Many enjoy Mushrooms in pizza, pasta, and other dishes but aren’t as popular if you’re yearning to win “Yard of the Month” in your subdivision or make your neighbors green with envy over your pristine lawn.
In addition to being a blemish on your lawn, many people are concerned about children and pets ingesting potentially poisonous fungi.
Remove mushrooms from your yard in a few easy steps. First, dispose of the mushrooms and puncture the mycelium. Next, apply vinegar or baking soda to the affected area to kill the colony. Last, change lawn conditions and add preventative products to your lawn care routine to keep mushrooms from reappearing.
Similar to an iceberg, the majority of the fungi system connects under the surface and can have the biggest impact.
We’ll walk you through the anatomy and purpose of mushrooms in the environment and teach you how to remove mushrooms and prevent them from reappearing in your yard.
Table of Contents
Why Do Mushrooms Grow?
Before we dive into eliminating mushrooms, you need to understand the anatomy and purpose mushrooms serve in the ecosystem.
Although they may be an eyesore, mushrooms reveal you have a healthy lawn and garden.
Mushrooms feed on decaying organic matter such as leaves, tree stumps, and animal waste and then reuse this material to infuse nutrients back into the soil.
It’s equally as important to understand how mushrooms and other fungi spread.
Mushrooms release spores which travel through water, air, and even hitchhike on nearby animals to develop new colonies.
After the spores land at their new destination and penetrate the soil, the germination process begins, and root systems called mycelium form.
The mycelium is an underground network of threads, and this network is the building block for mushrooms and other fungi.
Also referred to as a fungal mat, the mycelium is a fibrous substance typically white in appearance.
How To Remove Existing Mushrooms From Your Lawn
Step One: Pull Mushrooms From the Soil
While it may be faster to use a rake, lawnmower, or weed eater to remove the visible mushrooms, you increase the likelihood of spores spreading and germinating in a new location.
To avoid creating new mushroom colonies, we recommend pulling them at the base by hand and disposing them in a sealed plastic bag.
If you use lawn tools such as a rake or shears, make sure to wipe off the equipment’s surfaces after removing the mushrooms.
The spores can attach to your tools and spread to new areas during their next use.
Pro tip: Remove mushrooms as soon as they appear in your yard!
By removing the mushroom quickly, you deny the spores an opportunity to spread and germinate.
Step Two: Penetrate the Mycelium
As previously mentioned, the larger fungi system connects underneath the soil, so if you want to thoroughly eliminate the surface mushrooms, you must also kill the mycelium.
Use a shovel, shears, or a screwdriver to poke holes in the soil around the mushroom and puncture the mycelium.
After you’ve disposed of the mushrooms and drilled them into the mycelium, you need to apply a solution to the affected area.
There are both organic household products and harsher chemical options that have proven to wipe out mushrooms and keep your lawn free of mushroom caps and fairy rings.
Step Three: Apply Vinegar or Baking Soda to the Affected Area
Lawncare experts and gardeners recommend these common kitchen items to kill lawn mushrooms without harming surrounding grass and vegetation.
How To Get Rid Of Mushrooms With Vinegar
Similar to mushrooms, vinegar is also well known in the kitchen as well as the garden.
You may have seen vinegar recommended for other lawncare and gardening woes, such as eliminating pesky weeds and vines.
The acetic acid in vinegar allows it to act as a natural fungicide and herbicide.
Access the severity of your mushroom problem and the surrounding area before you grab your household vinegar, as these products may not kill mushrooms and other fungi completely.
Common household vinegar such as white vinegar, white wine vinegar, and apple cider vinegar typically contains 5% acetic acid and 95% water.
If you’re concerned about harming surrounding plants, insects, and animals, Apple Cider Vinegar or White Vinegar are excellent options to check out before moving to a stronger solution.
These products are non-toxic, and you likely already have them in your pantry.
Safety First: Don’t forget about safety gloves and glasses!
