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What Causes Toadstools in Lawns?

8/9/2013

After a few days of rain and overcast skies, many of our Denver lawn service clients are asking, ” Why are we getting so many toadstools in the lawn?”

And how do we get rid of them. Even though toadstools are a fungus, fungicides are a waste of time. While a nuisance, they aren’t destructive to the lawn.

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If you’re bothered by the mushrooms, there is little you can do to prevent them. You can control them however. First let’s talk about how they emerge and when.

Toadstools or mushrooms emerge above the soil zone during especially wet seasons. According to North Dakota State University, above average rainfall can lead to the emergence of toadstools in lawns.

The simple fact is that they have been in your lawn all along. They have developed below the service, decomposing dead tree roots, stumps, and other organic debris. When a wetter spring occurs, they grow more quickly and “produce their fruiting structures.”

These are the toadstools you see.

In fact, they are beneficial contributors, recycling material to keep soil healthy, feed worms and allow proper water transfer in the root zone.

You can reduce the number and frequency of mushrooms by removing thatch and other organic matter to feed the fungus.

Proper lawn care and avoiding over-fertilization should reduce the presence of fungi and toadstools also.

If they are a blemish on your lawn or you’re concerned that children or animals might try to eat them, remove them with a rake.

Usually toadstools will grow randomly around the yard. A certain species, known as fairy ring mushrooms come up annually and form circles. Each year these rings will increase in size. You can tell them sometimes by the yellow or dead grass that they surround.

These can’t be eradicated except through radical grass replacement strategy. In other words, killing the mushrooms and the grass around it. The NDSU Estension site says: “The lawn must be well-fertilized using a nitrogen fertilizer. This should be done several times a year.

The lawn should then be heavily watered to a depth of ten to twenty-four inches. This will provide enough water and plant food for both the fairy ring mushrooms and the grass, allowing the grass to grow fairly well in spite of the fairy ring.”

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