Problem Puffball Fungus

Asked May 24, 2018, 8:10 AM EDT

Several years ago I noticed Puffball Fungus in my mulched area and while raking leaves in the fall, a brown cloud filled the air from these growths. That night I became very sick. Lost time from work the next day. I have tried to avoid these growths since, but they are spreading and I find them in surprising places and have gotten sick more than once and so has my husband. They are taking over my side yard. I have been told by a horticulturalist here at work (formerly The John Henry Company) that these above ground puffs are the flowers of the main plant which is underground. Roundup won't kill this because it's system isn't the same as a normal plant. How can we rid ourselves of this problem in our yard? Pictures attached. We live in Haslett, MI

Ingham County Michigan

1 Response


Sorry to hear about your allergic reaction. Mushroom Fungi have spores that have a range of 2-17 microns. Puffballs have spores of about 5 microns. Wearing a mask that is used when working around mold may reduce your exposure when working in these garden beds. The National Institute for Occupational safety and health ( NIOSH )website has information on different masks available. Their precautions for working around molds may help you, too. This is just my idea as a gardener so, please check with your physician on this idea before trying it.


If these puffballs are growing on dead roots or stumps in the garden bed, having this dead material removed will help reduce the puffballs. There are many fungi that will grow on organic mulch, and keeping it dry in between watering the plants in the bed will help reduce fungi and mold growth. You can rake the mulch, turning and mixing it, to help it dry out. Discard any mushrooms. Re-direct your sprinkler heads if they are getting the mulch wet. If sprinklers are being used to water the beds, be sure to water early mornings so the mulch has all day to dry out. When watering, put down enough water to last several days so you don’t water every day.(this is better for the plants, too) Alternatively, you could use soaker hoses or drip irrigation under the mulch. Keep mulch 2 inches deep and pulled back from the stems of plants. Use bark chips as mulch, they grow fungi less often. Unfortunately there is no chemical to control mushroom growth.

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