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Why Do I Have Mushrooms in My Lawn?

The Truth Behind the Fungus

Have you noticed mushrooms popping up in your Knoxville, TN lawn? They are most commonly found after humid, rainy days, popping up in new sod or in the form of a 'Fairy Ring.' These formations of fungi can be an eyesore and even potentially dangerous for pets and kids if ingested. Read on to learn more about how and why they form and the best strategies to manage them.

What are Mushrooms?

A mushroom is an above ground fruiting or reproductive structure of a fungus. Fungi reproduce by spores (which are similar to seeds) that are spread by wind, water, and lawn equipment. The mushrooms above ground are an indication of a large fungus buried deep within the soil. Many species of fungi that produce mushrooms feed on decaying organic matter in the soil.

While some mushrooms are foul smelling, poisonous, and for the most part undesirable on home lawns, it is important to note that they do not actually cause any damage to turf.

Why Are They Forming on My Lawn?

There are a few common causes for mushrooms growth:

Cause #1: Buried Organic Matter
The main source is often buried tree stumps, timber, or old tree or shrub roots, which can create an environment where fungus is trying to breakdown the organic matter.

Solution: Once the buried organic matter is finished breaking down, the fungus and accompanying mushrooms will disappear. However, this process may take a while. Therefore, if it’s practical you can carefully dig up and destroy rotting stumps, roots or other organic debris.

Cause #2: Damp Lawn Conditions
Has it been raining a lot recently? Are you overwatering the lawn? Are there areas on your lawn with poor drainage? Any of these conditions can create an ideal breeding ground for mushrooms.

Solution: Unfortunately, we cannot control the weather. If the excess moisture is due to heavy and frequent rainfalls, you might just have to wait it out in hopes of sunnier days.

If these damp conditions are due to overwaiting or poor drainage there are a few things you can do. To find out if you are overwatering your lawn visit our Watering Tips page. Remember that deep and infrequent watering is better than watering for shorter periods every day.

In order to improve drainage, you will want to reduce the layer of thatch in your lawn through regular raking or core aeration.

Cause #3: Not Enough Light
Mushrooms tend to thrive in shaded areas. These areas also tend to have high moisture due to the reduced sun exposure.

Solution: Trim or thin out branches of nearby trees and shrubs that are limiting sun exposure. The extra sunshine will help reduce excess moisture and keep mushroom growth at bay.

Management

All the above tips can help to reduce the occurrence of mushrooms in your lawn. But what if mushrooms are already present and you need a quick fix? It is okay to remove the mushrooms by hand, with a stiff rake or with a lawn mower. Remember mushrooms will not cause harm to your turf so don’t fret! If you have any further questions about mushrooms on your lawn, contact your local Weed Man.
 
Brought to you by Weed Man Lawn Care: we care for your lawn.