Mushrooms might be great for dinner, but they’re not the kind of food you want growing in your yard. If you do find them popping up across your lawn, you’re definitely not alone. Lawn mushrooms are a fairly common problem, especially after a heavy rain. That’s because high moisture and lots of shade are the perfect conditions for mushrooms.
But here’s where it gets interesting: mushrooms are actually a sure sign that your lawn has been overwatered. And if they’re taking over after a rain, they’re signaling that you should always adjust (in this case, decrease) the amount of water you add to your lawn to the weather.
I’ll explain the exact conditions that cause mushrooms, whether or not they’re dangerous, how to get rid of mushrooms in the lawn, and most importantly, how to prevent mushrooms from ever cropping up again.
Read on if you’re ready to keep mushrooms in the produce aisle.
What Causes Mushrooms in a Lawn?
Lawns get mushroom-y in what you could call a perfect storm of conditions: lots of moisture, shade or cloudy weather, and rich, organic material in the soil.
But what brought them to your lawn in the first place? Well, those mushrooms aren’t just popping up out of thin air. They’re actually a reproductive part of fungi that lives under the soil. Most of the time, fulgi stays hidden and breaks down organic materials. But when there’s a combination of moisture and shade or cloudy weather, these mushrooms burst up and spread spores into the air to distribute fungi across your yard.
So the root of those mushrooms is really always there—you just can’t see it. Find one mushroom in your yard and you can be sure that if you keep overwatering the lawn, you’ll be finding a lot more.
Are Mushrooms in the Lawn Dangerous?
Most mushrooms growing in the yard themselves tend to be harmless. But the damp conditions that lead to mushrooms in your yard can also bring out other types of fungi, some of which are harmful and invasive, such as brown patch, fusarium blight, and rust fungi.
Problems with overwatering go even further. If your lawn is so wet that mushrooms are cropping up, you can guarantee you’re losing money on your water bill every month. Plus, using more water than you need to use puts a strain on the environment.
So, while mushrooms themselves aren’t dangerous, they’re a sure sign of overwatering. And overwatering poses big costs to both your wallet and the environment, as well as could invite some harmful fungus into your yard.
How to Get Rid of Mushrooms in the Lawn
Now that you know that mushrooms are a sign your lawn is being overwatered, it’s time to get them out of there. This step is easy: remove the mushrooms that are currently visible. This can be done by pulling the mushrooms individually by hand, cutting each with gardening shears, or simply mowing the lawn. In addition to tidying up your lawn, this also helps prevent spores from spreading.
Easy, right? That’s because the real work is preventing mushrooms from cropping up next time.
How to Prevent Mushrooms from Growing in Your Lawn
To prevent mushrooms from growing in your lawn, you’ll need to prevent overwatering. This can be done with a few approaches, such as watering your lawn in a way that’s more accurately suited to its needs, aerating your lawn, and solving underlying issues such as poor drainage or lack of sunlight.
Water Your Lawn Smarter
It’s not just about how much you water your lawn. It’s also about how often. In order to prevent overwatering (and keep mushrooms from cropping up in damp areas), it’s best to water deeply and infrequently. This creates a drier, more hospitable environment for your grass.
Those mushrooms, and other harmful fungus? They won’t stand a chance.
Aerate Your Lawn
If mushrooms are a consistent problem in your lawn, it’s time to consider aerating your grass. Achieved with a pronged tool called an aerator, aeration creates holes down into the soil to alleviate compaction under its surface. This allows air, water, and other nutrients to better reach the roots of your grass. When water more easily reaches those roots, you can add less water, more effectively, to your lawn.
Get to the Root of the Problem
If you have an ongoing mushroom problem and aeration doesn’t fix it, you might have a deeper, more underlying issue going on, such as poor drainage or lack of sunlight. Identifying and addressing these issues will help eliminate mushrooms from growing in your lawn for the long haul, as well as any other symptoms of these issues, such as invasive fungi and insects.
Solutions for poor drainage involve extending your home’s downspout, drawing a drainage plan, constructing a creek bed or a French drainage system, building a rain garden with plants that thrive in intense moisture, and adding an underground drainage pipe.
Solutions for lack of sunlight in the yard involve adding grass and plants that thrive in the shade, as well as using shade-friendly flowers to add colorful and bright highlights. Even shady lawns could do with a little vibrancy.
Reduce Overwatering (and Mushrooms) with Smart, Automated Lawn Treatment
The easiest way to reduce overwatering is by using a smart lawn treatment like the OtO device. This genius device uses intelligent watering techniques that automatically adjust for rain, wind, and other weather conditions. This ensures that plants receive the correct amount of water, which improves the overall health of your lawn and garden. By not overwatering or underwatering your lawn, the OtO’s just-right calculations and application precision ensure that your grass and plants thrive.
Plus, its solutions contain microbial-enhancing molasses which helps to promote soil microbial activity, thus improving poor drainage and reducting soil compaction—two of the solutions for lawns that are consistently too wet. If you’re looking for a simple solution to make life easier by saving time and effort (and up to 50% off your monthly water bill), this device is the right call.
That’s all you need to know to prevent overwatering and discovering just how much fungus lies beneath the surface of your soil. Next time you see mushrooms, they’ll be on a plate—not sticking out of your grass.