Getting lots of mushrooms on your lawn? It’s very common when you step outside on your lawn after a long rainy spell. Also known as toadstools, mushrooms thrive overnight and are reproduced by fungi. If it’s popping out of your lawn, it’s actually a good sign. It means your lawn soil is fertile and healthy.
Mushroom is the reproductive part of a fungus that develops from spores. Breaking down the organic elements, these spores stay hidden in the soil until conditions are favorable. The spores prefer warm and humid conditions to grow. Thus, like desert flowers, mushrooms grow as the sun comes out after a long rainy day. They typically grow above the ground or on any other source from where they can acquire nutrients. However, they have a shorter lifespan. They go away as your lawn soil dries up or the sun comes out. However, before disappearing, they spread their spores in the air that hide in the soil until the next favorable condition.
Why Do Mushrooms Appear
As said, mushroom growth is a sign of healthy and fertile soil, you should actually be happy to see them. Mushrooms or toadstools develop from decaying substances in the soil. Remember, mushrooms will never grow out of a random spot. If you notice closely, you may find that they are developing from decaying grass clipping, wood, dried leaves, and mulches. It is because these little fungi only grow on their food source. While growing, they break down the organic matter present in the soil by stimulating microbial activity and thereby, make your lawn fertile.
Fungi need suitable weather conditions along with the right host to develop. Apart from decaying materials in your lawn, mushrooms look for a warm and humid environment to develop. Thus, mushrooms appear overnight after a long rainy spell or periods of excess moisture. As these fungi promote microbial activity and give back nutrients to the soil, their presence indicates active and healthy turf.
Mushrooms Aren’t All Bad
While there are different types of mushrooms, the ones developing in your turf are usually harmless. Rather, they benefit your lawn in many ways. So, if you have got mushrooms on your lawn, look on their bright side and be happy.
However, there are a few mushroom types like “Fairy Ring” that can cause a flush of green and thus, must be controlled. These mushrooms develop on older and less maintained lawns from large pieces of wood. Fairy Rings form circular shapes on your lawn and can be easily recognized. But here, the good news is that they are very uncommon and do not infect your lawn. Their growth affects the soil and damages the color of your turf. There are mainly three types of fairy rings found in domestic lawns and they are:
- Dead Grass Without Mushrooms– Does your lawn soil repel water? Such soil types are known as hydrophobic soils. As these soil types do not absorb water, they create drought conditions and form rings of dead grass. This type of Fairy Ring does not dry out the entire circle. It causes a ring of brown grass around a green center.
- Green Ring With Mushrooms– During rainy or humid weather, you might find a ring of mushrooms with a greener border on your lawn. Here, the ring is usually much greener than the actual lawn and thus, can be easily identified.
- Green Ring Without Mushrooms– This type of Fairy Ring does not dry out your lawn grass. However, unlike “Green Ring With Mushrooms”, here mushrooms do not appear. The fungi only decay the organic matter present on your lawn soil, releases nitrogen, and creates a green ring of grass.
Preventing Mushroom Growth
Want to keep mushrooms appearing on your lawn? You can prevent their appearance by changing the conditions required for their growth.
- Reduce Shade in Problem Areas– As you know, mushrooms or any other fungi prefer wet, shaded, and humid places to develop. So, decrease the shaded area of trees or shrubs to check this problem. You can trim branches or thin them out and let the soil underneath get proper sun exposure. Remember, extra sunshine prevents mushroom growth.
- Avoid Compacted Soil– Don’t let your lawn remain damp for long. Standing water or damp surrounding might make your soil compacted. A few lawn care measures such as aeration can improve your lawn’s drainage and decrease soil moisture content. The process also helps the roots of your grass get a better amount of oxygen. This is also a great way to discourage mushroom growth. If your lawn has excess thatch, it can absorb more moisture and be the ideal place for mushroom growth. Dethatch your lawn often to keep mushrooms away.
- Minimize the Effect of Old Trees and Pets– If you have an old tree on your property, check it out. Old trees, even if their roots are dead can be a food source for mushrooms. So, if any tree stump is standing in our landscape, get rid of it. Even after removing the stump, keep the area well raked and aerated. This will improve its drainage and stop fungal growth. Apart from the remains of your old tree, animal waste can also bring out mushrooms on your lawn. Regularly clean animal waste from your lawn to prevent the appearance of mushrooms.
Never try to get rid of mushrooms completely. They fertile your lawn naturally and provide lots of benefits to your soil. You can definitely make use of the above-mentioned ways to reduce the number of mushrooms, especially the Fairy Rings. For further help, consult a professional lawn care service. They can guide you with more smart ideas.