A green, pristine lawn is what we all look forward to each summer. However, when mushrooms start popping up in your yard, they could ruin your dream lawn.
You may be inclined to believe mushrooms are a sign of poor yard care; however, this is not always true!
Mushrooms most often appear when there is decaying matter such as wood underground. Some other reasons for mushrooms growing in the lawn may be heavy rainfall, thick thatch, and a rich nutrient level. They are generally a sign of a healthy lawn.
Some mushrooms may be poisonous making it more important to remove them from your yard. However, not all mushrooms are dangerous they can even have a beneficial effect on your lawn! Keep reading to learn about why mushrooms are growing in your lawn, the effect they have on your yard, and even how to get rid of them.
What are Mushrooms?
To understand what causes a mushroom, first, it is important to know exactly what a mushroom is. Mushrooms can appear in many different shapes, colors, and sizes depending on where you are in the world.
To many, a mushroom may just seem like an unattractive plant or weed growing in your lawn. In reality, mushrooms are actually a type of fungus, or rather a part of a fungus.
Mushrooms are the reproductive part of a fungus that is growing underground. The fungus produces spores in the top of the mushroom, these spores are seed-like structures that can spread either through wind or water in order to start a new colony.
Like other fungi, mushrooms thrive in damp, dark (not true for all types of mushrooms), and nutrient-rich areas of yards. If any of these conditions are present, it may be the explanation for mushrooms appearing in your lawn.
Causes of Mushrooms
Mushroom spores traveling through the air or water are not the only cause for mushrooms appearing in your yard. What this means is that mushrooms growing in your neighbor’s yard are not necessarily the cause of them sprouting in your lawn.
One common cause for mushrooms is buried matter. This matter may include any type of buried wood (tree roots, stump, shrubs) or other organic matter.
If you have recently removed any bushes, trees, or shrubs from your yard, you understand that the roots and pieces of the plant remain underground. Over time these roots and plant pieces begin to decompose, creating the ideal environment for mushrooms to grow.
Another common cause for mushroom growth is a high moisture concentration in your lawn.
Higher water content in your lawn may be the result of either heavy rainfall or overwatering. During a period of heavy rainfall or overwatering your lawn is more susceptible to mushrooms.
If there hasn’t been a period of heavy rainfall nor have you been overwatering your lawn, a high moisture concentration may be due to the thickness of the thatch in your lawn.
The thatch is the layer of both dead and living roots or stems that are located just below the blades of grass and just above the soil. When your lawn produces debris at a rate faster than the ecosystem is capable of breaking down, the thatch in your lawn begins to build up. A thick thatch will hold moisture and is likely to cause mushroom growth in your lawn.
The final cause of mushroom and fungi growth in your yard is areas of low light.
Having areas of low light such as the area under a shady tree will not always lead to mushroom growth. However, when an area of low light is combined with lots of moisture, the chances of mushrooms appearing rapidly increases.
The Effect of Mushrooms on Your Lawn
Another assumption is that the presence of mushrooms actually causes damage to your lawn. This assumption is far from the truth.
What every expert lawn caretaker should aim to have is living soil on their lawn. The term “living soil” refers to a soil environment in which there are plenty of healthy bacteria, fungi, earthworms, and other organisms all working together to breakdown debris and matter.
After the “living soil” breaks down the matter, the nutrients are returned back to the grass and other plants growing in it.
Some mushrooms such as Mycorrhiza can even further benefit your lawn’s conditions. This type of fungus benefits the lawn by helping other plants withstand droughts and temperature extremes.
Having these nutrients and protection for the soil attracts even more fungi and bacteria to the yard. So next time you see a few mushrooms growing in your lawn, take as a marker that you have achieved “living soil”!
How to Get Rid of Mushrooms
While it may seem more desirable to remove the mushrooms from your lawn, it shouldn’t cause any damage to your lawn to keep them (as discussed in the section above, it actually benefits your lawn!).
However, if you still want to remove the mushrooms from your lawn, there are several different methods you can use to remove them.
Before attempting to remove the mushrooms from your lawn, you should first identify what is causing them to be there in the first place. If you haven’t already, read the section above on the “Causes of Mushrooms” to identify the root of your mushroom problem.
If the mushrooms in your lawn are caused by decomposing matter, you may not even need to take action in order to have them leave your lawn.
In most cases, once the matter is completely decomposed the mushroom will eventually break down themselves due to the lack of nutrients.
If you would like to expedite the decomposition of the matter, you can do so by adding some nitrogen fertilizer. Click here to find nitrogen fertilizer on Amazon!
If you are looking for an even faster solution to remove the matter and mushrooms from your yard, you can always dig up the decomposing matter and remove it yourself. However, this method may result in more damages to your lawn than the mushrooms.
Unfortunately, if the cause of heavy moisture in your lawn is heavy rainfall, there isn’t much you can do but wait out the rainy season.
During this rainy season, you can break off the mushrooms or mow over them to stop them from spreading more as the moisture levels increase.
In the event high moisture concentration is a result of overwatering your lawn, simply decrease the length and/or frequency of watering. You can then break off the mushrooms or mow over them in order for them to disappear.
Want to learn more about How To Water Your Lawn? Follow the link to learn proper watering tips!
If the thatch of your yard is too thick and moisture is collecting and causing mushroom growth, there are a few things you can do in order to thin this thatch.
The first thing you can try is allowing the environment to correct itself by leaving the mushrooms. The mushrooms will help break down the debris in the thatch and should eventually disappear.
If you would like the process to move faster, you can even remove some of the thatch yourself! In the following video, you will see a demonstration of how to use a “thatch rake” to refresh your lawn!
Click here to find your new thatch rake on amazon!
In order to address the problem of mushrooms caused by areas of low light in your lawn, you will also need to correct the moisture level in your lawn (read the section of to learn how to correct this problem!).
To reduce the areas of low light in your yard, begin by trimming any overgrown trees, bushes, or shrubs.
Once you have brought more light to that area of the yard, you can break off the mushrooms or mow over them.
Mushrooms can be poisonous and dangerous when ingested. Some species of mushroom may even be dangerous to touch. This may pose a greater than simply the look of your lawn if you have any pets or small children that might touch or try to eat the mushrooms.
When you are removing mushrooms from your lawn, wear gloves and be sure to pick up all the pieces and bits of mushroom.