The Q&A Archives: Mushooms In The Lawn

Question: Why are mushrooms growing in my lawn? How can they be elimated and prevented? We had a new lawn installed about five years ago. A large elm had been in the area but was taken down just before the lawn was installed.

Answer: Some mushrooms grow in decaying wood or tree roots under the soil surface, and others feed off grass roots, killing the turf. In either case, the only chemical-free way to control the mushrooms is to remove the mycelia (the "stem" of the mushroom body) from the soil. If rotting wood is the source of mushroom growth, remove it and the 2 inches of soil that surrounded the wood.

If you have "fairy ring" fungi that grow in a circle, the fungus is feeding on your turf, and you'll have to remove the grass and 2 inches of surrounding soil as well. Excess moisture tends to encourage fairy rings, so water your lawn only as needed. There is no easy or inexpensive control of fairy ring fungi. The easiest strategy is to mask the effects by fertilizing the whole yard so that the impact of the nitrogen released by the fungi is not so visible. You could remove the sod within two feet of either side of the ring and replant with clean sod. But this seems a drastic and temporary solution to a minor issue. Another option is to sit back in wonder and amazement and enjoy the natural cycles of nature occurring in your yard as this beneficial fungi makes fertilizer from leaf litter right in front of your eyes!

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