PPDL Picture of the Week for
July 18, 2016
Mushrooms in Lawns
Gail Ruhl, Sr. Plant Disease Diagnostician, Dept. of Botany & Plant
Pathology, Purdue University
Mushrooms can suddenly pop up in lawns throughout the summer, often appearing
overnight. Typically, most of the mushrooms are more annoying than problematic
however some are toxic if eaten by animals and children.
While mushrooms are the part of the fungus we see, they are just a way to
produce spores for the main part of the fungus which remains hidden in the soil.
Although removing the mushroom may improve the appearance of the lawn, and
temporarily keep the mushrooms away from animals and children, the fungus living
in the soil will produce more mushrooms when conditions are
Identifying and removing the source of food for fungal growth will
help eliminate the mushrooms.
Mushroom producing fungi feed on organic matter in the soil, which could be
anything from thatch between the soil and green grass, decaying tree roots, or
lumber left over and buried in the lawn during home construction. In many cases,
once the organic matter has been decayed, the mushrooms will disappear, while
others may come back year after year in the same location.
Mushrooms can easily be raked or kicked over, gathered and discarded in the
trash or buried in the compost pile.
If excessive (more than ½") thatch is present it is important to determine
why the thatch accumulation is present and dethatch as described in the
following publication: https://www.extension.purdue.edu/extmedia/AY/AY-8-W.pdf.