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What Do I Do About Mushrooms In My Grass?

07-Sep-2018 | by Scott Bennett

Have you noticed that one day your lawn can be looking pretty good and the next day, perhaps after a rain, your lawn can suddenly break out with little white mushroom caps here, there, and everywhere? It can ruin your landscape design. Many homeowners, especially if they have dogs or kids, are disturbed by this and want these white invaders gone, since they could be poisonous if eaten. However, having a few mushrooms isn’t necessarily cause for alarm. Mushrooms are a fungus that breaks down organic material in order to return nutrients to the soil. This process can actually benefit your lawn.

Why do mushrooms appear?

The fungus causing mushroom caps often will lay dormant in the soil under your grass or in a flower or tree bed. This fungus is quite like an iceberg. The tip or the cap may be above ground but there’s a lot more below ground. When conditions are just right, the caps appear. Perfect conditions include cloud cover, shade, compacted soil that doesn’t drain well, and rain. What should be done about mushroom caps?

When it comes to the caps, you have several options. For one, you can do nothing and hope for a sunny day that will dry conditions out, making your caps disappear. Other options include working on your yard, trimming back trees to make it sunnier and aerating to help the soil drain better, thus, eliminating the ideal growing conditions for mushrooms. Also, make sure you aren’t leaving dog waste on your lawn, another favorite mushroom habitat. Your third option is to eliminate caps from your yard by digging them up and treating the yard. Let me explain.

To dig up mushrooms:
  • Pull the caps out of the grown.
  • Put the caps in a plastic bag, tie the ends, and throw them away in your garbage can. Don’t try to compost them. That will only spread mushroom spores all over your yard.
  • Use a nitrogen fertilizer on the spot where the mushrooms grew but also all over the yard. You may need to repeat this every year.
  • Poke holes around where you found the caps. Use a screwdriver or spade or other tool. Make a mixture of 3 TBSP of dish soap to 2 gallons of water. Carefully pour the water in the holes you made and all other the mushroom area.

That should do the trick. Don’t expect them back any time soon. If they do come back, repeat this process again. Keep mushrooms in perspective

You may hate seeing those caps, but just remember, that if that’s your yard’s biggest issue, you are doing great. This also means your lawn maintenance is pretty good. Although some kinds of fungi are good for yards, many varieties can cause ugly brown patches on your lawn, every homeowner’s worst nightmare.

The best way to keep your lawn healthy and unaffected from these kinds of dangerous invaders is to keep up with regular fertilization. Soil in Utah tends to have an acidic pH. Fertilizers helps to balance this out, making it harder for fungi to grow. Also, be aware of when you are watering your lawn. The best time to water is between 6 p.m. and midnight. Daytime watering tends to increase the likelihood of lawn disease. Also, avoid overwatering. Too much moisture in the soil can cause your grass to grow shallower roots and can help fungi thrive.

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