It’s been raining the past few days, but the sun has finally broken out again. The morning after a rainstorm, you walk outside to enjoy the morning air only to find a ring of mushrooms has emerged overnight!
Should you be concerned? Do the mushrooms pose a threat to the health of your lawn or your family? How do you get rid of them?
Mushrooms are inevitable in your yard from time to time, but they are very easily controlled. You can easily get rid of mushrooms growing in your yard with a few basic household items.
Read on to discover more about why mushrooms grow in certain conditions, whether they are dangerous or pose a threat to your yard, how to identify a few of the more common mushroom varieties, and what to do to get rid of them.
Why Do I Suddenly Have Mushrooms in My Yard?
Mushrooms often pop up in yards after a bout of rain, but they can show up at any time. There’s a certain combination of conditions that may encourage clusters of mushrooms to form.
The ideal growing conditions for mushrooms often include the following variables:
- High moisture: That’s why they often show up after it rains. But you’ll see them more often if you live in a humid or wet climate where there’s a lot of rain or fog. If you live in a drier climate, you’re less likely to see them, although it can still happen.
- Low light: There’s a reason mushrooms commonly pop up near bushes or under trees. They like heavily-shaded areas and don’t grow well (or at all) in direct sunlight. You’re more likely to see mushrooms in your yard if it’s heavily shaded by trees.
- Nutrient-rich soil: If you see mushrooms in your yard, it’s a sign that the organic matter in your soil is breaking down how it should and that your yard is healthy! Even if you do want to get rid of them, don’t feel bad if you have them!
- Decaying organic matter: Do you have lots of dead plant matter in your yard? You might see more mushrooms in the Autumn, for example, since you likely have lots of dead leaves all over your lawn. Mushrooms love the rotting organic material since they grow by breaking down the nutrients in the leaves, soil, logs, and branches.
Are Mushrooms In My Backyard a Bad Thing?
The good news is, for the most part, having mushrooms in your yard is pretty harmless, and can be a sign that your yard is healthy and the soil is full of nutrients!
In general, you can choose to leave the mushrooms in your yard if they’re not harming anything, and they’ll break down and decompose after a few days. They certainly don’t pose a threat to your grass, and if anything, they add to the health of your yard.
You may want to get rid of mushrooms in your yard for aesthetic reasons, though. If you take pride in a dense, green, uniform lawn, you may not want a cluster of mushrooms ruining the effect. If that’s the case, mushrooms can easily be removed from your yard.
Apart from aesthetics, you might want to consider ridding your yard of mushrooms if you have a household with pets or small children, who may see the mushrooms and attempt to eat them.
Some backyard mushrooms are edible, but it’s highly dangerous and risky to eat a mushroom if you don’t know exactly what variety it is. Rid your yard of mushrooms if you worry that your children or pets may try to eat them since it’s better to be safe than sorry!
Are There Any Benefits to Having Mushrooms in My Yard?
Just like any other natural elements in your yard, mushrooms and fungi play a part in keeping your lawn’s ecosystem thriving and healthy. While they may attract insects to your yard, they also have several benefits to help your lawn grow better.
Mushrooms function to help break down decaying materials like leaves, logs, branches, animal matter, and more. The nutrients from this organic matter are then returned to the soil in your lawn, keeping it healthy and encouraging grass growth.
A healthier lawn means thicker and denser root growth in your grass, which is crucial to building a thick, green, durable lawn that can withstand stressors like droughts, floods, traffic, and more. A healthy lawn will also be better able to choke out weeds that try to invade!
DON’T MISS: Do mushrooms have roots? Find out here!
What Kinds of Mushrooms Commonly Grow in My Yard?
There are countless varieties of mushrooms out there, and many of them are found in lawns all over North America. Some of them may be edible but don’t attempt to eat a wild mushroom if you’re not 110% sure what variety it is.
If you’re able to identify mushrooms in your yard, you’ll have a better idea of whether they pose a threat to your yard, your children, or your pets. You can then make an educated decision about whether they should be removed or if it’s fine to leave them be.
