Virtually everywhere in the US, and particularly in the wettest regions, lawns can easily become dotted with lawn mushrooms. These pests are not only unbecoming to an otherwise pristine lawn, but can be very harmful to children and pets because eating them is, in most cases, extremely toxic.
You can’t keep mushroom spores from flying into your yard from other places, but you can create an environment where they won’t want to grow. They will thrive in lawns that are damp, lacking in sunlight, and have a lot of organic matter decomposing in the soil. When they do appear, simply removing the visible part of the mushroom, unfortunately, does not kill it completely. It leaves the underground mycelia, which will continue to produce more above ground mushrooms. The best way to prevent them, then, is to ensure that your lawn is an inhospitable environment for fungi. Here are three smart tactics for preventing lawn mushrooms:
1. Aerate your lawn.
When you aerate your lawn, you allow water that would normally sit above the ground to sink deep into the soil, accessing the roots of the fescues. This is not only great for your lawn (more water = greener, healthier grass), but also a great way to prevent mushrooms, which thrive in wet, stagnant conditions.
Because fungi like places that are damp, dark, and stagnant, they can thrive under the leaves and other yard debris that cover your lawn every autumn. Especially if that layer of leaves is allowed to sit and fester over the winter, the chance of mushrooms popping up next spring or summer rises significantly. To prevent them, be sure to remove all of the leaf cover before winter, especially if your locale gets a lot of rain. A leaf vacuum is by far the easiest way to achieve this, particularly for large properties. And unlike raking, leaf vacuums create suction that helps to dry the above ground portion of the lawn, further helping prevent lawn mushrooms.
3. Pluck ’em when you see ’em.
Each mushroom on your lawn has the capacity to spread its spores far and wide, producing even more mushrooms. While removing the above ground portion of the mushroom doesn’t solve the problem, it does help keep those spores from spreading. So when you see them, remove lawn mushrooms and dispose of them to keep the spores from spreading even more.