Mushrooms detract from the appearance of your lawn. Whether you have a vast expanse of green turf or a more natural look, mushrooms sprouting up after some wet weather spoils the look. In addition to their unsightly appearance, they can also be dangerous. Several species of mushrooms that are common in lawns are toxic. It only takes a moment for a child or pet to sample one, leading to gastrointestinal distress.
Mushrooms can also indicate that your lawn is wetter than it should be. Whether this is due to overwatering or poor drainage, it's an issue that needs to be addressed.
The first step in removing mushrooms from your lawn is to dig up the actual mushrooms. Grab a trash bag, put on a pair of gloves, and you are ready to get started.
You can use a lawnmower to mow the mushrooms down, step on them, or smash them with a shovel. These methods are less labor-intensive, but they are also less effective. There is a good chance mushroom spore will spread or new mushrooms will grow from the mycelium left behind.
Once you dig up the entire mushroom, place it in a bag, and tie the bag shut. Place the bag in your trash. Composting mushrooms will spread spores throughout the compost pile. The heat from the composting process may kill some of the spores, but it is unlikely to kill them all.
Fungicide will kill mushrooms, which are, after all, a fungus. Commercial preparations work, but you can mix up a mild homemade solution if you are concerned about applying a harsh treatment to your lawn.
Add several drops of dishwashing liquid to a pitcher of water. Pour this solution over the area where you removed the mushrooms. This mild and inexpensive solution should kill any remaining spores without affecting other plants or wildlife.
One benefit of using this gentle solution on your lawn is that you can apply it liberally without worrying about burning your plants or interfering with beneficial pollinators and other insects. In fact, soapy water is often used to kill garden pests.
Fill your watering can with soapy water and apply it generously to any areas where you removed mushrooms as well as the surrounding area. If you are concerned you have inadvertently spread mushrooms spores while working in the area, applying soapy water can prevent the mushrooms from spreading.
Even if you dig up existing mushrooms, there is still the likelihood that there is mycelium that has spread underground. You won't realize this until mushrooms sprout up, seemingly out of nowhere.
Aerating the soil is beneficial to your lawn in a few different ways. When it comes to getting rid of mushrooms, allowing more air into the soil creates an inhospitable environment for their growth.
Other benefits of aerating your lawn include strengthening the roots of your existing grass, reducing compaction of the soil, improving the lawn's ability to resist stress and heat, and reducing drainage issues.
Poor drainage is harmful to your lawn for a few reasons, including the fact that it gives mushrooms a space to flourish. When you remove existing mushrooms, take a critical look at the area where they are growing.
Simple ways to improve drainage include adding soil to low-lying areas, creating a soil berm to redirect water flow, and planting water-loving plants in the area. They will soak up excess moisture and prevent mushrooms from developing.
A more expensive option is installing an underground drainage system. While this is a pricier option, it has benefits other than preventing mushrooms from growing on your lawn. Depending on where the drainage issue is located, the moisture can also affect your home's foundation or driveway. Draining the water away from these sites through underground pipes can save you from expensive water damage in the future.
Mushrooms do best in a dark, cool climate. If an area of your lawn meets these requirements, you have an ongoing battle on your hands. In addition to treating the soil, look up. Is there a way to remove brush or prune trees to allow sunlight into the area? Doing so will make the area less hospitable for mushrooms to grow.
Mushrooms love rich organic matter. Mushroom farmers often use manure as one of the main components of their planting materials. While they use chicken, cattle, horse, or sheep manure, waste from your pets has the same effect. Regularly pick up dog and cat waste to reduce the amount of nitrogen-rich material in your yard.
A healthy lawn with a strong root structure will do a better job of crowding out mushrooms than a sparse lawn with a weak root structure. An annual soil test allows you to see what your lawn may be lacking. Get in touch with your local extension office for more information on soil testing. The results often come with recommendations on what additions you should make to improve your lawn.
Aerating, regular mowing and over-seeding your lawn will all help create a healthy, lush yard that can better resist invasion from mushrooms.
It makes sense to mow your lawn relatively high during the heat of the summer. The additional length helps shade the soil, keeping it cooler. Longer grass is also more resilient, making it better able to handle drought and other extreme conditions.
As the growing season winds down, begin lowering the blade on your mower. By the time you mow your lawn for the final time, the grass should be between one and a half and two inches tall. Even if you have left grass clippings down all summer, rake, and bag or compost them for winter.
A shorter lawn with no organic materials left over it for the winter will not provide the protected, warm environment mushroom spores need for protection. An added advantage is that this same preparation will make your lawn less attractive to voles and other burrowing rodents over the cold weather months.