You take pride in having a healthy lawn. You regularly mow, fertilize, and manage weeds. So what’s the deal with mushrooms? Why do these pesky eyesores pop up throughout spring, and even into the summer season?
Warm and Wet Conditions
Mushrooms thrive in warm, wet weather. Let’s face it, Rochester can be pretty soggy – and snowy – in the spring. Combine the wet conditions and warmer weather we get in late spring, and mushrooms start to pop up. Don’t be too concerned, though; most are harmless, and only have a lifespan of one to two days.
Mushrooms like shade. Why? Because shady areas in our yard keep things wetter, or at least damp, longer than sunny areas. Since mushrooms like wet conditions, you may find more mushrooms in these shady areas of your yard.
Do you have standing water in your yard during the spring, or after a stretch of rain? You likely have compacted soil. We already know that mushrooms like these wet areas. Mushrooms also like thatch, which goes hand in hand with compacted soil. Thatch is full of organic material that draws in moisture, which of course, mushrooms love.
Mushrooms can also pop up because they feed on decomposing organic matter. This organic matter could be lumber left over and buried after the construction of a home; a dead, decaying stump where a tree was removed; or the roots of plants or trees that may have died. Any type of organic material that is in or on your soil may be enough to produce mushrooms.
What to Do About Mushrooms in Your Lawn
There are a few different things you can do to deter mushrooms from growing in your lawn. Just remember, when mushrooms pop up, they spread spores, so you may have another breakout a few days later.
Remove Mushrooms by Hand, Foot, or Mower
This is the easiest solution to the mushrooms in your lawn. Simply pick them by hand, kick the tops off with your feet, or mow over them with your lawnmower.
Clean Up Shady Areas
Keep trees and shrubs neatly trimmed. If they become overgrown, more shade will occur, promoting mushroom growth. The extra sunlight that reaches the turf after pruning and trimming trees and shrubs will make the soil less appealing for mushrooms.
Aerate Your Lawn
Aeration will decrease soil compaction, resulting in less standing water after rainy periods. Aeration will also reduce thatch buildup in your yard. Thatch consists of dead grass roots and stems, which are full of organic material, encouraging mushrooms to sprout. Aerating your lawn this fall will help prevent a mushroom outbreak next spring.
If you think organic matter is the cause of the mushrooms, you may need to dig to remove it. Dig about a foot deep, and two feet wide around the mushrooms. Be sure to replace the tainted soil with clean topsoil.