why mushrooms are spreading in my lawn

Asked June 22, 2020, 2:01 PM EDT

for years I had a small patch of mushrooms that would grow near a declining mulberry tree. I try to scoop up the mushrooms as I walk around with the dogs. the tree has been removed and the mushrooms have spread from one side of the yard to the other. I have not added lime to the lawn for many years. how can I get rid of the mushroom population with out using toxic chemicals. I have no kids but do have dogs in the yard.

Howard County Maryland

1 Response

Mushrooms are akin to flowers for fungi - they are present to help the plant/fungus to reproduce. Removing mushrooms would be similar to picking flowers, where the plant itself is unharmed and can keep re-blooming. In this case, the bulk of the fungus itself is unseen underground, and can keep producing mushrooms as long as it is thriving. An established tree would have an extensive root system, and if what is left of it is still decaying (quite likely), the fungus, wherever present, can pop-up mushrooms when conditions are right - usually in wet weather. There is no way to eliminate them, though minimizing irrigation might help during dry weather. However, the lawn would stay healthier if it was irrigated in dry weather, so this is not the best solution.

Because the fungus is feeding on the dead wood itself, changing the soil pH with lime won't have any affect. Lawns do prefer limed soil in some cases, however, so you can have a soil test done if it's been at least three years since a prior test. This will tell you if lime, for the sake of lawn health, is recommended based on your current pH.

If the mushrooms are a safety concern for the dogs, then simply removing all that you see before they go out in the yard is the simplest and safest approach.