After a bout of humid weather or extra rainfall, you might notice mushrooms popping up in your lawn or even your landscape beds. You’ve probably questioned whether the mushrooms are good or bad; most often they cause concern for homeowners. As it turns out, mushrooms in your lawn can be both good, or bad...depending on why there are there and which type.
Not all mushrooms are bad
While there are many types of fungi that cause damage to your lawn, or can kill it altogether, there are many other types of mushrooms that indicate your soil is healthy. The beneficial varieties of fungi help to break down organic matter and release nutrients back into the soil.
The mushrooms that you see popping up in your lawn are actually the fruiting bodies (kind of like a flower) of the mycorrhizal fungi that is growing beneath the soil. The mushrooms carry and spread the spores that will grow more fungi. Mycorrhizae are a highway of crisscrossing root-like threads of beneficial fungi in the soil that help to breakdown leaves, twigs, grass clippings, animal waste and any other organic matter that is able to compost. If you move around mulch or soil and you see white threadlike forms, that’s the mycorrhizae breaking down the organic matter. When you see mushrooms pop up out of the ground, it’s signal that there is fungi activity going on beneath the soil.
Mycorrhizal fungi not only improves soil health, but they also attach to plant roots, aiding them in the uptake of nutrients. In an organically maintained lawn, many mushrooms simply come with the territory. If you find them unsightly, simply kick them over, mow over them or pluck and throw them in the compost pile.
The bad mushrooms
If you notice circular rings of mushrooms coming up in your lawn, it may be fairy rings, which is a fungus that can cause damage to your lawn. Also, if you see clusters of mushrooms popping up around the base of your tree trunk, or shelf-like mushrooms on the tree trunk, that’s not good; it’s most likely a sign of decay within the tree. When you see these kinds of mushrooms, it’s time to call in a lawn and landscape pro or an arborist.
A word of caution: It’s best to never eat mushrooms you find in your landscape. While not all mushrooms are poisonous, mushrooms species can be difficult to properly ID without the aid of an expert or seasoned mushroom forager.
Did you know? We make all of our liquid compost extract in house; liquid compost is the key ingredient of our popular Soil Building program. Because we make it ourselves, we always know exactly what we’re putting into your soil. Well-fed soil teeming with beneficial microbes will help you grow a vigorous, emerald green lawn the natural way; that is healthier for both your family and the environment.
Our compost gets a boost!
When we make our organic compost on-site, we also add worm castings from Texas Worm Ranch. By adding worm castings our compost gets an even bigger boost of live beneficial bacteria, protozoa and beneficial nematodes. We then turn that compost into liquid compost, which is a more nutrient-dense liquid concentrate. Minerals, nutrients and beneficial microbes work together in the liquid compost to increase the bioactivity in the soil. Healthier soil means your plants are stronger, better able to withstand our weather extremes and are more resistant to pests and diseases.
Want a More Beautiful Landscape? Start With the Soil.
How does liquid compost extract help grow a lush lawn?
Soil is a living organism that must be fed and nurtured in order to stay healthy and strong. When soil is healthy, bioactive and full of nutrients your plants need, you’ll be able to grow a lawn and landscape plants that are stronger and look more beautiful.
Feeding your soil with liquid compost…
- Improves texture. Loose, crumbly soil is easier to plant in and easier for roots to grow in. When soil is compacted, it suffocates roots and discourages the uptake of nutrients.
- Increases bioactivity. Creatures such as earthworms, beneficial nematodes, mycorrhizal fungi and good bacteria thriving in your soil means your soil has good oxygen flow and less compaction.
- Reduces the need for synthetic fertilizers. Over time, the more organic elements are added to your soil, the healthier it becomes. Synthetic fertilizers deplete soil of essential nutrients. Over time, your lawn becomes dependent on the synthetic fertilizers for its nutrients instead of relying on the soil.
Liquid compost is just the beginning
While liquid compost is the main treatment ingredient used in our organic maintenance plan, there are other important ingredients we feed to your soil to keep your lawn looking it’s best. Worm castings and humic acid also help keep your lawn strong and lush.
For more information on how our eco-friendly treatments work, read our past post on why and how organics work.
Are you still watering your lawn as if it was 100 ℉ degrees outside? If so, then now is the time to begin start cutting back. Watering your lawn the same way in fall as you do during the heat of summer can ignite a breakout of fungal diseases. These fungal diseases can then persist into spring and be very challenging to eradicate.
What happens to waterlogged lawns?
As our fall nighttime temperatures dip below 68 ℉ degrees, and humidity rises along with increased rainfall, diseases such as Brown Patch can take hold in your lawn. To make matters worse, lawns stressed from improper watering over summer, suffer from compacted soil or an excess amount of thatch are even more susceptible to fungal diseases.
Does your lawn look like this? Then you could be overwatering your lawn.
Disease Alert: What is Brown Patch disease? Brown Patch is caused by the fungus, Rhizoctonia solani. It thrives in lawns that are too damp and are stressed from drought, pests and other diseases. You can spot Brown Patch by the circular brown areas that appear in your lawn. The patches will vary in size, but the browned leaf blades will remain upright.
If left unmanaged, the fungus can spread beyond repair, potentially causing you to have to replace parts of your lawn. It could also cause other issues that make your lawn more susceptible to the freezing temperatures this winter, and intense heat next summer.
How to water in winter
Should you stop watering your lawn now that the weather has cooled? Yes and no. Yes, you should reduce your watering and as the season progresses and temperatures drop. You might stop providing supplemental water all-together for a short period of time if there is regular rainfall; but don’t forget to run your system during extended dry periods. If we’ve received at least 1-inch worth of rain, then you don’t need to water your lawn that week.
Reduce water: Warm season grasses such as St. Augustine, Bermuda or Zoysia will only need supplemental water during dry periods between winter rainfalls; and if they go dormant, they will only need to be watered every few weeks if there is no rainfall. In months of regular rainy weather, you may not need to water very much at all.
If you have an automatic sprinkler system, be sure it’s not set to water your lawn multiple times per week during winter months. Also make sure that your rain/freeze sensor is working properly. Sometimes, we may advise turning off your system, and only running it manually as needed during a dry spell.
Remember that every lawn is different, as is the soil in each yard. Some lawns will need a bit more water during winter while others may need less. There just isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach to watering lawns and landscapes. If you’re one of our landscape maintenance customers, we’ll work with you to make sure your lawn is watered the right way throughout each season.
Now is the time to have your irrigation audited to ensure your system is working properly. A well-run system that is checked yearly in order to make any necessary repairs or adjustments will not overwater or underwater during our weather-extreme winters and summers. You’ll notice healthier plants, less water runoff and flooding, and a savings on your water bill.