Have you got a beautiful garden that you love to spend time in? Have you put in time and money in getting everything right in your yard so that it can become a meditative and refreshing place for you? We want our gardens to be picture-perfect. And why shouldn’t we? They can give your house a completely changed feel.
An unkempt garden can suggest carelessness and ruin the neatness of your house, while a beautifully groomed and maintained garden is the greatest first impression.
But, of course, like all good things, keeping your yard in a tip-top shape requires consistent care. With the moist weather that we have been having, it has become ever-so-possible for mushrooms, not just to spring up, but to thrive in your lovely gardens.
Why do mushrooms spring up so easily?
Mushrooms can provide an unconventionally edgy look if you keep them under check, but most people prefer flowers over fungi. If you’ve been struggling to keep your yard fungus-free, you’ve come to the right place. Read on for a thorough guide on mushrooms in yards, and how to get rid of them.
If you didn’t already know this, mushrooms are a type of fungi. This means they usually grow in damp weather, which makes gardens the easiest host. They feed on decaying organic matter in your lawn.
But you haven’t been putting anything like that on your lawn? How did that happen?
Decaying organic matter arises in any ecosystem with living organisms. As each organism has a life cycle, you might get fallen leaves, dead grass, or other similar matter. It can also come from animal feces, which are all pretty much unavoidable when you strive for a natural-looking front yard.
Fungi feed on this organic matter and grow in size and number. They release spores, which help them reproduce and occupy larger areas of land. A soggy lawn provides a perfect bed for them to do this, which means you might see the problem of mushrooms the most after it has been raining.
Why they are difficult to get rid of
Mushrooms release spores. These are tiny cells, invisible to the human eye so we mostly won’t be able to catch a mushroom and remove it before it releases them into other areas of the lawn. This means that while you might get rid of mushrooms in one area of your lawn, they might spring up in another area.
Is your yard susceptible to mushrooms?
These spores can also become dormant, which means that if you’ve had a mushroom problem in the past, you might get it again. Mushrooms do well in low-light and high-humidity conditions, which means this problem is going to be seasonal.
If you’ve got a pet that does its deed in the yard, it might be more susceptible to growing mushrooms. If you’ve gotten rid of trees or plants but have not completely removed them from the soil, they might be decaying and attracting mushroom growth.
If it doesn’t get a lot of sun and retains a lot of water; susceptible.
What does that mean? Is that bad?
Not necessarily. Aesthetically speaking, if you want flowery bushes and full plants, mushrooms might not be an ideal look for your lawn.
However, mushrooms restore the soil with nutrients that it needs to support that healthy flora and fauna you aspire to have. It’s a give and takes. Usually, people want to enrich their soil with fertilizer, and not rely on mushrooms because they are difficult to control and not the best look if you’re preparing your place for the real estate market.
Mushrooms will not necessarily cause complete ruin to your yard, but if you have children, there’s another aspect you need to consider. If your child has the habit of putting things in their mouth, they might try it with mushrooms. Some mushrooms are edible, but most of them that grow in the wild can be extremely dangerous.
Others might not be poisonous per se, but can have a really foul odor, stinking up your whole garden and making it an unpleasant experience. We definitely don’t want that.
Strategies for Getting Rid of Mushrooms
After identifying which conditions are causing mushrooms to sprout up in your yard, you can strategically try out some of these techniques to remove them when they do make an appearance.
Of course, the most traditional way would be to manually pluck the mushrooms out. Grab them by the stem and pull them out with full force until they are completely out of the soil. You should keep in mind a few things while you do this. Without knowing which type of mushroom it is, we shouldn’t touch them.
If the mushrooms are poisonous, touching them with bare hands could cause allergic reactions, which is the last thing we want. Do this chore with gloves on, and also ensure you’re placing the mushrooms in a cloth or a bag after you are plucking them out. Throwing them over your shoulder to another part of the yard where there aren’t any mushrooms is a clear indication for them to spread their spores.
If you do not store them away until disposal safely away from your yard, chances are more mushrooms will pop up soon.
Use this as an addition to another method. Like all fungicides, those for mushrooms can be dangerous for children. Some fungicides can create a disbalance in the natural ecosystems of your yard. You might want to consider diluting the fungicide and giving a light spray to the affected areas.
Over time, you should see the number of mushrooms slowly diminish, but this is not a very effective long-term solution, and also can pose a danger to the beautiful plants you want flourishing in your yard.
You might want to make do with the household vinegar you use at home, but it simply is not strong enough. Horticulture vinegar, on the other hand, might be a little too strong. How do you find the balance? Get horticulture vinegar and dilute it.
