Why are mushrooms growing in my garden?
Mushrooms are the fruiting bodies of fungi that produce and spread spores to create new mushrooms. They have rooting systems called mycelia which exist underground, with the ability to grow up to half a mile per day.
Whether you have mushrooms growing in an isolated area of the garden or covering the entire length of lawn, the first step is to determine why they are growing in the first place.
Fungi grows in crisscross formations both below the soil and across its surface, living off decaying organic waste material such as fallen leaves, twigs, old grass cuttings, animal waste, buried wood, tree stumps and dead or dying tree roots. By recycling this organic matter, the fungi release essential and beneficial nutrients into the soil assisting in other plant growth.
The ideal growing conditions for mushrooms are normally moist, humid and shady. If there is excess moisture in the soil either caused by over-irrigation or poor drainage, especially with areas covered in shade, mushrooms will be able to thrive. The more food sources available to the fungi (organic waste material), the larger they will grow.
Is it good or bad for mushrooms to grow on my lawn?
Many people believe that the presence of mushrooms in their lawns is a sign of bad health, however it actually means the opposite as mushrooms are unable to grow in unhealthy, nutrient deprived soil.
The most important thing to remember is that if you have mushrooms, your soil is generally healthy. They also don’t cause harm or disease to your grass. However many people don’t like the look of fungi on the lawn and will also worry about whether they are poisonous or not, especially if they have children and pets.
Can you eat mushrooms that grow in your lawn?
There are many different varieties and colours of mushrooms, with some being edible and others being very poisonous. If you find mushrooms growing on your lawn, even if you think you can identify them, you shouldn’t eat them.
How to stop mushrooms from growing on your lawn
The best way to prevent mushrooms from growing in a lawn is to monitor and control the conditions they need to thrive in the garden. So, to tackle mushrooms in your garden, follow the below tips (they are pet-friendly too):
Pull existing mushrooms out from the base
For mushrooms that have already started to grow, pull them out from the base as soon as they appear in the lawn. This will reduce the spores’ ability to disperse into the environment and spread via wind and animals, whilst also eliminating the risk of children or animals ingesting poisonous or harmful species.
Remove food sources
As mentioned, fungi consumes organic matter, therefore any readily available food sources for the fungi should be limited or if possible, completely removed. To do this, rake up leaves, twigs, grass cuttings and any other waste materials as soon as they appear on the lawn.
De-thatch your garden
If your garden has a thick layer of thatch (interwoven dead grass between the grass and soil) this can also contribute to growth, therefore de-thatching would be recommended. Some waste materials will be hidden below the soil’s surface such as wood and large tree roots. These areas can be dug up and waste materials removed before adding fresh soil.
Mow the lawn regularly
Mow the lawn regularly although be careful not to scalp the lawn as this will provide the perfect opportunity for weeds and moss to grow. Limit the amount of water applied to the soil. Short grass also dries faster than tall grass reducing the moisture available for mushrooms to grow. If your garden is prone to retaining excess moisture, an underground drainage system may be required.
Before mowing, it is essential to get rid of any existing mushrooms, removing any fungi remnants by hand to prevent spores from being spread during mowing.
Aeration can also be performed to improve drainage and airflow which helps prevent waterlogging – perfect conditions for mushrooms. This can be done mechanically or with a garden fork.
Another key ingredient for mushroom growth is shade. Cut back any overhanging branches, limbs or other obstructions to allow sunlight to reach as far as possible across all areas of the garden.
Products to prevent mushroom growth
As a short term fix use a high nitrogen lawn feed, however it is likely the mushrooms will reappear later on if the original cause for their growth is not corrected. For gardens where the majority of the lawn is affected by mushrooms, it is recommended to start from scratch.
If this is your chosen option, remove the existing turf and dig up any roots or waste materials beneath, add fresh top soil, sow grass seed and fertilise as necessary.
Each of these methods will assist in creating your perfect mushroom free lawn, just remember to monitor the conditions in your garden to prevent them from coming back!
Frequently asked questions about how to get rid of mushrooms on your lawn
How to get rid of mushrooms in artificial grass?
It is possible for mushrooms to grow in artificial grass in very shady damp areas. You can get rid of mushrooms in artificial grass in much the same way as you can with a natural lawn. If you see any growing, you should first pull them out from the base. You should then remove any food sources, such as leaves or twigs. Remember that mushrooms thrive in shady and damp conditions, so you should look to reduce the shade over your artificial grass and improve the drainage.
Can a lawn recover from fungus?
When it comes to mushrooms, it’s important to remember that their presence actually indicates a healthy soil and doesn’t cause any harm or disease. Removing them is more of a cosmetic treatment. For other fungi, you may see dead or dry looking spots on your lawn, brown spots on grass blades or discoloured patches on your grass. It is possible to treat lawn fungus and for your lawn to recover. How long it takes will depend on the type and the extent of the damage.
What happens if you don’t treat lawn fungus?
If you have mushrooms on your lawn, this won’t actually damage your grass. Not treating them will simply result in your lawn looking a little unsightly. If you don’t treat lawn fungus on the other hand, some fungal diseases will continue to spread and your lawn will eventually die. You can learn how to treat lawn fungus with our helpful article.