Of all the things you can grow in your backyard, mushrooms are amongst the most troublesome. Not only are they often dangerous and difficult to identify, but they’re also easily within reach for children and pets.
When you find mushrooms in grass, follow these steps to get the situation under control.
Mushrooms and toadstools are some of the hardiest garden pests around, and although they aren’t as friendly as the variety in fairytales, they can become the subjects of a universal love-hate relationship with gardeners. Put simply, they are the visible, reproductive part of a type of soil-dwelling fungi, deemed welcome guests or dangerous squatters depending on the lifestyle and priorities of individual homeowners.
Contrary to popular opinion, finding wild mushrooms in the lawn isn’t necessarily a bad thing, and they’re definitely not bad for the lawn itself – in fact, you might find mushrooms on your lawn simply because the grass and soil are healthy. While mushroom growth is a telltale sign of beneficial microbes at work, there is a range of reasons for choosing to remove wild fungi.
The most obvious reason is the danger to young children and pets if mushrooms are ingested, a situation which could lead to serious illness or death. As a general rule, you cannot eat the mushrooms growing on your lawn, as some varieties can be highly toxic to humans.
Then, there’s the fact that mushrooms taint the visual appeal of a manicured lawn, which is enough incentive for many homeowners to remove them – even though it’s not always easy.
Right after weeds, mushrooms and toadstools are some of the most stubborn lawn squatters around. Image-conscious homeowners have spent years wondering how to get rid of mushrooms in the lawn for good, but unfortunately, there’s no real quick-fix solution to the problem.
The main reason mushrooms and toadstools are so difficult to remove is because the roots burrow deep into the soil, forming a complex underground structure and making them almost impossible to remove all at once. These roots also allow the mushrooms to lie dormant for long periods of time and emerge only when the weather conditions are just right.
If you’re determined to remove a population of backyard mushrooms, pulling them out by hand will yield much better results than the lawnmower. By-hand removal eliminates any chance of spores spreading and regrowing, and it’s a surprisingly simple process: wearing gardening gloves, pick off the mushrooms and toadstools one by one. Alternatively, you can use a fungicide or a mower with a collector attached for the clippings.
Managing lawn mushrooms is a long-term process involving ongoing maintenance, but the good news is that no matter how hardy they may seem, it is possible to eradicate the mushroom population from your lawn. All you have to do is make the lawn a less attractive place for fungi to grow.
As long as there are no live mushrooms already growing in your lawn, a simple lawn mowing routine can significantly reduce growth, but more long-term solutions will involve tending to the soil.
Mushrooms typically thrive in shady, moist conditions, so create the opposite in your yard. Simple changes like limiting shade on the lawn to increase sun exposure, aerating the soil, and cutting back on fertiliser will make the lawn a far less hospitable environment for mushrooms and toadstools.
Once you have created the ideal setting for lush lawn growth, maintenance is key, and the bulk of it lies in keeping the area clear of mushroom-friendly materials.
Anything from grass clippings, thatch build-up, old mulch, excess fertiliser, animal waste, and rotting wood are common culprits.
Now for the ultimate question: are mushrooms in lawn good or bad? The answer depends on your lifestyle. Whereas a conscientious parent or pet owner might be concerned about the health risks associated with garden mushrooms, an avid gardener might be thrilled to see evidence of the health of their lawn. Just remember while long-term removal is possible, it’s not easy, so if a well-manicured lawn is important to you, be prepared to commit to the regular maintenance.
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