Amanda Owen asks foraging expert about 'safe' mushrooms
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Mushrooms can be frustrating for green-fingered gardeners who pride themselves on a lovely looking lawn. Mushrooms and fungi can look unsightly and quickly make the garden look like a wild woodland. But the issue of mushrooms growing in the lawn can be easily fixed once you know how to do it.
What causes mushrooms to grow in gardens?
The first thing to understand when tackling mushrooms and fungi in the garden is what causes them to be there.
Lawn mushrooms are a fungus, and this fungus has the job of helping breakdown decaying organic material.
Unfortunately, in the average back garden there’s plenty of sources of decaying organic material.
Animal waster, old mulch and glass clippings from a fresh mow can feed and spur mushrooms to grow.
The next thing to look at is why mushrooms are growing in YOUR garden.
Examine the state of your lawn, as mushrooms in the garden enjoy damp, shaded and organic waste rich environments.
It could be possible that you have a drainage problem which contributes to the lawn mushroom problem.
Alternatively, do you have organic waste that should be removed? Or are there areas of your garden that are particularly shaded?
How to get rid of mushrooms in the garden
To eliminate mushrooms in the garden, you need to correct the problems you have.
If the lawn is too wet, there are steps you can take to reduce the moisture, with the most common being amending clay soil to make it less dense, damp and heavy.
Raking your grass clippings, de-thatching your lawn or replacing old mulch will help to reduce the decaying organic material that encourages mushroom growing in gardens.
If your garden is too shaded, see if you can prudently trim surrounding trees to enable more sunlight in.
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Fungicide is another solution, which can be bought in any good garden store.
However, be warned that if you don’t address the root of the problems that cause mushrooms to grow in your lawn, chances are they’ll be back.
One of the easiest ways to get rid of them is simply to pick them by hand, ensuring you remove the entire mushroom by the root – and that you’re wearing gardening gloves.
Alternatively, vinegar’s active ingredient called acetic acid does an amazing job of killing garden mushrooms.
Just mix one part white vinegar with four parts water in a spray bottle and disperse over the mushrooms – ensuring not to spray any surrounding plants as they’ll likely die from the vinegar.
The benefit of mushrooms on grass
While there’s no doubt mushrooms on the lawn look unsightly, they actually provide numerous benefits to the grass.
Mushrooms are the fruiting part of mycelium, which is actually feeding off the organic material found in your soil.
This can be buried under scraps of wood, dead tree roots or any other decomposing organic material, which is then used for fungi to produce their own food.
The mushroom’s extensive root system helps the soil retain water, while lawn mushrooms also help to break down organic materials that, in turn, add nutrients to the lawn.
As the fungi feeds on this organic material, they also help to break up and hasten the decomposition process – so if you’ve got mushrooms going, take it as a sign your soil is happy.
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