They weren't there last night, but when you woke up this morning they were all over the place. Like magic, a carpet of plump mushrooms has unexpectedly sprouted in your otherwise perfectly green lawn. This article will discuss why your yard suddenly has this surprise and what your best options are for getting rid of them.
What Are Mushrooms
Mushrooms seem to appear "out of nowhere" because they are actually only a small manifestation of something much larger that's going on underneath your yard. Below the grass, fungi are growing in long filaments known as hyphae. These hyphae form a criss-crossed thatch in the soil, feeding on decaying organic material. Because they speed up the natural composting of organic matter, the presence of hyphae in your yard can actually be beneficial as they work to free up key nutrients for use by plants.
If these fungi are thriving underground, then when conditions are ripe they shoot up a reproductive structure, and voila: mushrooms! The visible mushrooms are used to distribute very tiny spores that act like seeds and distribute future fungi.
The Good News
While mushrooms may seem unsightly, they generally don't pose a horticultural threat to your lawn and don't cause any lawn "diseases." In fact, because of how they break down organic matter they may be partially responsible for your otherwise good-looking grass.
The Bad News
Although mushrooms aren't inherently dangerous to other plants, they can be very poisonous and care must be taken to prevent young children and pets from sneaking a snack. If the unseen hyphae become too thickly matted underground they can also choke off grass roots, preventing them from getting needed air and water, eventually turning a once-lush lawn brown.
So what should you do? Unfortunately, eradicating the underlying fungi is virtually impossible. However, here are a few steps you can do to keep them in check:
Left to their own devices, most mushrooms will dry out and disappear within a few days. Of course, during that interim they will be busy spreading spores. While picking a mushroom won't hurt the hyphae down below, removing the mushroom quickly will prevent them from distributing as many "seeds."
Most mushrooms thrive in cool, damp environments. If you regularly water your yard, consider backing off a little. Most lawns can survive with only a good dousing every week or two. Reducing your watering will both help your grass develop stronger roots while making the circumstances less desirable for mushrooms.
Using a nitrogen-rich fertilizer can also help. The nitrogen will help strengthen your grass. It will also speed up the decomposition of organic matter, leaving less for the mushroom-makers to munch on.
Don't Use Fungicide
While there are lots of fungicides available on the market, none of them are effective against mushroom hyphae. Spare yourself the cost, labor, and exposure to chemicals by not using fungicide to in your fight against mushrooms.
Most yard-enthusiasts encounter mushrooms at some point or another in their lawn care. Keep these tips in mind the next time you find yourself surprised by one of these odd-looking lawn ornaments.
To learn more about lawn care, contact a company like Valley Green Companies.