Some of you may enjoy chowing down on a hamburger or a juicy steak covered with mushrooms. Some of us don’t. However, one thing is true. Most people don’t like to see them on their lawn.
Despite how you feel about mushrooms, the people who know about them indicate that they may not be bad for your lawn after all. Many experts call them a “truly unique organism.” They point out that mushrooms are ideal for recycling agricultural waste; tree stumps and other decomposing matter that turn up in your lawn.
For those of you who don’t know, mushrooms are the reproductive fruit of some kinds of fungi and are the result of fungi infestation of the soil of your lawn. They feed off a variety of decaying matter including old mulch, animal waste, and rotting tree stumps.
The fact that your lawn includes an abundance of the foods fungi like to consume pretty much ensures their presence. The more food there is in the lawn, the larger the mushroom will grow.
Although picking mushrooms from a lawn will prevent their spores from spreading mushrooms to other portions of your or your neighbors’ lawn, removing them in this manner does not eradicate the underground mycelia from which they grow.
The primary reason for removing mushrooms is to be certain that children and pets don’t pick and eat them and to enhance the appearance of the lawn. They are not harmful to the grass.
Understanding how they grow can help in actually getting rid of them.
The Life Cycle of a Mushroom
The life cycle begins when a mushroom releases spores that are caught up in the wind or settles on water or on animals and is transported to other locations.
Once the spores get into the ground and conditions are right, they germinate and release threads called hyphae that seek out compatible hyphae and they fuse together forming a network of threads called mycelium from which a mushroom ultimately grows.
While the fruiting body of the fungus or the mushroom may disappear in just a few days, the main portion of the fungus that is underground can remain for years and produce mushrooms when conditions are right. This would include after periods of prolonged wet weather or after a sudden change in weather like warm and sunny one day, then cold and rainy the next.
Once a mushroom takes form, it releases thousands of its own spores that may land in a suitable location where they can germinate and grow into a new mycelium, which ultimately creates a new mushroom.
(Next time: Killing and preventing mushrooms.)