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Why are mushrooms growing in my lawn?

Why are there mushrooms growing in my lawn? 

Sometimes homeowners become concerned when they see mushrooms growing in their lawns.  It is understandable, but it is usually not an indication of a disease problem.  Mushrooms are the fruiting bodies of fungi that breakdown organic material.  This could be an old root left from a tree that was removed in the past, it could be from construction material that remained in the lawn when it was backfilled or it could be a natural occurrence of the fungi that reside in the soil.   

Your soil is loaded with all sorts of bacteria, fungi and protozoa that are living and growing and fighting for survival.  Most of these organisms are beneficial and are supposed to be there.  They often supply roots systems with food in exchange for exudates from the roots that the organisms need for survival.  Part of the life cycle of some of these fungi are a means to reproduce; hence they will develop a fruiting body, which is the mushroom. 

In most cases, the mushrooms only live for a day or so and then die after they have released thousands of spores.  Often times, mushrooms are more plentiful during warm, wet weather, but can develop in other weather conditions as well.  Normal mowing will control most of the mushrooms or you can kick them to break off the tops or pick them by hand.  If you are going to pick them, be sure to dispose of them in your compost pile or garden waste bags.   

If you see mushrooms growing in a circle or arc, that can be an indication of a disease called Fairy Ring.  I will discuss Fairy Ring in the next blog post. 


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