How to Get of Mushrooms in Lawn | Almanac.com

Don't Fear the Mushrooms in Your Lawn

white mushroom in lawn
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Should you get rid of mushrooms? Are they good or bad?

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Did mushrooms pop up in your lawn overnight? Not to worry! They are actually a sign of lawn health. But learn more about how and why mushrooms grow and if you should get rid of them—or, not!

Why Do You Have Mushrooms in Your Lawn?

Mushrooms often show up after rainfall, especially in areas with high moisture and low light. 

The first thing to know is: This beneficial fungi is a good sign of soil health, meaning that there is a good amount of organic matter in your soil. 

Similarly, certain weeds are indicators of your soil’s health

If you could look into your soil, you would see tiny underground mycelium threads that form a beneficial mycorrhizal network. This fungal network feeds on organic matter, and buried wood, stumps, or old tree roots can host its growth. 

mushroom in a lawn

The mushroom itself is the above-ground reproductive structure, producing spores that act as seeds to spread the fungi. Many living tree roots form a symbiotic relationship with mycorrhiza, and their mushrooms are often found under trees rather than in an open lawn.

mushrooms in a lawn

What Are Fairy Rings?

If you see circles or arcs of tannish mushrooms, they are often referred to as “fairy ring mushrooms.” The Latin name is Marasmius oreades. After a rainstorm, they’ll appear to spring over overnight.

Not all mushrooms grow in a circle, just the fruiting bodies of a particular type. The spawn starts from a spore falling in a favorable spot. Then, a network of fine, tubular threads grows from the spore in all directions. Thus, a circular mat of underground threads is formed. 

Gradually, the spawn at the center of the circle dies out. These can persist year after year, with the diameter gradually increasing and segments dying out until the ring shape can no longer be discerned.

Some fairy ring mushrooms are edible, but never eat a mushroom unless an expert can ID it. 

Should You Get Rid of Mushrooms? 

There is no practical way to get rid of mushrooms permanently, but, again, they are doing no harm. They don’t damage your lawn and will die off rather quickly, but the mycelium lives on for years. 

If you don’t like the looks of them, mow them down when they pop up on your lawn. Or, cut them off at the base if they’re in your garden bed. 

Cutting them before they mature and send out their spores can hinder their spread, but if conditions are favorable, they still will spread via the underground mycelium.

mushrooms on a lawn

Are Mushrooms Poisonous for Dogs?

Only about 3% of known mushroom varieties are poisonous. However, it is wise to avoid eating any mushrooms. If you suspect your pet at a mushroom and show signs of gastrointestinal distress, call your vet or an emergency clinic or animal poison control center as soon as possible. 

See all plants that are poisonous to dogs and cats

How to Prevent Mushrooms

  • Mushrooms can signal that you are overwatering your lawn (which is wasteful as well). Reduce excessive moisture by watering no more than one inch per week. Reduce watering in areas with mulch. 
  • Do not water in the evening.  By watering in the morning, you’ll give your lawn and garden time to dry out.
  • Another option is to reduce shade in your lawn. Mushrooms like dark areas, so adjust your mowing schedule to mow more frequently to help the area dry out more quickly. Perhaps cut back tree limbs or see if there are ways to bring more light into the area. 
  • Improve drainage. Aerate your lawn. You can rent an aerator at a local home improvement store. Aeration brings more air circulation and drainage to your soil.
  • Remove old mulch. Mushrooms feed on old mulch as well as dead tree roots. Dig out the old mulch in the affected area.

If you must kill the mushrooms, perhaps for pet safety, you can make a homemade fungicide.

Fungicide to Get Rid of Mushrooms

A simple recipe for a homemade fungicide to remove mushrooms from your lawn or garden is:

  • 5 Tablespoons of Vinegar
  • 1 Gallon of Water

Pour into a sprayer. Cut down mushrooms. Spray the area where they were growing. 

Why Mushrooms are Good for Your Lawn

  • Why not think of mushrooms in a new light? They are the fruits of the fungi world! They support the soil ecosystem and are the underground workhorses for soil health. 
  • Mushrooms help break down organic material in the lawn, helping turn clippings and leaves into nutrients and also aiding moisture retention.
  • And, in traditional folklore, mushrooms are the signs of fairies in folklore! You never know!

By the way, if you’re curious about growing edible, see our article on how to safely grow mushrooms at home.

About The Author

Robin Sweetser

Robin has been a contributor to The Old Farmer’s Almanac and the All-Seasons Garden Guide for many years. Read More from Robin Sweetser

2023 Gardening Club