Pro Lawn Help

Mushrooms

Mushrooms can be a common problem on lawns.  Toadstools and mushrooms are naturally occurring and can appear on any lawn or turfed area when provided with the right weather or ground conditions.  They are the fruiting body of the fungi which thrive on decaying matter buried within the soil.  Fungal spores can be carried by wind and rain to new locations, creating new fungal colonies.

These mysterious organisms play an important role in breaking down and recycling organic matter into nutrients that your lawn can use.  They are neither plant nor animal and have their own classification called Eukaryotes which also include yeasts and moulds.

For the majority of their lives most fungi go about their business decomposing dead and organic matter unnoticed underground and hidden from sight.  However when the environmental conditions are right, mushrooms can appear overnight, though sometimes it can be many years between fruiting. 

Why do I always get mushrooms?

The main cause of mushrooms in lawns is dead organic matter decaying underground.  This can be anything from old tree roots, tree stubs, leaves, grass mulching, thatch, and even animal waste.  Fungi thrive in shaded areas where drainage is poor, and they tend to be more prevalent during periods of, or following heavy rain.

Will they damage my lawn?

Although unsightly to many people, mushrooms will have no detrimental effect to your lawn.  The vast majority of mushrooms are actually beneficial and are part of the lawns natural ecology.  If left alone they will disappear in time.

What can I do to prevent them?

Most fungicides to control mushrooms have been withdrawn from the UK market over the years, leaving no effective treatment available for lawn care professionals.   All is not completely lost though as aeration will help to improve drainage and air circulation to the roots, as well as scarifying to reduce the thatch layer, making a difference to the overall health of your lawn.  Trimming back any overhanging bushes and branches near the lawn may also help.

Unfortunately if you have roots and decaying matter below the surface mushrooms may still come through.  One proven method is to entirely remove the soil every year, however this is completely impractical. What we can recommend though is an old Greenkeeper tip of bicarbonate of soda, or baking soda.  Mix approximately 100g in a 5L watering can and pour over the mushrooms in order to discourage them and kill off any spores to avoid spreading.