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The Mushroom Diaries - How to Keep Them at Bay

The smell in the air after the rain showers is refreshing, but once you step outside, your lawn has sprouted various mushrooms. They’ve appeared all over. By the tree, by your plants, even right in the middle of your lawn. You may be asking what causes these nuisances on your lawn...

The answer is the perfect mixture of moisture in the air, organic matter in your lawn and soil, and this wet weather we’re having at the moment. I'm afraid to say, all those things together make a mushroom paradise. 

So, what exactly are they?

Mushrooms are a fungus that lives in soil, and usually, they are a sign of a healthy lawn, despite how unsightly they may be. Mushrooms are essentially the growing bodies of fungi. In removing the bodies, this won't kill them, but it may stop the spores from spreading further. Mushrooms often feed off decaying matter such as old mulch, animal waste and rotting tree stumps, where you often see them growing in clusters. For the most part, these fungi live hidden in your lawn, breaking down organic matter. With the right conditions, this once-hidden world within your lawn can shoot through your grass like bamboo. This fungi is temporary and will go away over time, but you can speed this up by adjusting the conditions of your lawn. 

If you have mushrooms in your lawn, it may be worth having a look on the Woodland Trust website to identify the different types and learn a bit more about them.

Shade

Mushrooms like shade and will thrive in these conditions. Therefore, the simple answer is to reduce shade in your lawn, and this is often easier than it sounds. You may notice that you have mushrooms growing around your trees. You could cut back any overhanging branches to reduce the shade, and the same can be said for any large bushes or shrubs in your garden. This process would also open up and brighten your garden, allowing some well-needed sunlight to your lawn as well. Your whole garden would benefit from this. Most trees can be cut back by no more than 25% of the canopy at any one time without harming the plant. For further advice on pruning, please see the RHS website advice on pruning by clicking here

Compacted Soil

If your lawn holds a lot of water on the surface or stays damp for long periods of time, this may mean your soil is compacted. This compaction then promotes the growth of mushrooms due to that retained moisture. Aerating your lawn regularly will improve soil drainage to some degree, reducing the amount of surface moisture.

De-thatch your Lawn

If you have an excess of thatch in your lawn, this consists of a layer of organic matter that absorbs moisture from rainfall as well as from the soil surface. This thatch then provides the perfect conditions in which mushrooms can thrive. Regular scarification would keep the thatch layer to a minimum and reduce a big factor that contributes to mushroom growth. 

Final Advice

Mushrooms are actually very beneficial for your lawn, as they are a sign that your garden is in fact very healthy. If you do want to reduce the chances of mushrooms sprouting, then following the tips above will certainly help with this.

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