Question of the Week: September 20, 2018

“Do I need to be concerned about mushrooms that are appearing in my lawn?”

No. Mushrooms and toadstools that crop up in your turf are saprophytic funguses. That means that they’re living off decaying organic matter like old tree roots and grass clippings. They are not deriving any of their sustenance from living plant parts (parasitic).

If you have pets that seem to want to consume mushrooms, you probably ought to break the mushrooms off with a hoe or by dragging a garden hose across them, and you certainly don’t want to eat them yourself. But otherwise they’re of no concern.

As you can see more of the photo you will notice that the mushrooms have formed circular “fairy rings.” This happens over a period of time as the fungal growths use up the organic matter in a given area. The ring becomes larger, like ripples on a still pond, until you see a large ring like this. On rare occasions you may be lucky enough to see a perfect circle.

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As the mushrooms use up all available nitrogen in an area and start to die off, they release that nitrogen back into the soil. You’ll occasionally even see rich green circles within the old rings as the grass feeds on the new source of nitrogen.

I can’t identify this glorious display of mushrooms, but one of my Facebook friends posted it a couple of weeks ago. This may be my all-time favorite mushroom photo anyone has ever posted on my page. Nature is beautiful!

Posted by Neil Sperry
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