Mushrooms often appear on lawns in the Mediterranean climate during winter and early spring rains. Fungi are a key component of the decomposition process in that they break down dead organic matter into nutrients that plants can use. Most fungal species are neutral or beneficial to gardeners, but some are considered a nuisance and require management. There is also
Mushrooms, also called fruiting bodies, are the visible parts of larger organisms. Most fungi are composed of thin, thread-like hyphae. Individual hyphae are not readily visible to the naked eye. A clump of hypha called a mycelium looks like a tangle of fine threads and can be easily seen. When picking mushrooms, only a small part of the whole mushroom is removed.
Fairy rings are one of the most common types of lawn fungi and can be one or more species. They look like circular mushrooms 1 to 12 feet in diameter. Often accompanied by a very healthy-looking grass ring. In this case, the fungi are breaking down organic matter and providing nutrients to the surrounding lawn. , mushrooms can be removed manually or disappear on their own.
If a mushroom ring surrounds a dead or dying portion of the grass, the mycelium mat may be growing too densely and impeding water penetration to the grass roots. If the mat is not too dense or too deep (usually 3 inches or less), mechanical aeration may be sufficient to restore lawn health. If the mat is very dense or deep, it may need to be dug up and removed.
Often mushrooms can appear in poorly drained or well-watered areas. They will disappear when the soil dries out or the irrigation problem is resolved. Mushrooms can appear on newly installed lawns. These mushrooms eventually disappear when irrigation is reduced.
Other species of lawn mushrooms that do not require special care include ink caps, which have slender stems and black caps that exude a jet-black liquid as they decompose.
Puffball mushrooms are small (1 inch in diameter) round white ball-shaped mushrooms that appear in clumps.
A bird’s nest mushroom looks like a cup (or bird’s nest) containing small egg-like balls that house spores.
Stinkhorn mushrooms look like big fingers or certain parts of the male anatomy. The tip is covered with a foul-smelling slime that attracts flies. It might be a preteen boy’s favorite mushroom because of its shape and nasty smell, but it has to be hand-picked or dug out just because it’s a little gross.
Looking for more gardening tips? Here’s how to contact the Master Gardener Program in your area:
Los Angeles County
firstname.lastname@example.org; 626-586-1988; http://celosangeles.ucanr.edu/UC_Master_Gardener_Program/
email@example.com; 949-809-9760; http://mgorange.ucanr.edu/
firstname.lastname@example.org; ext. 951-683-6491 231; https://ucanr.edu/sites/RiversideMG/
San Bernardino County
email@example.com; 909-387-2182; http://mgsb.ucanr.edu/