Puffball fungus is incredibly frustrating to deal with, and it can be tricky to figure out how to get rid of them. The good thing is there isn’t much to be concerned about with these mushrooms because they aren’t going to cause any damage to your yard’s health.
Puffball mushrooms are not considered to be a pest species because they won’t kill your grass. While you don’t technically need to get rid of them, you can get rid of them if you aren’t a fan of having them in your yard.
It is also a good thing that you don’t usually need a ton of chemicals to get rid of them. You don’t have to worry much about surrounding grass dying while you are trying to rid your yard of puffball mushrooms.
What is a Puffball Mushroom?
Puffball mushrooms aren’t typical mushrooms that you see, so many people don’t know what they are. Chances are you’ve even seen a puffball mushroom without realizing it. There isn’t just one single species of puffball mushroom.
Some of the species of puffball mushrooms include Scleroderma, Lycoperdon, Handkea, Calvatia, and Bovista. Each of these species also include various species. There are countless different types of puffball mushrooms that grow.
Originally, puffball mushrooms were used to make ink in Tibet. They are also popular to eat as long as they have been identified as edible and not poisonous.
Identifying Puffball Mushrooms
Puffball mushrooms are super easy to identify. They are shaped similar to pears in some cases and spheres in others. They only grow to about an inch in diameter, so they stay pretty small.
When puffball mushrooms are young, they are a creamy white color inside and outside. As they mature, the inside will start to turn yellow. When they are completely developed, they will have spores inside that are green or purple.
The spores of the mushroom will be released through a small hole in the top of the body, and they are then carried by the wind. This is how they spread and start growing in other parts of your lawn or your neighbor’s lawn.
Are Puffball Mushrooms Dangerous?
Some puffball mushrooms are completely edible, but there are some types that are poisonous. You will be able to determine if a puffball mushroom is dangerous by how it looks. The poisonous ones will typically have a hard-rind, thick skin, and dark insides even when they are young.
If you have an allergy, breathing in the spores of a puffball mushroom can cause an allergic reaction or asthma attack. There is also the potential of allergic fungal sinusitis, which is inflammation of your sinuses as a reaction to the fungus.
To avoid any illness, don’t eat any puffball mushrooms that you find. If you have pets and kids, it is best to remove all puffball mushrooms to prevent any accidents from occurring. There is a low chance that puffballs in your yard are dangerous, but it is best not to take any chances.
Life Cycle of Puffball Mushrooms
Before you can understand how to control and get rid of puffball mushrooms, you need to understand what their life cycle looks like. The spores that are generated by fully grown puffballs are released and spread into other areas.
When they land, these spores start to germinate. In the right conditions, fruiting bodies will appear. This happens when the spores that are germinating are nourished by decomposing organic material in the grass.
Puffball mushrooms thrive in moist conditions, so you might start noticing them after a huge rainstorm. You will also notice them growing mostly toward the end of summer.
Controlling Puffball Mushrooms
Since puffball mushrooms aren’t considered to be a pest, you don’t really have to do anything to control them. However, if you don’t like the way they look in your yard or you are concerned about a potentially poisonous puffball, there are a few ways you can deal with them.
It can be hard to get rid of all the puffball mushrooms because of how they continue to spread, but you can prepare the best you can to prevent the spreading.
The first thing you need to do for control is dig up any puffball mushrooms you see. Get rid of them by placing them in a closed trash bag or container to prevent any potential spreading after you dig them out.
You will also need to control how much decaying organic matter is in your yard. Since this is how puffball mushrooms grow, removing it can prevent the growth. Make sure you get rid of dead leaves, tree stumps, and tree roots from your lawn.
Overwatering your lawn can also lead to the growth of puffball mushrooms. It is important to control how much you are watering your grass. Always feel the ground before you water. If the ground feels dry, water a little bit. If it’s damp, don’t water at all.
Eliminating Puffball Mushrooms
If you absolutely can’t stand the puffball mushrooms in your yard, you can get rid of them completely with a fungicide. The only downfall to fungicides is they can sometimes have a negative impact on your grass.
Fungicides are available as a pump spray or an attachment that you can add to your garden hose to spray with. In some cases, you can even find fungicide in a granular form that you just sprinkle over the mushrooms.
When you use fungicide, it is important to read the directions carefully to avoid any unnecessary damage to your yard. Only use the product as instructed and try to avoid using too much.
If you have pets and kids, you will want to make sure you are using a fungicide that is safe and not harmful to them. You can usually find a pet-friendly fungicide at your local hardware store or local pet store.
These fungicides are made with natural materials that will only damage the fungus. It will also be safer for the environment and surrounding plants.
Hi, I’m John Stephens, chief editor and writer for Totalgardener.com. I’ve been gardening and raising animals for over 15 years starting with a small backyard plot in Northern Virginia where I grew corn, potatoes, squash, and using a high mulch technique called the Ruth Stout Method. I also raised ducks and small mammals for meat and eggs in a movable pen similar to the ones used by Joel Salatin. I later moved to Colorado where I experimented with growing greens using aquaponics inside. I eventually added a microgreens setup and home sprouting operation. I’m excited to share everything I’ve learned plus more from the other local gardening and animal raising experts I know.