You should pull mushrooms from your lawn if you do not like how they look, or if you worry that someone in your household might eat them. If you do not mind waiting a few days, the mushrooms will die on their own in dry weather. Mushrooms left to themselves will not damage your lawn.
The rest of the article will go into detail about why mushrooms continue to grow in your lawn, why you are safe to leave them where they are, how to remove them, and proper lawn care to avoid them in the first place.
Are mushrooms bad for my lawn?
Most of the time, mushrooms are a sign of a healthy lawn. They point to a nutrient-rich ecosystem underneath that green carpet of grass. Even in the worst-case scenario of a fairy ring (which we will discuss later), mushrooms are only a symptom, not a cause.
Why do mushrooms continue to grow in my lawn?
Mushrooms can grow in the cool, damp, dark parts of your lawn. They result from fungi within the soil decomposing dead leaves, wood, and other decaying plant matter. As stated earlier, they are a sign of a healthy ecosystem within your lawn.
Are the mushrooms dangerous?
Many types of mushrooms are poisonous, including the ones you likely will see in your lawn. If you have a curious pet or child, you may want to keep your lawn free of mushrooms. Your adventurous eater will likely not need to go to the hospital, but he or she will have an upset stomach.
How can I remove the mushrooms?
You can remove the mushrooms in your lawn simply by pulling or mowing them. According to the University of New Hampshire, this will remove the mushrooms and slow the release of spores to the rest of the lawn.
Do I need to use gloves to pull mushrooms?
No, you can only become ill from mushrooms if you eat them. The only exception to this rule is if you are allergic. In that case, or if you just want to keep the dirt off your hands, get out a pair of gloves.
What about a more permanent solution?
If the weather continues to stay wet, the mushrooms will likely grow back soon. If you decide that you need a more permanent solution, consider lawn aeration and removing extra dead leaves, grass, roots, or bark. Fungicide is an option, but not a very effective one.
Why should I avoid fungicide?
Your lawn functions as its own ecosystem, and fungi is an important part of it! The fungus in the soil breaks down other plant material into nutrients that will nourish your grass. Fungicide will kill the mushrooms, but it will also kill that good fungus and weaken the health of your lawn.
How can I avoid mushrooms in the first place?
Proper and intentional lawn care will minimize the growth of mushrooms. Mushrooms grow when your lawn is dark, damp, and has plenty of decaying material. Consider which of these problems your lawn may have, and then decide whether your lawn needs aerification, better watering, or dethatching.
What is aerification?
If you have ever walked on a lawn and seen “plugs” of dirt next to holes in the lawn, you have witnessed aerification. Aerification allows for better irrigation deeper into the root system of your lawn’s soil, rather than letting the water sit on the top. This better irrigation will reduce the moisture buildup that leads to mushroom growth.
How do I aerate my lawn?
You can buy and aerator, rent an aerator, or hire a service to aerate your lawn for you. You will not need to aerate your lawn at home more than once every few years, so you will want to either rent or hire someone to help you.
How do I properly water my lawn to avoid mushrooms?
You should water your lawn during the day, especially during the morning, to avoid excess moisture buildup. Your grass will soak up what it needs to, and the sun will take care of the rest. Additionally, save money on your water bill! If you notice that your lawn looks healthy, but you see too much mushroom growth, water less.
What is dethatching?
Thatch is the buildup of both living and dead plant material on your lawn. This material is ideal food for fungus, and too much of it can suffocate your lawn too. Avoid overwatering and nitrogen rich fertilizer to reduce thatch build up.
How do I dethatch my lawn?
You can get a rake, buy a dethatching tool, rent a dethatching tool, or hire a service to do it for you. If you notice that you live in an area where this material builds up often, you will benefit from investing in a dethatching tool.
I have a circle of mushrooms on my lawn that look like they are killing the grass! What do I do?
These rings unfortunately are the one type of mushroom that reveals unhealth in your lawn. Pulling the mushroom will not help your lawn; the mushrooms are a symptom, not the cause of the problem. You are stuck with a lawn issue that my seven-year-old daughter could have named: a fairy ring.
What are fairy rings?
You will see fairy rings in older lawns that have old stumps or other large decaying wood under the sod. Three types of fairy rings exist, but only one of the types has visible flowering mushrooms.
What can I do about a fairy ring?
A couple of the previously discussed methods of aerification and dethatching will help. However, you will need to pursue some more aggressive options to restore the health of your lawn to the desired state. Texas A&M’s Agricultural branch provides this list of care:
- Reduce thatch
- Remove tree stumps and roots
- Add a fine layer of top-quality sand
- Fungicide is not recommended
Find out whether you should pull those mushrooms on your lawn or leave them alone.