|Name of Mushroom||Description||Is it Dangerous?|
|Giant puffball (Calvatia gigantea)||A large, white smooth ball that can grow up to 2 feet in diameter||Giant puffballs are not dangerous and are commonly foraged for food.|
|Yellow morel (Morchella esculenta)||Usually found in the springtime around Easter, it’s light brown or yellow, with a completely hollow stem and honeycombed cap||One of the most sought-after edible mushrooms, it’s harmless to your yard.|
|Meadow mushroom (Agaricus campestris)||Whitecaps up to 5 inches in diameter, with fine scales on top and a brown gilled underside. It bruises a dingy brown (its poisonous dupe bruises yellow)||It is nonpoisonous and commonly foraged and eaten, but it has poisonous look-alikes, so it’s best to be cautious.|
|False parasol (chlorophyllum molybdites)||Large flat brownish-white caps with coarse brown scales. It does not have the snakeskin-like growths that the edible parasol mushroom has.||Causes gastrointestinal distress and vomiting, especially in young children, but has not as yet resulted in deaths.|
|Shaggy mane (coprinus comatus)||They first appear as small white scaly cylinders, before opening up into a bell-shaped cap. Their white gills eventually turn black.||They are harmless before the gills turn black. But this species is often confused with the common ink cap, which is toxic, so removal is advised.|
|Pleated inkcap (parasola plicatilis)||It has a distinct rounded bell-shaped cap with an accordion-style folded texture. They are light brown or off-white in color with a brown center.||These mushrooms are non-poisonous, but they are also considered inedible.|
|Basket stinkhorn (Clathrus ruber)||Striking and distinctive reddish-brown fruit bodies that resemble a round, hollow basket. It’s known for its foul “rotten meat” smell.||While not exactly poisonous, it’s unlikely that you would try to eat it given its smell. Stinkhorn fungus removal is recommended before it reaches maturity and begins to attract flies.|
Steps to take to get rid of mushrooms in your backyard:
If you’ve identified the mushroom(s) in your yard, considered whether it’s dangerous or damaging to your lawn, and have decided to remove them, there are a few steps you can take.
- Change the growing conditions in your yard. Above all, mushrooms need dim light and lots of moisture. If you can change the layout of your yard, you have a better chance of preventing mushrooms from occurring in the first place. Avoid overwatering your lawn, and cut away any extra foliage keeping your lawn in the dark.
- Remove rotting wood, leaves, and other organic materials from your yard. If you’re diligent about keeping any kind of decaying matter out of your yard, your chances of seeing mushrooms will drop significantly. You’re essentially starving them of what they need to grow. Regularly use a rake and/or leaf blower to clear away organic debris, or hire a lawn care service to do this for you.
- Use horticultural vinegar to get rid of mushrooms as they appear. Vinegar is a more natural solution to mushrooms in your yard, and it’s recommended over fungicides, especially when you have kids or pets. Make sure it’s horticultural vinegar, as regular cooking vinegar is not strong enough.
- Try baking soda or dish soap for a gentler approach to mushroom removal. You can do this by diluting baking soda or dish soap in water and, using a spray bottle, spritzing it over the area where the mushrooms are growing. You can also sprinkle the baking soda directly onto the mushrooms if you wish, although it’s likely not as effective.
- Stay diligent and maintain a mushroom-free yard through frequent inspections and lawn maintenance. If it’s important for you to keep your yard fungus-free all year round, make sure you’re well aware of the light and moisture levels of your lawn and frequently clear away thatch and organic debris. Prevention, after all, is the key!
Frequently Asked Questions:
Will mushrooms go away on their own?
The vast majority of mushrooms that grow in lawns are non-toxic, but you wouldn’t want to take that risk with your children or dog.
The good news is, if you’re not worried about a pet or child getting their hands on a mushroom, then you have no real reason to rid your lawn of the mushrooms, other than for aesthetic purposes. Leave them be and they’ll dissipate on their own, usually within a few days to a week. They’ll also deposit nutrients into your soil as they decay, leading to a healthier lawn overall!
Will fungicides get rid of mushrooms in my yard?
Fungicides may seem like the obvious choice to control mushroom growth in your yard, but the overall consensus is that fungicides are not the most effective method for getting rid of mushrooms.
For one, fungicides can pollute nearby soil and water draining from your lawn and into nearby ponds, rivers, and lakes. They’re also hazardous to human health and the health of your pets. There are more effective and harmless methods to use that don’t involve chemical pollutants.
Can I eat the mushrooms in my yard?
While many varieties of mushrooms grow in lawns and forests that are edible, you should never attempt to eat a plant that you can’t confidently identify. Lots of mushrooms have “dupes” or similar-looking varieties that can cause harm if incorrectly foraged.
That’s why it’s important to keep mushrooms under control in your yard since small children will not know the difference between edible and poisonous mushrooms.
If you suddenly notice that you have a ring or cluster of mushrooms in your yard, don’t panic. They’re likely completely harmless, and in fact, can signal that your lawn and backyard ecosystem is thriving as they should.
You can easily and naturally remove mushrooms from your lawn to keep it looking green and uniform, while also keeping potentially dangerous fungi away from pets and small children. If you can, avoid using pesticides and chemical fungicides to deal with the problem, as this can cause problems for your lawn and pollute the local ecosystem. And lastly, never attempt to eat a mushroom you can’t confidently identify on your own.