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So, you wake up one morning and find a bunch of mushrooms popping out at you from in between your flowering plants and growing on the lawn. Now, if you’re like me, you would probably be wonderstruck at these weird, yet strangely beautiful things that have suddenly appeared out of seemingly nowhere. Or, like a lot of other people, you may be disgusted, even worried at the sight of them.
Either way, you’d obviously want to know why they are even growing in your garden, and what you should do with them. Should you let them be, or should you remove them? Are they harmful to your garden? Let’s answer all these questions in this short read.
Where did they come from?
Let’s start with answering where the mushrooms came from. The soil in your garden already has fungi of various types under the soil which remain unnoticed. These mushrooms are just fruiting bodies of these fungi above the ground. And the fruiting body of fungi only grows out of the ground during certain weather conditions.
You will only see that mushrooms are growing in your garden after a bout of wet and humid weather, or if the garden is well irrigated. The excessive moisture in the soil makes it ideal for fungi to set up colonies in decaying organic material like decaying tree roots, tree stumps, bark mulch, and dead leaves.
How do mushrooms grow?
Mushroom spores spread through the air, and when the weather conditions are right, they germinate. The ideal conditions for mushroom growth include moist, well-irrigated soil, lots of organic decaying matter, such as mulch, plant roots, dead leaves, tree stumps, etc. as well as plenty of shade.
Once the spores land, they send out mycelia, which are long, thin filaments that go on to form visible masses. These mycelia start taking in nutrients from the decaying organic matter around them, breaking them down in the process.
Are mushrooms bad for your garden?
While mushrooms may seem like an eyesore, the truth is that they are far from being harmful to your garden in any way. On the other hand, the presence of mushrooms is visible proof that you have a healthy lawn and that the soil is healthy in your garden.
By helping organic matter decompose, mushrooms help the soil become nutrient rich. In fact, one type of fungi called mycorrhizae has a very symbiotic relationship with plant roots. These fungi help plants absorb water and nutrients via their root systems, and in return, get sugars and amino acids from the roots.
Mycorrhizae often produce visible mushrooms around many trees and plants. In fact, some species of oaks and pines, among others, would not be able to grow at all without the presence of these fungi.
Shouldn’t I remove mushrooms from my garden?
As we mentioned earlier, the fact that you have mushrooms growing in your lawn or garden is a sign that the soil is fertile and healthy. And even if you find them unsightly, rest assured that they aren’t a permanent fixture.
Mushrooms tend to disappear automatically as the weather dries up. And anyway, even if you could pull out the fruiting bodies from the surface, there is not much you could do about the fungi thriving underneath the surface of the soil.
Fairy rings, however, can often grow into overwhelming colonies, cutting off sunlight to the grass below them and killing the lawn by not allowing water to permeate it. The solution for this is to improve drainage by aerating the soil.
Remove the fungal mat by using a lawn aerator if it is less than three inches deep. If the amt is thicker, you may need an auger or a shovel to do the trick. Be very careful while removing the mat, because even a small piece of the fungus can cause it to grow again.
Mushrooms have been associated with fables and stories since time immemorial. All of us are aware of the fable that mushrooms are grown when fairies dance.
Mushrooms are seasonal, and considering the amount of good they do to the soil, we’d suggest you let them be. However, if you do find them unbearable and distasteful, a lawn mower ought to help you remove them from the surface at least, if not from the soil.