The Q&A Archives: mushroom

Question: this year i just landscaped our garden with annuals, perennials, new soil, and mulch. i water the flowers in the evening on a daily basis, naturally I don't do it when it rains. I have been seeing mushroom pop up through the mulch. is this a sign of something, and what can be done to prevent it? thanks

Answer: Mushrooms are the surface growth of the underground fungus. They do not harm plants. You can rake off the mushrooms if you wish.

They are a part of the overall natural process of decay and help break down organic matter in the soil such as buried wood, old tree roots, or possibly bark or similar material used as a soil amendment. Once that underground source is used up, the mushrooms will stop on their own.

They will also stop when environmental conditions are no longer favorable for them. One thing to try is to water less often but water deeply rather than watering daily. This will allow the surface to dry out and may discourage the mushrooms from forming.

Here are some tips on watering:Your goal in watering is to keep the soil evenly moist like a wrung out sponge, not sopping wet and not dried out. To know if you need to water, dig into the soil with your finger -- go an inch or so deeper below the mulch layer. If it is still damp, do not water yet. When you do water, apply it to the soil surface and water thoroughly and slowly so it soaks down to the deeper roots. After watering, wait a few hours and then dig down to see how far the water soaked in; it can be surprising.

There is no set schedule for watering, it depends on your soil type and on the weather. Using an organic mulch several inches thick over the root area will help reduce watering needs as well as feed the soil gradually as it breaks down over time.

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