What can be done about the mushrooms in my yard? This is a common question that we receive on a regular basis and usually start coming in around this time of year. This is especially true if there has been an abundance of rain followed by warm to hot temperatures. These conditions seem to make mushrooms explode in profusion in lawns and gardens.
Soil has an incredible diversity of organisms that make up a system called the Soil Food Web. The organisms are trying to maintain a healthy and productive balance between beneficial and non-beneficial organisms so that plants grow well.
These organisms have different methods of reproduction, and for many fungi, that method is to produce fruiting bodies called mushrooms. There are thousands of different species of mushrooms that come in all sizes.
Here are some mushroom identifying characteristics:
- The most common are a gray to brown to black color
- They span a whole palette of colors, from red to yellow to orange and many more shades
- Shaped like balls, bird’s nests and fingers
- A dry appearance or looks slimy and oozy
- Slightly noticeable to structures that measure several feet across
In most cases, the presence of mushrooms means that your soil has a very active food web. The fungi are either feeding on decaying matter, and reproducing, or are going through their normal life cycle.
In most cases, all you have to do is kick them over or pick them up to throw away. It may be a good idea to wear gloves when you hand pick the mushrooms in your lawn as some mushrooms can be poisonous. You can even practice your golf swing if they are not too slimy.
The only time to be concerned about mushrooms is when they grow in a circle, arch or other line. This could be an indication of a lawn disease known as Fairy Ring. Often times, these shapes are darker green in color. This can be masked temporarily by applying fertilizer to the lawn. Core aeration is also very helpful in lessening the effects of Fairy Ring.
In the meantime, don’t be too concerned about mushrooms. They can be a sign that you have a healthy, diverse soil food web beneath your lawn. If you are concerned that your lawn has Fairy Ring, call your local Spring-Green office for a property evaluation.