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Mushrooms in your Lawn Guelph News

Mushrooms Popping Up In Your Guelph Lawn?

The sudden emergence of mushrooms on a lawn may appear strange and potentially troublesome, but that is not always the case. According to Bryan McKenzie, a landscape designer and co-founder of Bumper Crop Times, mushrooms cannot harm your lawn; they may only disrupt its pristine appearance. So, instead of panicking when you spot mushrooms, take a moment to consider why they have grown and decide whether you should remove them or let them be.

Why Do Mushrooms Grow in My Grass?

Mushrooms serve as the fruits of the fungal world, similar to flower seeds. They play a crucial role in the reproduction and survival of fungi. Rather than dispersing seeds, fungi produce microscopic spores on their gills and under the cap, which are carried by the wind or hitchhike on critters that consume them. Interestingly, mushrooms can even generate their own airflow or “wind” to ensure the scattering of spores and their subsequent germination in new soil.

Soil naturally contains abundant fungi, and these fungi assist in the decomposition of organic matter. In the lawn ecosystem, when leaves or grass clippings fall onto the yard, they provide carbon and other nutrients to the fungi. In return, the fungi help break down the clippings and leaves, converting them into soil nutrients.

According to David Cusick, executive editor of House Method, “Mushrooms are actually a positive indication that your lawn’s soil is healthy.” The appearance of mushrooms suggests that fungi are actively working beneath the surface. Additionally, mushrooms can be a sign of excess moisture, which could result from overwatering, for example.

The browning of grass in dark circles or bands may precede the growth of mushrooms and is a natural part of the soil process. These patterns are often followed by half-circles of white mushrooms or puffy balls, commonly known as “fairy rings.”

Potential Issues Related to Lawn Mushrooms

Although mushrooms are mostly harmless, there are a few drawbacks to having them in your lawn. Their presence might disrupt the otherwise pristine appearance of your lawn, and some species of lawn mushrooms can be toxic. This poses a risk, especially if children or pets ingest them, leading to stomach upset or, in severe cases, more serious health issues. Additionally, continued above-soil growth of fungi can damage localized areas of grass, and mushrooms can indicate excessive watering, resulting in water wastage.

How to Remove Mushrooms from Your Yard

If you find that mushrooms persistently appear in your lawn and you wish to eliminate them, you can address the issue similarly to how you would deal with a pest problem. Start by implementing integrated management practices, such as dethatching and adjusting the timing and amount of water, to prevent large outbreaks. Alternatively, you may choose to remove the mushrooms from your yard altogether.

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Here are some steps you can take to reduce mushrooms in your lawn:

  1. Decrease excessive moisture and shade in your lawn:
    Mushrooms thrive in damp and dark conditions. To make your yard less hospitable to them, improve drainage by using a lawn aerator. This tool, available for purchase or rent, extracts narrow, cylindrical plugs of soil from the grass at regular intervals, promoting better air circulation and drainage.

    You can also adjust your lawn care routine to keep your grass drier. Water less frequently, providing only 1 inch of water per week, and mow your lawn more regularly. Short grass dries out more quickly than long grass. If you notice fairy rings or mushrooms in your lawn and you usually water at night, switch to watering the grass in the early morning. This allows the grass to dry out before cool, dark evenings set in.

    If mushrooms persist in a shady area of your property, consider trimming or thinning nearby tree branches to allow more light to reach the lawn.

    This change will create an environment less favorable for mushroom growth.
  2. Remove organic material from your lawn:
    Fungi feed on decomposing organic matter, including dead tree roots and grass clippings. Discourage their presence by reducing their food source. When mowing, either collect the grass clippings or leave only a thin layer behind. Periodically dethatch the areas of your lawn where you notice mushrooms.

    If the fungi are feeding on organic material submerged in the soil, such as dead tree roots, old mulch, or discarded wood from home construction, you will need to excavate and remove that material to stop the continuous appearance of mushrooms. To ensure complete removal, dig out the soil beyond the affected area, going 12 to 18 inches deep and extending about 2 feet outside the mushroom cluster.

    If this sounds like too much work, don’t worry. Once the fungi have consumed all the submerged organic material, they—and the mushrooms—should disappear for good.
  3. Remove each mushroom at its base:
    You can manually pull mushrooms out of the ground, cut them with a knife, or mow over the affected area with a lawnmower. If the mushrooms are widespread, it is crucial to remove them as soon as you notice them sprouting. Otherwise, they will have enough time to release spores, leading to the growth of new mushrooms. Avoid disposing of mushrooms in your compost; instead, place them in a tightly sealed plastic bag and discard them in the trash. If you choose to mow over the mushrooms, collect the pieces immediately and dispose of them in a bag.
Mushrooms in your Lawn Guelph News
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Avoid using chemical fungicides, as they are unnecessary and may harm beneficial soil organisms. According to Cusick, a simple homemade fungicide can be made by mixing 5 tablespoons of vinegar per gallon of water and applying it with a sprayer. Before applying the remedy, cut down all the mushrooms and spray the area where they were growing.

Reasons to Consider Allowing Mushrooms in Your Yard

Apart from their appearance, most lawn mushrooms pose no harm. You can choose to let the mushrooms remain, particularly since completely eradicating them from your lawn might involve steps that do more harm than good to the soil.

Lawn mushrooms are an indication of healthy soil. Approximately 50 species of fungi can form fairy rings or cause mushrooms to sprout in turf. These mushrooms might appear due to cool, wet weather conditions that keep the soil moist and create an ideal environment for fungal growth. However, these fungi, along with the mushrooms that release spores, signify the presence of active and beneficial processes beneath the soil.

According to the Natural Resources Conservation Service, fungi play a crucial role in assisting roots in accessing water, cycling nutrients, and improving soil structure. They are an integral part of the soil ecosystem, and a healthy lawn requires good soil.

Furthermore, mushrooms provide nutrients to your lawn. Instead of fearing them, appreciate these fungi as an essential part of the soil ecosystem and plant nutrition. While mushrooms grow when conditions are favorable, fungi reside beneath the soil throughout the year. Their hyphae, which resemble twisted groups of filaments, work underground.

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In natural environments, plants absorb nutrients from the soil through their roots. These nutrients are stored in various plant parts, such as leaves and flowers. When animals consume the plants, the nutrients pass on to them. When animals and insects die, the nutrients return to the soil, where they are broken down by earthworms, fungi, bacteria, and other helpers.

Hyphae help break down organic matter into elements that plants require, including carbon dioxide, as well as nutrients such as phosphorus, nitrogen, potassium, and other essential macronutrients and micronutrients. Mushrooms aid in spreading fungal spores and contribute to sustaining this vital process

In conclusion, while the sudden appearance of mushrooms on your lawn might initially seem strange or problematic, it is not always a cause for concern. Understanding the role of mushrooms in the ecosystem and implementing proper lawn care practices can help you decide whether to remove them or allow them to contribute to the health of your lawn and soil.

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