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Why Do Mushrooms Grow in My Yard? The Surprising Reason Why

Have you ever wondered, “Why do mushrooms grow in my yard?” A little precipitation can be all that’s needed to wash away pollen, refresh wilting flowers, and jump-start the growing season. However, it’s common to step outside after a rainstorm and wonder, “Why are mushrooms growing in my yard?”

Don’t be alarmed by these unexpected visitors! Mushrooms are generally pretty harmless and tend to disappear as quickly as they came.

But why do mushrooms grow in your yard? Good news: mushrooms are a great indicator of healthy soil! Mushrooms are part of the fungi that feed off of decomposing matter underneath your lawn. This underground fungus will send up visible mushrooms in damp, dark conditions.

If you’re curious about how to get rid of these surprise additions to your landscaping, we’ve got you covered. Read on to learn why mushrooms grow in your yard and what to do when they appear.

why do mushrooms grow in my yard

An Underground Network

Although mushrooms appear and disappear sporadically, the underground portion of the fungus is always at work. Fungi are present in the soil when there is actively decomposing organic matter. Things like rotted tree stumps, bark, or even a thatch of grass can provide mushroom food.

As long as there is food for the fungus to consume, it will continue to work and reproduce.

When conditions are just right, the fungus will fruit. The mushrooms you see above ground are the fruiting bodies of the fungus. Think of mushrooms like the apples on an apple tree. That’s why mushrooms grow in your yard: they exist to spread spores and reproduce.

Just like apple trees don’t grow apples year round, mushrooms aren’t always present on the fungus.

Because mushrooms are the fruit, they won’t remain above ground for long. If you don’t mind their appearance, they’ll disappear independently. Some will be gone within hours. Other varieties will be visible for up to a few weeks.

If you want to remove the mushrooms in your yard, it’s fairly easy to do. Simply cut them at the base. Mushroom bodies are so soft that you can even pick them by hand.

However, removing the visible mushrooms won’t prevent them from reappearing after another rainy day. The fungus underground will remain active if it can feed off of decaying matter.

Just like cleaning up dropped fruit from an apple tree, you’ll need to remove mushrooms when they appear periodically.

Healthy Soil

Ripe mushroom in green grass vintage toned photo. Summer forest scene. White edible mushroom macrophoto. Green leaf and white mushrooms. Natural mushroom growing. Ecotourism activity. Pick up mushroom

Surprisingly, mushrooms are an indication of healthy soil. Knowing why mushrooms grow in your yard after all might be a relief. They are evidence of active decomposition and rejuvenation underground.

Soil quality aside, you still might not enjoy clearing the puffballs off your lawn after every rainstorm. In that case, there’s no harm in speeding up the decomposition process.

Treat mushroom-prone areas of the lawn with a high-nitrogen fertilizer. The extra nitrogen will help the underground organic matter break down faster. Once there is nothing left to feed on, the fungus will disappear.

This approach is best for lawn mushrooms that appear in specific areas. For example, if you recently cut down a tree, rotting underground roots might be feeding mushroom clusters.

In that case, it’s easy to see why mushrooms grow in your yard! They have plenty of decomposing matter to consume. Adding nitrogen to the soil is much easier and healthier for your lawn than removing roots by hand.

If you’re wondering why mushrooms grow all over your yard, we have answers for you, too. Read on to find out how to deal with mushrooms that appear throughout your lawn.

Dark, Damp Conditions

mushrooms grow after the rain

For the fungus to produce fruit, they need plenty of moisture and a little shade. That’s why mushrooms grow around down spouts or in low, shady areas in your yard. It’s probably not the only part of your lawn with an active underground fungus network.

However, it might be the only part of your lawn with consistently moist, dark conditions for mushrooms to appear.

One way to prevent mushrooms from appearing is to reduce moisture. This could mean improving the drainage in your lawn. You might consider leveling out the area if you frequently see mushrooms in a low-laying portion of your yard.

Large puddles and areas of standing water can also lead to mosquitos and other nuisances.

