Yard - - Knowledgebase Question

Northwoods, Il
Question by caraboo26
March 3, 2011
In my front yard bed, I have clumps of what look like old mushrooms, but when you step on it - it puts out a greenish/gray smoke - what is this and how do I get rid of it?


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Answer from NGA
March 3, 2011

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When you step on the mushrooms they are releasing their spores in a cloud of what looks like greenish/gray smoke. If the mushrooms are random or scattered rather than in a circle, they are probably growing because there's something underground that's decomposing. Usually an old tree stump, tree roots, an excessive layer of decomposing thatch, or even leftover wood from construction are causes for mushrooms growing on the soil surface. You can dig up the debris, or you can just rake up the mushrooms before they mature and release spores (that will produce more mushrooms). Dispose of the mushrooms in the trash rather than tossing them into your compost bin. Mushrooms can also be a result of poor nutrition and poor drainage in your lawn. Rake to remove the mushrooms, then put your lawn on a regular maintenance schedule. You may need to aerate the lawn to remove decomposing thatch and help with the compaction problem. Fertilize four times a year with a 3-1-2 ratio of nitrogen, phosphorous and potassium, applying one pound of actual nitrogen per 1,000 square feet of lawn per year. Be sure to water regularly so the lawn will grow thick enough to crowd out (or hide) the mushrooms.

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