Help! I’ve got lots of mushrooms on the lawn. What do I do?
Let’s understand the basics.
We’ll most often see mushrooms after heavy rains as the above-ground portion of a larger growth underground. They are associated with two distinct causes.
The first is the less-common fungal problem called “fairy ring”. This is a circular pattern in your lawn that enlarges from year to year as the fungal mycelium grow and expand.
There are mushrooms on the lawn associated with this kind of fungal growth.
The best solution for mushrooms of any size on your lawn is to rake them
Fairy rings are really difficult to control. You can often eliminate the ring by digging out the turf and soil to a depth of 12 inches and 12 to 18 inches wide on both sides of the ring, refilling the hole with non-infested soil.
Some authorities suggest digging out the entire ring from its outer edge to the middle – others suggest only 12 to 18 inches on either side of the ring. Whichever you do, get rid of all contaminated soil.
The second and much more common mushroom on the lawn colony is supported by organic matter under the ground.
The mushroom is the fruiting body of this growth but the bulk of the growth is underground and supported b a) decaying organic matter -such as old construction boards of dying tree roots below ground or b) growing in a symbiotic relationship with tree roots.
Because some of those mushrooms that work with tree roots are beneficial to the tree, you don’t really want to kill them off.
This is a good thing because there are no sprays (organic or otherwise) that will kill off the below ground fungus.
If the mushrooms are unsightly, simply rake them up and dispose of them.
So how do I get rid of them forever?
If the mushrooms are supported by dying/rotting organic matter below ground, the only way to eliminate them is to dig up the organic matter and remove it. Deprived of their food source, they’ll die.
The real answer is to rake and have patience. As soon as the organic matter is consumed (three years give or take) you’ll see the mushrooms disappear.
So if a tree root has died and fungus is consuming it in a natural process, you might see mushrooms suddenly appear but they’ll just as suddenly disappear when the root is consumed.
Can I eat the mushrooms on the lawn?
In theory you can eat anything you can positively identify. The trick is in identifying it.
I can’t give you any help on this so the best advice I can give you is don’t eat mushrooms unless you positively know they are harmless and edible. If in doubt –don’t.
If you’re interested in having a fully organic lawn you’ll find this article on the Five Tips for A Sustainable Green Lawn interesting.