If you’re wondering why mushrooms are growing in your garden, you’ve come to the right place.
After all, we have all seen them - these little fungi are everywhere! Some of the mushrooms in your garden are edible, while some are highly toxic. Some cultures believe mushrooms have magical properties, referring to them as “fairy circles.”
Despite how common they are, most gardeners don’t understand what they are, how they form, and whether or not they are harmful.
So, why do mushrooms grow in your garden? Are they harmful or helpful? Is there a way to get rid of them? Should you get rid of them?
You have tons of questions, we have all the answers. Read on to learn everything you need to learn about mushrooms growing in your garden!
Why are Mushrooms Growing in My Garden Bed?
Mushrooms appear when there’s the perfect combination of moisture, clouds, and soil with organic material. Any mushroom you see in your garden is the sprouting body of fungi living in the ground.
These organisms could have lived in your garden for years but only produced mushrooms because of the right conditions. Once the colony gets large enough, it sprouts mushrooms to disperse seeds.
Mushrooms love humid weather, decaying organic matter, and lots of shade.
If you notice more mushrooms in your garden than usual, you’ve probably experienced a lot of rain or mugginess recently. There are also probably many sources of food, such as old roots, dead leaves, or old mulch.
Are Mushrooms Growing in My Garden a Good Sign or a Bad Sign?
While your first instinct when you see a mushroom growing is to get rid of it as soon as possible, the reality is that mushrooms can actually be a good sign. They indicate that your soil is healthy and contains lots of organic matter. In addition, they benefit your garden in many ways.
Mushrooms help break down organic matter, which increases the number of nutrients in the soil. The more nutrients in the ground, the more your plants thrive. Another type of mushroom-producing fungi can help your plants’ roots absorb water.
As mentioned above, mushrooms are just the visible part of a network of fungus living below ground. These fungi can create a beneficial relationship with your garden’s root system. We discussed two of the benefits above, but there are others.
This fungal network increases the surface area of your plant’s roots. The more surface area their roots have, the more nutrients and water they can absorb. Other benefits of increased surface area are:
- Plants are more tolerant to extreme weather conditions, such as drought and heatwaves.
- Plants are more resistant to diseases and stress.
- Plants grow faster during every stage of development.
Mushrooms and the fungal network living below the soil aren’t just beneficial for your plants. They are also good for your soil. Not only do they help improve the structure of your soil, but they also increase its drainage and help prevent some types of diseases transmitted through soil.
Spotting mushrooms in your garden is a good sign. Not only do they show your soil is healthy, but their existence can also help your plants thrive.
How Do I Stop Mushrooms Growing in my Garden?
Mushrooms may be beneficial, but they are not the prettiest to look at in your otherwise beautiful garden. Plus, if you are trying to cultivate specific plants, you might not want these shrooms in the way! So here are some tips to keep the fungi in your soil from sprouting mushrooms.
Control the Soil Conditions
Mushrooms like decaying organic matter. Removing any dead materials from your garden as soon as possible can deter mushrooms from growing. For example, rake up leaves in the fall, pick up twigs and sticks, and pick up grass clippings after mowing.
You also want to reduce the moisture in your soil as much as possible, especially in shady areas. You can reduce the amount of water in your soil by mowing the grass regularly and installing drainage systems in places that tend to retain moisture.
If there are mushrooms in your yard, make sure you remove them before mowing to prevent the spores from blowing away and spreading. Other materials you should remove from your yard as soon as possible are tree stumps, dog poop, and last year’s mulch.
Remove Shady Spots in Your Garden
Mushrooms also thrive in areas of your garden that are shadier. While you want some shade in your garden, especially if you have plants requiring partial shade, trimming back any excess branches can help sunlight dry out the soil.
If the shady spots in your garden tend to collect a lot of water, it may also be wise to install drainage systems there.
Install or Create Drainage
As we’ve mentioned a few times, mushrooms can be a result of poor draining soil. Other signs you may have drainage problems are standing puddles of water and mud. Flat areas, clogged gutters, or impacted soil are all causes of drainage issues.
Some ways to help your garden drain better include cleaning your gutters and extending or rerouting your downspouts. You can also create a rain garden or use rain barrels to collect rain instead of letting it pool in your garden.
If you want a more professional drainage system, you can install a french drain or dry creek bed.
Plant nutrients, especially nitrogen-rich fertilizers, helps organic materials decay faster. With less organic material in the soil, mushrooms lose their food supply and won’t sprout.
One important note about using a fertilizer rich in nitrogen to deter mushrooms is that it can harm some types of plants. You shouldn't apply fertilizer at rates that could be detrimental to your garden crop. If you have an area of your garden that tends to grow mushrooms, its probably best to avoid planting any flowers or other vegetation there.
Aerate Garden and Improve Drainage
In addition to some of the tips outlined above, such as removing overhanging branches, decaying material, and standing water, you should aerate your garden before planting each year.
Aerating your garden using a pitchfork or other similar tool helps break up the fungal layer. Disposing of the plugs right after aeration is essential, so the spores don’t get reabsorbed or dispersed into your garden.
Get Rid of Existing Mushrooms
One way to help prevent mushrooms from growing in the future is by removing them as soon as they sprout. Underground fungi produce mushrooms to disperse their spores. So removing them from your garden before they can release their spores can help reduce the number of mushrooms down the road.
Therefore, when you remove the mushroom from your garden, ensure you don’t disperse any spores. Make sure you remove as much of it as you can from the ground by digging it up or pulling it from the bottom.
Once you remove the mushroom, place it in a plastic bag and tie the bag closed. Then, you can spray a few drops of dish soap and water solution in the area. This mixture acts as a non-toxic fungicide.
Consider Using A Fungicide To Get Rid Of Mushrooms
You can use a chemical fungicide if your mushroom problem is severe. However, these might not always be necessary or recommended depending on what kind of plants you are growing. Since most mushrooms are harmless, other methods of prevention and control may be better.
That said, if you’ve addressed the growing conditions and removed excess moisture and still find yourself inundated with mushrooms, consider spraying a fungicide to kill the fungus that encouraged the mushroom growth in the first place.
Final Thoughts on Why Mushrooms are Growing in Your Garden
Mushrooms growing in your garden may not be the prettiest sight, but there are some advantages to letting them be. These advantages for your plants include increased water and nutrient absorption, increased growth, and disease and stress resistance.
Having mushrooms in your garden is a good indicator that your soil is healthy and can sustain life. In addition, mushrooms can help increase your soil’s health, add more nutrients, and increase its ability to drain water.
Despite these benefits, there are some reasons why removing mushrooms from your garden may be a good idea. They can decrease the visual appeal of your garden and may have an unpleasant odor. Plus, some toxic varieties could be dangerous for your pets and children.
- They can decrease the visual appeal of your garden.
- The toxic ones can be dangerous for your pets and small children.
- They may have an unpleasant odor.
Mushrooms may occasionally appear in your garden if you’ve had a lot of rain, there’s a lot of organic material in the soil, and there’s lots of shade. You can help reduce the number of mushrooms in your garden by installing better drainage systems, fertilizing your plants, and keeping things clean and tidy.