There few things in the food world that are more loved/hated than the mushroom. People get very passionate about mushrooms: they either profess their undying love or spit their venomous hate for them. Mushrooms are a divisive issue much like politics or religion. As a subject, they should be avoided at family gatherings, weddings, parties, and public outings. Mushrooms are the fruiting bodies of a mycelium (fungus). But calling a mushroom a fungus is like calling an apple an apple tree. The mushroom, like the apple, is just an organism’s attempt at reproduction. There are five kingdoms of life: Animalia, Plantae, Monera, Protista and Fungus. Fungi belong to the kingdom Fungus. Duh.
A fungi is different from a plant in that it lacks chlorophyll because fungus don’t use the sun for energy. Fungus require a nutrient-dense substrate to grow in. This is why mushrooms are commonly found growing on dead logs, compost, and feces. Mushrooms occur on the surface when the mycelium have grown large enough and have saturated the substrate with mycelial strands. Mycelial strands are called hyphae, and they can grow up to a ½ mile per day collectively. Mycelium have many hyphae, which make them a good candidate for the largest living organism on earth. So how exactly do we get rid of mushrooms?
Best Ways to Get Rid of Mushrooms
Keep your lawn as dry as possible, trimmed, and free of litter like poop, leaves, and grass trimmings. Mushrooms like moisture where they grow. Moisture helps their hyphae break down the nutrients around them to be absorbed into the mycelium. So by reducing your watering to the bare minimum, you will discourage the fungi from sprouting fruit. Also, rake up leaves, fecal matter, and other detritus; this will decrease the amount of consumable nutrients in your lawn, thereby reducing the fungus’ ability to grow and reproduce.
Mushroom spores are everywhere all the time. I guarantee there is absolutely no way that you are going to get rid of all the mushroom spores that are in the soil or air. Spores are extremely small, and a mature mushroom releases thousands of them. They can lay dormant for years before swelling and becoming a mycelium and eventually more mushrooms. So don’t waste your time here.
Pick the mushrooms before they mature and release the spores. Mushrooms don’t release their spores until they are mature. So, if the gills aren’t exposed, you shouldn’t have to worry about them releasing more spores and adding to your problem. If you don’t feel like picking them, kick them or just mow them. It may even give you some sense of satisfaction. That is, unless you kick an inky cap mushroom with white shoes on. I ruined a baseball cap that way.
Eat at your own risk. If you are one of the chosen people who enjoy the divine diversity of flavor the fungal kingdom has to offer us, you are probably wondering if you have edible mushrooms growing in your lawn. Well, I would suggest buying some books and taking a class on mushroom identification before eating any of them. There are thousands of mushrooms in the world and many, many, many look almost identical, and lots of them are poisonous, so eat at your own risk.
Use lawn fungicide. There are some fungicides available to treat your lawn. The two most popular are Bayleton and Daconil. The active ingredient in Bayleton is triadimefon and is mildly toxic. The active ingredient in Daconil (which you can get at Amazon) is chlorothalonil, and it is a severe irritant. Bayleton is the better of these two fungicides, but it is also harder to come by and considerably more expensive. No matter which fungicide you go with, follow the included application instructions and safety precautions exactly.
Best Natural Mushroom Control Methods
Proper fertilization is one of your best tools in the fungus fight. Too much nitrogen will help the fungus and not your lawn. Also, you don’t want to fertilize too early in the season. That will give fungus the jump on grass. And if the ‘shrooms are blocking the sunlight, the grass won’t be growing.
Proper watering will also give more usable water to your grass and less to the fungus. Water in the early morning (never at night) and douse the grass so the water can penetrate to the deep roots. Don’t water more than you need to. Moisture is not your friend when you’re dealing with fungus.
Corn gluten meal is used by many people as a natural herbicide and fertilizer. Some people claim that it works as a fungicide, too. I just can’t find any real proof either way on this one. Try it if you want to…though I can’t guarantee its effectiveness. You can get a bag of Concern Weed Prevention Plus Corn Gluten Meal at Amazon.