You can visit a nursery or a plant shop and specifically ask for horticulture vinegar to get rid of mushrooms. It will probably come with instructions on how you can dilute it to the right strength. This vinegar will probably be extremely strong and you should wear gloves, as well as eye protection. Make sure you don’t allow your skin to come in contact with the liquid because it can cause a burning effect that you do not want to risk under any circumstance.
Put it in a spray bottle and try it out over a patch of mushrooms to see how it works. They should probably die in a couple of days. You might also see the lawn around the mushrooms responding to the vinegar, which is why you should spray carefully so as to not damage the rest of your garden.
If all goes well, spray it over all your problem patches.
If you don’t want a solution that is so dangerous, or toxic to your plants try out the baking soda. This should be a much safer option if you have kids in the house that love playing with random things.
Mix some baking soda with water and spray it over the mushrooms. This is not an immediate and long-term solution, but can definitely help if your mushroom problem is still in its beginning stages. Alternatively, you can also directly sprinkle some baking soda on the mushrooms and water it in.
Plants usually require slightly acidic soil to grow in. Baking soda raises the pH of the soil and it becomes a more hostile environment for things to grow in. This too might inhibit the growth of your other plants. But, once you have dealt with the mushrooms, you can add minerals to enrich the soil back with its acidic properties and allow your yard to be beautiful without the unwanted, ugly, stinky competitors.
Using dish soap or detergent works in a similar way to baking soda. It raises the pH of the soil surrounding the fungi, making it difficult for them to thrive. These are extremely strong, which is why you should thoroughly dilute them. Mix some dish soap with water to dilute it.
Using a pencil or a screwdriver, make holes around the mushroom colonies to surround them completely. Pour the dish soap-water solution over the mushrooms and into the holes. This attacks not only the mushroom heads that have popped up but also the fungi under the soil that is soon going to pop up.
Repeat this twice a week and the mushroom infestation should soon go away.
Using a Nitrogen-based fertilizer
This one, you should add to your lawn care routine whether or not you have mushrooms. A nitrogen-based fertilizer increases the rate at which organic matter decays. Why is this good? Your soil will quickly be replenished with natural minerals that will promote plant growth.
Since the decaying organic matter will be broken down quicker, the fungi will have less to feed upon, and their life cycle will end quicker too. This is a less immediate approach and is more a long-term preventative strategy you should apply if your yard is susceptible to mushroom growth.
How to prevent Mushrooms from popping up
Once you’ve gotten rid of mushrooms, you should definitely take some measures to ensure that they do not pop up again. As mentioned again before, mushrooms reproduce through spores, which are difficult to locate and so we must take care that our yard is perfect for the plants we want, and keeps the fungi away.
Having good drainage
The reason mushrooms spring up in your lawn so quickly is perhaps because you aren’t allowing the water to drain out. When we want the green in our yards to flourish, sometimes we get too concerned and overwater the soil. Contrary to the belief that plants die without water, they actually become more vulnerable to infections if they are overwatered.
Especially if you live in an area where you receive plenty of rainfall, or the sun doesn’t come out too much, you should invest in building good drainage. Check to see if your yard is too shallow or there are any clogged gutters nearby preventing the easy flow of water. It might also be a sidewalk that interferes with the drainage system or has a flat base to your yard.
You might not want to install a cover over the head on the lawn since mushrooms thrive in darkness. But also pay attention to overgrown trees and bushes that might be blocking sunlight from lower levels in your yard. Keep the pruned so that the entire yard receives sunlight.
Maintaining the lawn
While leaving some grass clipping on your lawn is generally considered good practice, and people who believe in having natural fertilizers might lean towards leaving fallen leaves on the ground, it’s good practice to rake leaves to prevent buildup. Having too much decaying matter in your yard is an invitation for all kinds of organisms you don’t want around.
Maintaining your lawn is a practice you should have consistently. If you can’t do it every day, try to squeeze in at least 15 minutes every week for deep cleaning of your yard. Not only will this prevent mushrooms, but it will also make your yard prettier!
Mushrooms can indicate a variety of problems with your yard like insufficient drainage and sunlight and the excessive organic decaying matter left to rot in the yard for long durations.
You can use a variety of these methods in a combination that best suits your needs. We tried to keep them as natural as possible since you don’t want to put extremely toxic chemicals in your yard and damage your greens or poison the soil.
By using these techniques regularly, you can maintain a mushroom-free yard that stays green and fungus-free all year round!