If you’ve walked outside one recent morning to find mushrooms sprouting on your lawn, you are probably not surprised. A variety of mushrooms make their appearance on Georgia lawns, and many of them have unusual names – fairy ring, inky caps, stinkhorn – to go with them. What they all have in common is that they are endemic in the soil, and part of the growing cycle in our environment.
Moist weather creates the perfect opportunity for mushrooms to thrive, which is why you’re likely to see them after the rainy weather we’ve been having. They typically grow in groups: only rarely will you find just one in your yard. They are not edible, nor poisonous to the touch, so you can pull them out by hand with no problem. But it is important that you supervise small children and pets to ensure they do not consume them.
If you consider mushrooms on your lawn an eyesore, you’ll be glad to know that there are a couple of things you can do to keep them from coming back. One option to consider is core aeration for your lawn. This procedure will “open up” your soil, breaking up any compacted areas and helping to drain the soil of moisture. Core aeration is a great option when you’ve had problems with mushrooms repeatedly.
Besides aeration, the only other treatment is to make sure you have adequate storm water drainage on your property. This can be done by installing curtain or other drainage systems to keep water from pooling on your lawn.
You can go ahead and pull those pesky mushrooms out of your lawn. However, you are only plucking the “fruit” of the mushroom by doing this. And if the mushrooms have ripened, you may only be spreading the spores further on your lawn – especially if you are tempted to take a golf club to them. The fact is that the fungi that cause mushrooms to pop up on our lawns are always present in our soil. And that is a good thing – because they serve to decompose organic matter in the soil, turning it into nutrients for the lawn. However, there are a few conditions where mushroom growth on your lawn might be an important sign. First, mushrooms sprouting on the trunk or along the root lines of a tree may indicate it is dying. Also, brown patches in your lawn may be a sign of damaging fungal growth like brown patch or dollar spot disease. And a perennial crop of mushrooms in one area of your lawn may be a sign that construction or other debris was buried there. But for this seasonal mushroom outbreak – no need to do anything special. The heat of a Georgia August will most likely take care of them for you.