Mushrooms in the Lawn

With due apologies to all our friends suffering through drought, we here in the east have so much moisture that interesting growths are sprouting up all over.  A few weeks back I had some large mushrooms posted for my “Wordless Wednesday” photo–they were almost as large as peony blooms I said at the time.  What I’ll show you today are more “Garden variety” mushroom that spout up due to an over-abundance of moisture–and tell you what NOT to do about them.

These are probably the most common type of mushroom you’ll see.  They come in flat head types like this, and button head types like the ones shown below.

They come in a variety of colors too, and the colors can change as the mushrooms age.

This is a mushroom that starts out reddish in color in my yard and then turns to brown as it gets older.

If you walk or mow over most of these, this is what the underside looks like.  But don’t go playing amateur mycologist.  Mushroom poisoning can be impossible to reverse.  It can shut down the liver and kidneys very quickly and I’m told it is very painful.  Hardly worth it when mushrooms are not that expensive in the grocery store.

Another thing not to do–if your pet gets into these, do not waste precious time bringing them to a garden center and asking them if they are poisonous.  Garden center staff are not trained in that sort of thing. Take the mushrooms and the pet to the vet.  Remember what I said about mushrooms poisoning shutting down the liver and the kidneys.

Finally don’t waste any time or money on products designed to kill fungi in the lawn.  They are not designed for mushrooms.  Even the big Ortho Answer Book will tell you that.  Mushrooms feed on decaying matter in the soil.  That’s why you’ll often see a ring of them (called a “fairy ring”) in the lawn where a tree used to be–they’re feeding on the remnants of that tree.

So mushrooms are actually a really good sign that your lawn is healthy because it has some decaying matter on it or in it–compost or grass clippings or some such matter.  In our case in the East right now, it’s just a case of too much moisture cause too much of a good thing.  Once nature gets back in balance, so will the mushrooms.  And since it’s autumn, you can set your mower blade a little lower and just mow them off if you don’t care for the look.  Personally, I like them.

2 thoughts on “Mushrooms in the Lawn

  1. Scott October 14, 2011 / 11:21 am

    I too have enjoyed the variety and colors of mushrooms popping up all over these rainy days in the east. Never know what I’m gonna find.

    • gardendaze October 14, 2011 / 11:38 am

      Scott,
      Aren’t they great? And after this next round of weather, there will be that much more variety for us to enjoy! Thanks for reading. Karla

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