Mushrooms often look like small umbrellas, which might be one reason they capture people’s eyes and give themselves to stories of dancing fairies and toad residences. In addition they can grow straight out of the side of a dead tree, much like a miniature staircase. Actually, they make up the fruiting body of a fungus whose fine filamentous bodies are running all through the ground or log where mushrooms are found.
Tip of the Iceberg
Mushrooms can be tiny — about the size of this nail on your pinky finger — or rather big — the puffball can hit two feet in diameter. These fruiting bodies of fungus, however, are not nearly as big as the rest of the fungus which lies under the soil. While the body of the fungus is very thin, it’s also very long and branched, developing a giant network of fungus through many cubic feet of your lawn or garden.
What Fungi Eat
Because mushrooms don’t need sunlight, they could grow almost anywhere as long as there is dead organic matter to encourage them. Fungi are one of the chief forces which break down dead trees and absorb dead leaves, which makes them one of the main decomposers on the planet. They show up in your lawn because there is dead organic matter in your soil, which indicates that your soil is healthy. Your lawn needs some organic matter to keep the soil aerated and also to supply nutrients to your lawn to reside on.
The one thing which mushrooms need besides dead organic matter is water. That’s why they often appear a day or 2 after a fantastic rain. 1 approach to reduce the number of mushrooms on your lawn would be to quit watering as often. Naturally, you can’t stop the rain and you can’t stop watering when you have laid out fresh seed or installed fresh sod. You can be certain that you remove excessive nutrients, like any wood chip mulching you spill on the yard. And be sure to pick up divisions which drop above the winter.
Be careful of any mushrooms which grow in the yard, when you’ve got young kids or dogs. Since many lawn mushrooms are edible, some very common ones — especially lawn-mower’s mushroom (Panaeolus foenisecii) and green-spored lepiota (Chlorophyllum molybdites) — could be lethal. The easiest way to safely control these fungi is to look at your lawn often and pluck any mushrooms you find. Eliminate this questionable mushrooms where nothing else will eat them. Be particularly cautious if the mushrooms are growing in rings, often around an old stump.