If you mostly see mushroom clusters in shady areas, try to increase the amount of light. Prune and trim overgrown bushes to allow more sunlight. If necessary, thin out plants to allow more air circulation and sunshine in your yard.

Sometimes, mushrooms don’t appear localized to any specific area. If you’re wondering, “Why do mushrooms grow all over my yard?” the answer is likely overwatering. Choose a timed sprinkler system that can be adjusted after rainy weather. Or, reduce the water you use for your lawn and garden.

Improving dark and damp conditions in your yard won’t destroy the underground fungus. Instead, it simply makes it less likely that the fungus will fruit. This is the easiest way to prevent visible puffballs without changing your healthy soil composition.

Frequently Asked Questions

wild mushrooms closeup on the park lawn in spring

Why do mushrooms grow in my yard in a circle formation?

It can seem almost magical when mushrooms suddenly appear in a large ring. These circles of mushrooms are often called “fairy circles” or “fairy rings.” Folklore contains many examples of these circles as a place where elves and pixies come to play.

Mythology aside, there is a scientific explanation for why mushrooms grow in your yard in this pattern.

The underground fungus network starts as a single point and then radiates outward. As the decaying underground matter is consumed, the fungus dies off and new fungi reproduce around the circumference.

When conditions are right for mushrooms to appear above ground, this cycle may have repeated many times!

This means the fruiting bodies are coming from the active parts of the fungus, which will be the perimeter. Small, tight rings of mushrooms indicate a newer underground fungus network. Large fairy rings suggest that the fungus has been active much longer.

You’re especially likely to find these fairy circles on flat, grassy areas. This is why mushrooms grow in your yard in a circular pattern.

Otherwise, flat and pristine lawns are prime areas for fairy circles. Without obstructions from trees or rocks, the underground fungus can continue reproducing in a nearly perfect radial pattern.

Are the mushrooms that grow in my yard dangerous?

Thousands of mushroom species could appear in your yard. Not all mushrooms are poisonous. Most are harmless, and some are even edible. However, it’s best to assume mushrooms are toxic unless a mycologist or experienced forager says otherwise.

Ingesting toxic mushrooms can cause severe illness or even death. If you’re worried about young children or pets eating the mushrooms, err on caution. Identify why mushrooms grow in your yard and take steps to remedy the moisture, shade, or ph balance.

How do I get rid of mushrooms in my yard?

To quickly and safely remove mushrooms, wear gloves and remove each one by hand. Please don’t throw them in your compost or usual yard waste bag.

Remember, mushrooms exist to release spores. Tie them up in a plastic bag before throwing them away. This will help keep the mushroom fungus from spreading around your lawn and garden.

You can try to prevent mushrooms from reappearing in the same spot in several ways. First, look for clues to determine why mushrooms grow in your yard.

Localized mushroom clusters and fairy rings suggest that something underground decomposes and feeds the fungus. Speed up the process by using a high-nitrogen lawn fertilizer.

You can also adjust your soil ph to be more acidic or basic. These changes will determine how quickly or slowly matter in the soil breaks down. You can try sprinkling the area with vinegar or baking soda to adjust your soil pH.

Interested in learning more about testing your soil ph? Check out 10 Picks for the Best Soil pH Tester for Gardening. Here is the link to the best overall product in that post.

Finally, you can decrease the moisture level of your lawn. Mushrooms tend to appear in damp, shady areas. Water your lawn less frequently and, if necessary, improve the drainage to help the soil dry out.

Don’t Fear the Fungus Among Us

Removing mushrooms from the lawn can be an annoying chore, but the underground fungus is actually pretty interesting! It might be a surprise to know the reason why mushrooms grow in your yard is all about soil health.

Your lawn is more diverse and nutrient-dense because of the active fungi networks. The mushrooms appear when conditions are right for the fungus to fruit..

You can keep the fungus from fruiting without destroying its underground work. Mushrooms can be hand-picked and disposed of as needed. If it’s a recurrent problem, a few easy adjustments should keep the fungus active and invisible under the lawn.

Have we piqued your interest? Learn more about mushrooms and their role in your lawn health.