GardenLine Profiles

GardenLine Profiles

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Mushroom invasion after all the rain? What should you do?

Following all our recent rain, you may be seeing a lot of mushrooms in your yard. Well, don’t panic! Instead, just take a moment to pat yourself on the back.

Mushrooms are a sign of high levels of organic matter in the soil, and most organic matter is good! But an excess of those beneficial microbes can sometimes result in phenomena like fairy rings … mushrooms in a circular or semi-circular pattern. (ABOVE LEFT) In northern states, fairy rings can just appear as a deeper green circle of grass. (ABOVE RIGHT)

In our area, we are also seeing temporary bursts of almost flower-like mushrooms in beds of mulch and rose soil. (BELOW) Up close, these sprouts make for beautiful, artistic photographs. But they, too, are just indicating there’s a lot of organic matter in the soil with nothing better to do. Usually, flower-like mushrooms last for less than 48 hours, so I suggest leaving them completely alone.

When it comes to big mushrooms or fairy rings in our part of Texas, you have three options. Choose just one!

  1. Leave them alone
  2. Pluck out every one of them and dust the area with agricultural sulfur, often considered an organic fungicide treatment.
  3. Pluck out all you can and drench the area with a fungicide like Consan. But frankly, it doesn’t really matter what brand of fungicide you use.

Some people say mushrooms indicate a need to top-dress with even more organic material, like compost. I say if you have a lot of fairy rings, just leave well enough alone and skip the compost.

But let me ask, when was the last time you fertilized? Fairy rings often appear in lawns that have lots of organic matter but have not received consistent fertilization. If your lawn falls into that category, get out there and get a lawn fertilization going right away per my schedule. And guess what? We are due right now for the summer application!

And what if you just mow fairy rings into the turf? Well, you’ll just grow more mushrooms because you’ll be exploding their spores back into the soil.

So, the control method … or whether you even bother with one at all … is completely up to you.


PHOTOS: Getty Images, Famartin (CC), Randy Lemmon

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