What Causes Mushrooms in Your Lawn? Are They Good or Bad?

Written By: Todd Thomasson

Sometimes you notice them and they are just small additions to your lawn. You ignore them. They seem to go away as fast as they came in.

Other times, maybe after a fall rain, you see them and they glare at you, as if they erupted overnight and are now just boldly staring you in the face.

We’re talking about mushrooms. They can pop up in your lawn or show up around the base of trees, and you wonder where they came from and how they just seemed to appear in an instant. When all you want is a thick green lawn that boasts great health and offers heightened curb appeal, mushrooms can seem like an interruption. LIke other spots, blemishes, imperfections, and blotches, you could be wondering why mushrooms are now wreaking havoc on your lawn when it was just looking A-OK.

While mushrooms might be alarming to you at first, we should talk about the many reasons why mushrooms grow in lawns and whether this might be a positive or negative thing in your Northern Virginia grass.

More About Mushrooms in Your Lawn

Have you woken up one morning and stepped outside to notice mushrooms have suddenly appeared in your Northern Virginia lawn?

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It’s not uncommon for homeowners to freak out when they see mushrooms. Let’s learn a bit more about what causes mushrooms in a lawn to ease your concerns.

What Are Mushrooms?

The first question you might be asking yourself is, “What are these mushrooms in your lawn?”

Mushrooms are technically fungi. And in every lawn, fungi exist.

mushrooms in grass

Most fungi is not apparent to your eye, but it does exist in small threads that make up what’s known as mycelium. These feed on dead organic matter like those found in fallen tree leaves, old grass clippings, and dead grass roots. This process provides the soil with nutrients that help your grass grow.

Even though you can’t physically see a lot of the fungi in your lawn, some of them can produce mushrooms. These mushrooms are actually the reproductive structures of the fungi.

Why Do Mushrooms Grow in Lawns?

When looking at why mushrooms grow in lawns, there are quite a few reasons you might be seeing them in your Northern Virginia grass.

First, mushrooms like cool, damp, shady conditions. If you have a lawn area covered by shade, and the weather has been cool and rainy, you might see some mushrooms appear.

mushrooms in grass closeup

Another reason you might see mushrooms is if you have excessive thatch build-up in your lawn or decaying buildup in an area. As mushrooms feed on decaying organic matter in your thatch layer, they grow.

If your lawn has any drainage problems, you may also have moisture that sits on its surface. This can cause mushrooms as well.

Maybe you have just laid some new sod in your yard. This can also stimulate new mushroom development.

Are Mushrooms in a Lawn Good or Bad?

Mushrooms in your lawn come in all different shapes and sizes – not just the classic mushroom shape you’re used to seeing.

Under each mushroom cap, you’ll find gills, which are the spores that move through the air and germinate once conditions are favorable for their growth.

When it comes to the question, “Are mushrooms in a lawn good or bad?” the answer actually depends on the situation.

fairy ring fungal disease in grass

Most of the time, mushrooms in your lawn are positive signs of a nutrient-rich soil. This is actually the case most of the time. Mushrooms won’t grow in soil that doesn’t have nutrients, so a mushroom appearance is actually telling you that you have fertile soil.

Other times, however, they can be a bad sign. For instance, if you find mushrooms growing in a circle in the grass, this could be a fungal infection known as fairy rings.

How to Remove Mushrooms in Your Lawn

While mushrooms, in most cases, won’t harm your Northern Virginia grass, they can be an eyesore.

They can also make your pets or children ill if they stumble upon and ingest the wrong ones.

Though mushrooms only hang around for a few days, disappearing when conditions dry a bit, removing them could help prevent any accidental eating by your pets.

customer and lawn care technician inspect grass

Because mushrooms are just the fruiting bodies of fungi, picking them out of your lawn won’t kill the underground mycelium that they grow from, but it will reduce the chances of them spreading their spores to new areas.

To remove mushrooms you can usually pick them or mow them. Wear gloves if you pick them. A few mushrooms in your lawn is common, but if mushrooms have completely taken over, you might consider replacing your lawn. During the process of replacing grass, you might find excessive decaying organic matter that is contributing to extensive mushroom growth. Taking care of your soil can help improve it and limit mushrooms.

How to Prevent Mushrooms in Your Lawn

While you may not be able to completely prevent mushrooms in your lawn, you can do some things to limit their occurrence.

Aerate, overseed and topdress your lawn. Aeration is the process of using a machine called an aerator to pull 2-inch soil plugs from your grass. Overseeding adds grass seed at the right time for optimum seed to soil contact and germination. And topdressing improves

lawn care technician aerates grass

This reduces thatch, thereby reducing the amount of organic material fungi feeds on. It also gets more water into the soil so it doesn’t sit on the surface. This treatment is also great for improving the health and vigor of your lawn, allowing air and nutrients to more easily pass through. On top of that, you reduce the chance for other fungal diseases in your grass, such as red thread or brown patch.

Next, make sure to rake or blow leaves off the grass in fall or mulch them with a mulching mower.

You can also try to reduce shaded areas to limit mushrooms by pruning surrounding trees to let more sunlight in and improve airflow.

Control Mushrooms in Your Lawn in Northern Virginia

When mushrooms pop up in your lawn, don’t panic. They won’t harm your lawn.

But it can still get annoying seeing these obnoxious shapes and fungi growing in your grass.

If you get frustrated or have an especially challenging mushroom problem in your yard, give Turf’s Up a call. We can help determine what your problem is and help improve your soil and your grass to give your property a better look overall and keep mushrooms to a minimum.

This can eliminate your worries, polish up your turf and boost your curb appeal – all winning scenarios for your Northern Virginia lawn.

Ready to learn why Turf’s Up could be your totally awesome choice for lawn care services in Northern Virginia? We’re stoked to learn more about you and help you have the best lawn on the block. Get started today with a free quote. Together, we can prepare a customized plan that is perfect for you and your yard.

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Image Source: mushrooms in grass, mushrooms in grass closeup, fairy ring