‘Only’ method to ‘completely remove’ lawn mushrooms in winter

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Most mushrooms found in the UK are seasonal, often appearing during summer and autumn though not in winter. Some varieties, however, are known to grow in January and February – or even all year round. If you notice recurring clusters of fungus cropping up in your grass, this is likely to be the case. Gardening experts have shared the common causes of winter lawn mushrooms and exactly how to get rid of them for good.

According to the Lawn and Weed Expert, mushrooms, also known as toadstools, are naturally occurring and can sprout up on your lawn given the weather and ground conditions are suitable.

They explained that lawn mushrooms are commonly found in turfed areas as well as pastures, woods and most places where you’re likely to find dead plant material. While in most cases, they shouldn’t be a cause for concern, they can be a nuisance when it comes to the appearance of your garden.

If left untreated, poisonous varieties like Tawny Funnel mushrooms can be dangerous or even deadly to pets and small children if accidentally ingested, so it’s important to tackle the problem swiftly.

While they’re not considered weeds, they are similar in that treating them requires targeting the root of the problem. But first, you need to know what’s causing recurring winter mushrooms in your lawn.

Kris Lord, grass expert at The Lawn Man said: “Repeated and heavy mushroom growth on a lawn is a sign that there is a lot of rotting material under the surface.”

He explained that this could be the roots of old trees – particularly if they have recently been cut down. When this happens, the fungus can decompose in the old woody material.

According to the lawn expert, the fungus does this by entwining its mycelium growths (a network of fungal threads) all through the soil, seeking out old wood.

When this happens, the fungus breaks down the organic material into nutrients. These are nutrients which other plants can use and is a natural process which increases the fertility of the soil. 

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Kris explained that the mushrooms you see in the grass are the “flowering growths” of underground organisms and will thrive when the soil conditions allow.

He said: “Over time, the rotting wood will completely rot down and the fungus will disappear. This may take many years though.

“To speed up the process you need to remove all the old tree roots from the soil in the affected area. It would be a very big job but that would be the only way to completely remove the mushrooms.”

If you’re looking for a quicker fix, aeration is one of the best remedies for fungus growth in garden grass.

Though it may seem daunting to disturb your lawn during winter, when many gardeners tend to leave it alone, it is actually a great time to aerate the grass.

A gardening expert at Lawns For You said: “On a small to medium-sized lawn the ideal method is to use a garden fork to aerate the soil, inserting it into the surface as deep as it will go vertically, then easing the handle backwards a little before withdrawing the fork.

“This should be repeated at a spacing roughly equal to the width of the fork tines, giving a square pattern. On larger lawns, there are powered aeration machines available to hire or buy which do an excellent job, but not in my opinion as well as the fork.”

Aeration is performed to improve drainage and air flow which can help to keep the grass and soil dry, making it more difficult for mushrooms to thrive.

Identifying the mushrooms growing in your lawn is relatively easy to do, particularly if they appear outside of the main season (from September to November).

In most cases, you will find small white field mushrooms in your garden grass, though they are becoming less popular as a result of herbicide treatments and chemical sprays.

Varieties found in winter include Tawny Funnel and Poplar Fieldcap. A blogger at The Mushroom diary explained that Tawny Funnel is one of the “late fruiting” autumn species, and can be easily spotted by its “warty spores” and “moveable gills”.

The Poplar Fieldcap, on the other hand, is the most common summer though it can be found all year round in some places. The mushroom expert explained that it is often found near trees like willow and Poplar and can be identified by its maturing, flat and often cracking head.

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