their spores with a 1:1 mixture of water and bleach. This will not penetrate mulch or soil to kill underground mushroom mycelia/roots. Personally, you are safer and better off using the vinegar method below to kill mushrooms as bleach can harm other things in your yard.
Killing Mushrooms With Baking Soda
Mix 1 tbsp of baking soda with 1 gallon of water to make a simple fungicide to kill mushrooms in your yard. Like vinegar, baking soda can change the pH of your yard. Of course, you would have to use a lot of it for that but it’s good not to use too much.
Alternate between using baking soda sprays and vinegar sprays to kill mushrooms. The two will interact to keep the pH of the soil neutral. Of course, doing this adds salts to your yard which are also bad.
If you can, the best way to get rid of mushrooms is always to wait, let them consume whatever dead plant matter is there, then they’ll leave when all the dead matter is gone making your soil and lawn healthier in the process.
Killing Mushrooms With Vinegar
Mix 1 part vinegar to 4 parts water to make a quick spray to kill surface mushrooms. This will kill surface mushrooms faster without killing the underground mushroom root mass. Use this to easily and quickly get rid of mushrooms while allowing underground root mass to keep breaking down dead plant matter which feeds your lawn.
Be careful not to use too much vinegar as it could increase the acidity of your yard which could hurt your grass.
Commercial Mushroom Killers
There are many commercial fungus killers for your lawn that you can pick up in any garden store. Use as directed. You can use these in addition to the other steps to get rid of mushrooms to speed things up.
It’s a bit cheaper and safer to use soap, baking soda, or vinegar sprays but commercial killers will do the job when other things fail. We’re not a huge fan of these solutions because it’s adding a new poison to the yard which could also be unsafe for pets and kids.
Fertilizer To Kill Off Mushrooms
Nitrogen-based fertilizer doesn’t kill mushrooms but it does speed up the decay of mushroom’s food source under the lawn. Mushroom outbreaks are feeding off dead, dying plant matter in the soil.
If you add a mixture of 1 lb of nitrogen fertilizer to every 1000 square feet of yard you’ll speed up the decay and speed up the removal of your mushrooms.
9 Steps To Get Rid Of Fairy Rings
- Find The Fungal Mat – How Deep Does It Go?
- Try Aeration
- If Aeration Fails Dig Out the fungal mat
- Remove Carbon Sources – Rotting Wood, Etc.
- Seal Mushrooms And Fungal Mat In Plastic Bags
- Remove Shade And Drain The Lawn
- Double Check There Are No More Carbon Sources
- Add Fresh, Sterile Soil
- Add Grass Seed Or Sod