Amanda Owen asks foraging expert about 'safe' mushrooms
Despite being a fungus, mushrooms found in domestic lawns are usually harmless though they can become an eyesore if left to grow.
According to gardening experts, most mushrooms will stop appearing as autumn comes to an end, and will not begin to grow again until next summer – but what can you do with them in the meantime?
To help you safely get rid of mushrooms for good, Express.co.uk spoke to Tim Marshall, Raby Castle’s head gardener, and Angela Slater, a gardening expert at Hayes Garden World, who shared their best advice.
Tim said: “Mushrooms are the reproductive structures (fruit) of fungi.
Fungi love damp, carbon-rich soils containing organic matter which they can feed on and break down.
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“While they are often given a bad press, mushrooms are not a negative item to have growing in the garden.
If they are identified as being edible, they are certainly very beneficial.
“Removing them is an individual’s preference. If the mushrooms concerned are poisonous or thought to be, and there are children and pets in the vicinity then it is worth removing the fruiting bodies to avoid contact.”
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How to get rid of mushrooms
Removing the fruiting body of the mushrooms prevents the spread of spores to new locations, though it is only a short-term solution, according to Tim. He noted that “they will re-appear once damp conditions arise again”.
For quick removal, Angela Slater, a gardening expert at Hayes Garden World recommended using non-chemical products for effective results.
Clear and wash the grass
She told Express.co.uk: “Clean up any organic debris, such as leaves and lawn cuttings, as this is a habitat which mushrooms love.”
“Dig out the clusters of mushrooms and pour a solution of washing-up liquid and water over the surrounding area, and in the vacated hole at a solution of two tablespoons to a gallon of water.”
Use a white vinegar solution
White vinegar also works on mushrooms, but be sure to dilute it with water as it could burn the grass if used on its own.
Combine equal parts water and distilled white vinegar in a spray bottle and shake well. Apply liberally to the affected area and leave it to seep into the roots of your lawn.
Apply baking soda
In addition to using instant solutions, Angela noted that a gradual solution will also work to keep mushrooms at bay.
She said: “A solution of two tablespoons of baking soda to two gallons of water raises the pH of the lawn and kills the mushrooms gradually.”
Keep your lawn dry
For a long-term fix, it is worth keeping your lawn as dry as possible as fungus thrives in a damp habitat.
Angela recommended aerating your grass and brushing in horticultural sand if you have ongoing issues with drainage.
Raise the nitrogen levels in the soil
Tim added that raising the nitrogen level in the soil will also reduce the presence of mushrooms, though they will still return if the root cause of the fungus is not solved.
There are several ways to raise nitrogen levels in your garden, many of which use organic ingredients like coffee grounds and egg or legume shells.
Simply crush shells into a fine sand-like texture and sprinkle over your lawn. You will need to cover this from birds and pests after spreading it to get the best results.
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