Why do I have issues with mushrooms on my lawn?
A mushroom, or fungus, is an organism whose body consists of root like threads. Mushrooms (sometimes referred to as toadstools) are the reproductive structures of fungi. The “fruit” of a fungus.
There are many different types of fungi, all producing different fruits, i.e. different types of mushroom. Fungal fruits can come in all different shapes and sizes, not just the mushroom shape that we are all familiar with, and subject to contrary belief most fungi are beneficial to lawns.
On the underside of a mushroom you will see many blades; these blades are referred to as gills and within the gills are millions of spores. It is the spores that are responsible for the reproduction of the fungus. The spores are carried in the air and when they reach a suitable area they begin to germinate and send out long thin strands or filaments. These filaments are called hyphae.
Single hyphae are usually invisible to the naked eye but can sometimes be seen in particularly dark soil or on damp, decomposing bark. There are generally only a few reasons why mushrooms are growing on your lawn. Fungi love damp, carbon rich soil, containing rotting wood, or wood chips, dried leaves, straw, etc. To counteract this, if it is the problem, you need to get more nitrogen into the soil.
Grass thrives at a pH level of 6.5 and mushrooms prefer a lower pH level. We test the pH level around your trees or in the areas the mushrooms seem to appear – if the area is found to be acidic we can treat this to ensure the pH level is restored.
There is no easy way to get rid of mushrooms and they tend to re-appear the following year. Since mushrooms are merely the fruiting bodies of fungi, removing them does not kill the underground mycelium from which they are growing.
Picking mushrooms, or other reproductive structures soon after they appear may prevent their spores from spreading to new sites. However, because most spores are wind-blown, they can easily come into a lawn from a neighbouring area.
The primary reasons for removing mushrooms from lawns are to keep them away from children and pets and to improve the lawn’s appearance.
The good thing about the fruits is they should only last a few weeks. Unfortunately the only way to prevent them from coming up totally is to ensure that there are no hyphae with in the soil, to remove this would be an impossible task to achieve and would probably mean removing and replacing the soil on an annual basis.
Apart from the few weeks a year that the fungi are in fruit, the hyphae are of benefit to your soil by helping to decompose leaves and other organic matter.