Wondering what to do about toadstools in your lawn, and why they are growing in your grass?
In this guide, we’ve looked at the issue of lawn toadstools and mushrooms.
We’ve looked into why they grow in established and new lawns, whether they are harmful to your lawn or pets, and how to get rid of toadstools, if you choose to do so.
Why are toadstools growing in my lawn?
Toadstools in your lawn are a sign of fungi in the soil and the root system of the grass. They grow from fungal spores below the surface of your lawn, and appear when the weather conditions are just right, often in the autumn when there is plenty of moisture.
Fungi in your lawn comes from debris around the surface of your lawn, as well as spores that blow in the wind. It’s normal to see toadstools grow in an existing lawn, even if you haven’t seen them before.
If you’ve just laid new turf, you’re more likely to see mushrooms and toadstools grow. This is because turf rolls typically contain a large amount of fungi, to ensure your new lawn is healthy.
Normally, fungal spores remain dormant for much of the year, until the conditions are right for a toadstool to grow. Toadstools then typically disappear after a matter of weeks, as they have a short life span. This is why you often notice a number of toadstools appear very quickly, before disappearing just as fast.
Are toadstools harmful to your lawn?
Toadstools and mushrooms in your lawn are not normally a cause for concern.
Having some level of fungi in your grass is beneficial for the health of your lawn, and if toadstools are growing, it’s a good sign that your lawn and soil ecosystem is healthy.
The vast majority of toadstools and mushrooms are not harmful to your lawn, and are not a sign of any issues with your grass. However, there are some exceptions to this.
Types of toadstools that are problematic for your lawn
Although the vast majority of lawn mushrooms are nothing to worry about, some toadstools can signify fungal issues on your lawn.
A fairy ring is the name of a circle of dead grass or discolouration that can appear on some lawns, created by fungus. It’s caused by Marasmius and other types of fungi. You may notice Marasmius toadstools, with a white stalk and brown, dome-shaped cap, nearby to a fairy ring. With fairy rings, the fungi in the soil are the problem – the toadstools are just a symptom.
Honey fungus results in a fungal growth that leaves a short toadstool, with a wide, orange/gold coloured cap. It is known to attack the roots of trees, bushes and shrubs. It is not normally a major issue on lawns – instead you will find it around tree stumps and the base of bushes.
Are toadstools poisonous?
The majority of toadstools you’ll find on your lawn in the UK are not poisonous. However, many are unsafe to eat, and some are poisonous to adults, children, and pets such as dogs.
You should never eat mushrooms or toadstools that have grown on the lawn.
There are a number of different species of poisonous mushrooms in the UK, including:
- Death cap
- Deadly webcap
- Funeral bell
- Angel’s wings
- Fool’s funnel
Many of these species are more commonly found on dead wood and forest floors, but can appear on your lawn as well.
How to get rid of mushrooms in your lawn
If you need to get rid of mushrooms on your lawn or in your garden, the best method is to remove them by hand.
- Put on some gloves, to ensure you don’t carry fungal spores inside when you’re finished removing the toadstools.
- Grab a decent-sized bucket to collect the toadstools in.
- Pick the toadstools by hand – you do not need to remove the entire stalk.
- Place the toadstools in the bucket, and then empty it into your garden rubbish bin.
- Wash the bucket out once you’ve finished removing the toadstools from the turf.
Currently, there are no chemical treatments for removing toadstools from your lawn. This is because fungi is beneficial for the health of your grass, so applying fungicides would harm your lawn.
You can also mow over toadstools without any issues. This will not cause them to spread further, however it can leave mushroom pieces that your dog might try to eat, which can be an issue.
How to prevent toadstools from growing in your lawn
If you’re struggling with constant mushroom growth in your garden, you might like to take action to reduce the amount of fungi in your lawn.
To reduce the number of toadstools that grow in your lawn, you can consider some of the following preventative measures:
- Scarify your lawn to clear up the thatch layer, and remove as many fungi spores as possible from the surface of the soil.
- Trim back trees and plants, to give your lawn more sunlight. Fungi thrives in cool, damp areas, so helping your lawn get more sun can be beneficial.
- Water your lawn less frequently, if possible. In general, you want to give your lawn plenty of moisture, especially in the spring and summer. However, if the ground is too damp, this can encourage fungi to grow.
- Aerate your lawn to improve drainage. Again, this is to help ensure that the soil is not too damp, creating conditions that are less suitable for fungi to spread.
- Take more care with your lawn care routine, to improve the overall health of your lawn. For example, provide the lawn with more nutrients, and mow the lawn at a higher setting more often. Essentially, the healthier your lawn is, the harder it will be for fungi to grow – with a thicker, lusher lawn, there’s less room for toadstools to grow, even with a healthy amount of fungi in the soil.
About the author
I’m Josh, and I’m the head writer at Lawn Care Pro.
I love everything lawns, but I’m a bit of a lawn mower nerd. I spend a lot of my free time tinkering with mowers, and planning my mowing schedule for the next few weeks.
I’m also into cars, which comes in very helpful when servicing a mower engine!