The acidic solution can land in your eyes on a breezy day and may cause skin irritation.
- Step One: Combine 4 parts water and 1 part vinegar and add the solution to a spray bottle or similar receptacle.
- Step Two: Spray the affected area. Keep the nozzle or spray head about 6″ inches from the fungi and generously spray until you’ve covered the area.
- Step Three: Let the solution penetrate for 2-3 days and monitor the area. Take note of the mushroom decay as well as the surrounding grass and plants. If the desirable vegetation is undamaged and the mushrooms have died, proceed spraying the solution. Use a stronger solution if the mushrooms and fungi are unaffected after 3 days.
For more resilient mushrooms and fungi, you’ll want to use a cleaning or horticultural vinegar with a higher percentage of acetic acid. Industrial strength vinegar ranges from 30-75%, and there are many options at your local lawn care store or on Amazon.
As we mentioned earlier, access your situation to determine the best solution when choosing the strength of the concentrate.
There are many options for higher-grade vinegar, but our favorite is the Natural Armor 30% Vinegar.
It’s not too acidic, but it’s much stronger than most you’ll already have in your home.
How To Get Rid Of Mushrooms In The Lawn With Baking Soda
Another common household item proven to thwart lawn mushrooms is baking soda.
When you add the baking soda solution to the soil, it raises the soil’s pH level, making it alkaline.
The baking soda solution works similarly to the vinegar solution by altering the pH levels of the soil.
The vinegar makes the soil more acidic, whereas the baking soda makes the soil more basic or alkaline.
Suppose you’re looking for an alternative to harsh chemical products or commercial grade vinegar.
In this case, baking soda is simple-to-use, a non-toxic option you likely already have in your home.
This solution may be the best alternative for you if you’re concerned about harming surrounding vegetation.
- Step One: Combine 2 tablespoons of baking soda and 1 gallon of water in a bucket and transfer the mixture into a garden pump sprayer or another spray bottle. Make sure the baking soda has completely dissolved into the water before you transfer the solution!
- Step Two: Thoroughly spray the affected area and make sure the solution reaches the punctures in the soil. This will ensure the mixture reaches the mycelium, thus increasing the likelihood the mushroom colony is eliminated.
- Step Three: Let the solution penetrate for 3-4 days and monitor the area. Repeat the process or use a stronger solution if mushrooms reappear.
Are you feeling lazy?
Simply sprinkle baking soda directly from the container onto the soil and then pour water over the area.
While not as thorough as the steps above, this quick and easy method has produced results for some gardeners.
Tips For Preventing New Mushrooms Before They Appear
Remove Mushrooms’ Natural Habitat and Food Source
Mushrooms thrive in environments with ample water, shade, and lots of organic matter and decaying material.
These conditions create the ideal habitat for mushrooms, a damp soil surface with lots of food for mushrooms.
As with most issues in nature, it’s better to act proactively rather than fix the problem later.
The key to preventing mushroom growth is reducing moisture and taking away the food source – animal waste, dead leaves, rotting tree stumps, etc.
See below for a list of tips to prevent mushrooms naturally before they appear:
- Trim trees and bushes to allow more sunlight to reach the area.
- Regularly mow your lawn and remove excess thatch.
- Clear the yard of grass clippings, pet waste, and other debris using a rake or leaf blower.
- Aerate your lawn as needed to facilitate proper drainage and reduce damp conditions.
- Don’t over-water your lawn!
If your yard is prone to mushrooms and naturally altering your lawn isn’t solving the problem, consider using a nitrogen-based fertilizer or fungicide.
However, make sure you rotate between solutions and products, as fungi can evolve and develop a resistance to fungicides, herbicides, and other solutions, similar to how viruses and infections can develop a resistance to antibiotics in humans.
Apply a Nitrogen Based Fertilizer to Your Lawn
In addition to altering the natural lawn and soil conditions, we recommend using a nitrogen-based fertilizer to eradicate yard mushrooms.
