There seems to be some controversy surrounding our fungi friends, especially when it comes to our lovely lawns. So, what should we do with them? Firstly, we should ask ourselves this.
What are mushrooms?
Mushrooms are fungi. They belong in a Kingdom of their own, separate from plants and animals. In contrast to how plants and animals survive, mushrooms grow their mycelium into or around their food source then secrete enzymes that digest the food externally; they then absorb the digested nutrients.
Are mushrooms harmful?
Most mushrooms are generally harmless and can occasionally be beneficial to the eco-system. Although the fruiting bodies are clearly visible it will take an expert to distinguish whether they are edible, so it is not advisable to eat them.
Mushrooms in the lawn are not always a cause for concern, however when you get mushrooms in a circle then this could be evidence of a fairy ring which can be damaging to your lawn. Click here to read more on fairy rings.
What causes mushrooms?
Mushrooms sprout in the correct conditions and can spread quite easily (see below). Conditions in which mushrooms thrive tend to be in shaded or moist areas. They can appear pretty much overnight which you can attribute to the right mix of moisture, shade, or cloudy weather along with rich, organic material in the soil. When those elements combine, it’s the mushrooms time to shine!
How do mushrooms spread?
Rather than spreading seeds, mushrooms produce millions of microscopic spores that blow away into the wind or are spread by feeding animals. If these spores land on a suitable surface (such as wood or soil) spores will germinate to form a network of microscopic rooting threads which penetrate their new food source.
So, what should we do with them?
The cycle is usually short lived, they will disappear on their own as soon as they have distributed their spores and completed their life cycle. However, the wind will spread the spores, meaning there is a possibility that they will grow into mushrooms in the distant future.
We wouldn’t recommend mowing the mushrooms, as this will cause the spores to spread further. Instead, before mowing, you could pull the mushrooms out from the base.
If you have heard that it is wise to apply a fungicide please ignore this practice, fungicides will have an impact on the fruiting bodies that are there for a short time; they will have no impact on the ones beneath the soil which can pop up overnight.
Aerating your lawn can help improve drainage which will, in turn, help decrease the moisture that encourages mushrooms. Aeration will also help to increase the amount of oxygen that gets to the root of the grass. Since they like shade, trim back any nearby trees or shrubs to provide them with as much sunshine as possible.
Sign up to annual GreenThumb treatments now and help to prevent those pesky mushrooms. Your lawn will thank you later! Click here to contact your local branch.