Why Are There Mushrooms In My Lawn?

Find out why there are mushrooms in your grass and how to treat them.

It’s not unusual to find mushrooms growing in lawns. If you’ve wondered about them, we’ve got answers.

Why Are Mushrooms Growing in My Lawn?

Mushrooms are white fungi, and fungi are naturally present in healthy soil. They play an important role in breaking down organic material.

But sometimes conditions cause fungi, such as mushrooms, to sprout up. The most common cause is lots of rain. Water and shade provide the perfect conditions for mushrooms to grow in your lawn.

Are Mushrooms Dangerous?

Bob Mann, director of state and local government relations for the National Association of Landscape Professionals, said that mushrooms usually don’t pose a danger to your lawn.

“A lawn is an ecosystem, and fungi are an important part of it,” Mann says. Mushrooms help break down the organic material to keep your soil healthy. “Think of them as beneficial instead of something that detracts from how the lawn looks,” he says.

The one exception is when fungi create a fairy ring of dead grass. This arc or circle results from an outgrowth of fungi that tampers with grass roots and depletes the soil of needed nitrogen. The best way to treat a fairy ring is to aerate, thoroughly water and then fertilize your lawn.

While most wild mushrooms aren’t poisonous, it’s impossible to know for sure unless you are well-trained in mycology. (That’s the study of fungi.) For that reason, it’s always best to keep kids and pets away from any area with mushroom growth.

How to Get Rid of Mushrooms in Grass

There is usually no need to get rid of mushrooms in grass. They ultimately benefit your soil. Plus, most mushrooms disappear on their own once the sun comes out.

But if you find them unsightly, Mann suggests plucking out or mowing over them. He advises against using a fungicide because most can’t penetrate the soil deeply enough to kill fungi, while others are actually illegal for homeowners to use.

How to Prevent Mushrooms from Coming Back

If mushrooms constantly reappear, Mann suggests you may be overwatering your lawn. You can also cut back trees and shrubs to reduce shade. Other culprits could be dead roots from a removed tree stump, or animal waste left on the lawn.

If you rule out these causes, consider calling in reinforcements. “In that case, it’s a good idea to have a professional come in,” he says. “They should perform a soil test to see if there’s a drainage issue.”

Amanda Prischak
Amanda Prischak is a freelance writer based in Erie, Pennsylvania.