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With all the warm and wet weather we’ve been getting lately, we’re beginning to get more calls regarding mushrooms in lawns.

Mushrooms are actually part of a fungus that grows underground and are caused by a mixture of increased moisture, lack of light, and buried organic matter.

The fungus grows by breaking down organic matter such as buried timber, stumps, or roots of trees and shrubs that have been removed.  It’s a natural process that actually helps improve the structure of the soil.

The “toadstools” are most commonly recognized for their flowering structure of the fungus that contains all of the spores. Spores can be spread by wind and water, which helps to establish other fungal colonies.

One of the easiest ways to get rid of mushrooms in your lawn is to mow them and once the soil begins to dry out, the fewer mushrooms you’ll see. Meaning there’s no need to apply a product to your lawn because in most cases mushrooms do not cause any damage.

There are a few cases where mushrooms can be a sign of a turf fungus, rather than a soil fungus.  Although not common in North Carolina, fairy ring is a disease that can easily be recognized by the arc-like or circular patterns of mushrooms.

The ring pattern is caused by the outward growth of fungal mycelium, which forms a dense, mat-like structure in the soil that decomposes organic matter. This decomposition releases nitrate into the soil, which stimulates the growth of dark green grass at the outer portion of the ring. The fungus may also release certain byproducts that are toxic to the turf, leading to brown or dead turf next to the ring.

Fairy ring is difficult to control. One method of controlling the disease is to dig out the affected areas and replace it with new soil and sod. Another method is to apply turf fungicide. We recommend to just wait for hotter and drier weather, as the problem seems to go away. If the disease is severe enough, we can apply a product labeled for fairy ring disease. But remember that this is only when the mushrooms are found in an arc pattern associated with the turf disease.

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