Return to story
Eastern flat-topped agaricous is common in Virginia. It causes slight gastrointestinal discomfort if consumed.
LAST WEEK, an old
Mushrooms are truly unique organisms. They are not plants, as some think, but are the fruiting bodies of fungi. Unlike plants, they do not need sunlight to live. In fact, most businesses that raise mushrooms will tell you that they do much better in the dark. The fungi that make up the mushroom are actually associated with decomposers or organisms that breakdown dead plant tissue. Mushrooms like very damp, moist environments because they need lots of water to survive.
Mushrooms are actually beneficial organisms in the yard, because they break down decaying matter like old mulches, lawn thatch, and manures. However, the lowly mushroom is not attractive
First let's look at what not to do: Having the kids kick them mercilessly around the yard or using the lawn mower to grind them into oblivion are not good options. That's because even though the mushroom is just a fruiting body of the fungi, it has millions of tiny, microscopic spores, or seed like structures, within it. Having them scattered around the yard in any way will only spread the spores and thus give you a larger crop of mushrooms to contend with.
Spreading fungicides from the lawn and garden section of the hardware store will not kill them; remember, the mushroom is only the fruiting structure of the organism, so spraying it won't kill the fungi that are in the litter layer that is causing the mushroom.
So, without cutting or stomping or spraying, how do we get rid of them?
Individual removal with gloved hands is really the only way to remove them without spreading the spores around. Gently pull them up out of the ground or wherever they're growing and put them in a plastic garbage bag for
We have to assume, however, that there are still thousands or even millions of spores just waiting to come up in a short amount
The best way to tune our yards to discourage mushroom growth is to rid our yard of what causes them to grow. That means eliminating excess water, increasing sunlight, reducing the abundance of decaying organic matter, and introducing competition from healthy growing grass.
Damp yards can be fixed
Also, try to limit lawn irrigation. If you do irrigate, do it in the morning before the sun rises to eliminate excess moisture. Last but not least is to follow a good lawn fertilization plan to have healthy growing grass. Mushrooms cannot thrive with this healthy competition.
Mike Broaddus is a Virginia Cooperative Extension Agent in the Caroline and King George Office, specializing in agronomy. Reach him at 804/633-6550 (Caroline) or 540/775-3062 (King George); email firstname.lastname@example.org.