When you use a nitrogen-rich fertilizer, the organic matter in your lawn will decay faster, taking away the mushroom’s food supply and hence starving off mushroom clusters.
Nitrogen also boosts chlorophyll production, which leads to a lush, green lawn.
There are many types of nitrogen-rich fertilizers available, including granular and liquid products and synthetic and organic products.
Liquid vs. Granular Fertilizers:
Liquid fertilizers typically have quicker results but need to be applied more frequently, whereas granular products produce results over a longer period but require fewer follow-up applications.
Make sure you know how long to wait after fertilizing before watering your grass by checking our article here.
Synthetic vs. Organic Fertilizers
Synthetic fertilizers feed the plant rather than the soil and typically come in a water-soluble form.
They’re manufactured to absorb into the plant, provide rapid results, and are better suited for a quick fix than a long-term solution.
Be careful when using synthetic fertilizers, as the harsh concentration can run off into nearby waterways and burn your lawn if over-applied.
Organic fertilizers focus on feeding the soil rather than the plant by enriching the soil with microorganisms and other nutrients.
These products work over time to slowly deliver nutrients into the soil and vegetation.
In addition, organic fertilizers require less upkeep and last longer.
However, some lawn care experts warn against using a slow-release formula if your lawn is prone to mushrooms.
We like the Simple Lawn Solutions 28-0-0 Liquid Lawn Food: High Nitrogen Formula because it’s a fast-acting liquid formula suitable for all grass types and connects to your garden hose for simple application.
When picking a fertilizer, one of the most important factors is determining which products are most suitable for your grass type, lawn size, and surrounding environment.
Ensure your grass type is suitable and carefully follow the instructions when picking and using a nitrogen-rich fertilizer.
Use a Fungicide to Keep Fungi and Lawn Diseases at Bay
There are many different fungicide products, and it may be a bit daunting to determine which product to buy.
We’ve explained and simplified some critical differences to help you understand how these products fight fungi.
Fungicides are broken into two categories, preventative and curative fungicides.
Additionally, there are two methods of action fungicides used to prevent or cure lawn fungi, systemic and contact fungicides.
Preventative vs. Curative Fungicides:
Preventative fungicides are used as a part of regular lawn maintenance to deter the appearance of fungi and other diseases in your lawn.
Curative fungicides are used to treat existing fungi problems.
Systemic vs. Contact Fungicides:
Contact fungicides create a protective barrier to cover the vegetation, whereas systemic fungicides work by penetrating and moving through the vegetation.
When choosing a fungicide, it’s best to identify the fungi in your lawn to determine the appropriate product and method of treatment.
Most fungicides treat lawn diseases, not mushrooms, such as Brown Patch, Leaf Spot, Powdery Mildew, and other common afflictions.
These diseases don’t typically result in visible mushrooms.
Rather, they harm or discolor the grass or other vegetation.
As a reminder, mushrooms are a sign of healthy, nutrient-rich soil!
Common Lawn Mushrooms And Poisonous Mushrooms
The most frequently appearing lawn mushrooms include Puffballs, Stinkhorns, and Bird’s Nest Fungi.
Some of the names may sound cool, but they can spread rapidly and steal the spotlight from your lush green lawn and garden.
According to the Cleveland Clinic, only 3% of mushrooms are poisonous.
If you’re worried about children and pets ingesting poisonous mushrooms, we recommend eliminating the fungi from your yard and other areas of concern.
One of the most dangerous wild mushrooms is the white Amanita Phalloides, often referred to as “Death Cap” mushrooms.
These toxic mushrooms are often mistaken as edible mushrooms by foragers.
If you’re concerned about mushroom poisoning, head to this article from the Cleveland Clinic to find more info about signs and symptoms.
Warning: Unpopular opinion!
If you’ve tried all the steps mentioned above, including thorough preventative maintenance, consider allowing mushrooms to grow on your lawn.
Most mushroom species are harmless to humans and provide nutrients back into the soil.