When Mushrooms Appear in Your Yard

If youʼre like most homeowners, you want your yard to be lush, green and free from pesky invaders. When mushrooms appear, they break up the harmony of your lawn like unwelcome guests at a party. All it takes is the right mixture of shade, organic matter and moisture, and mushrooms will pop up in most any yard.
 
Here are a few strategies for eliminating mushrooms from your yard and ensuring they donʼt come back.
 

 

Prevention Strategies

Getting Rid of Mushrooms
 
When mushrooms pop up, the best way to get rid of them is to walk around and break them off by hand. While you could simply mow over them, this would leave the broken mushroom pieces scattered about the yard, which could be dangerous for children and pets since some species of mushrooms are poisonous. Make sure you wear gloves when working with the mushrooms, just in case your skin is sensitive to their oils.
 
After you break the mushrooms off, gather them all into a pile and either put them in your trash or burn them. Do not put them in your compost heap where they could accidentally end up being touched or ingested by critters. If you have a large number of mushrooms and choose to mow over them rather than break them off by hand, gather the lawn clippings and dispose of them in the trash or burn them when youʼre finished.
 
Removing Organic Matter
 
Mushrooms are fungi, which means they feed on organic matter thatʼs in the process of breaking down. They donʼt simply emerge from the soil like a plant; thereʼs something beneath or within the soil that theyʼre growing on. This could be a piece of decaying wood, an animal carcass or a piece of a plant that got buried. Once the organic matter is completely broken down, the fungi will stop growing. 
 
One way to keep mushrooms from coming back is to expedite the breakdown process of organic matter. To do this, simply purchase a nitrogen-based fertilizer from your local garden store, and dilute it according to package instructions. Next, sprinkle it over your lawn at an approximate rate of 1/2 pound per 1,000 square feet. The organic matter will then absorb the nitrogen, which will speed up the decomposition process.
 
If mushrooms are only growing in one specific area, you can physically remove any organic matter you find. For instance, if mushrooms are growing near a stump, digging up the stump and the associated roots should solve your problem.
 
Drying Out the Lawn
 
Fungi cannot grow without moisture. Youʼve probably noticed that the mushrooms are more abundant in wetter areas of your lawn or that they tend to pop up after a rainstorm. If you have any low spots or dips in your lawn, fill them in with topsoil and replant them with grass. This should discourage puddling water, reducing the number of mushrooms you see. If your entire yard tends to flood, you may want to hire a landscaping company to install a more involved drainage system.
 
If you water your lawn, consider cutting back on the frequency. For instance, watering twice per week instead of daily may keep your soil a bit dryer, ultimately leading to fewer mushrooms.
 
Addressing Shade
 
Mushrooms tend to spring up in shaded areas. If youʼre seeing a lot of mushrooms underneath trees, consider trimming those trees back to allow more light to reach the lawn. Remove any dead branches, and try to thin the branches toward the center of the tree so the foliage becomes less dense in general.
 
If the shade is generated by a shed or fence, thereʼs not much you can do outside of moving the fence. Just do your best to keep grass short (so the grass does not provide even more shade), and follow the tips above to reduce organic matter and moisture availability.
 

 
Having mushrooms pop up in your yard can be disheartening. Thankfully, theyʼre easy to remove, and there are several steps you can take to keep them from returning.