A common problem many gardeners face is mushrooms growing in mulch. If you have pets or young children, these can make one ill, but they are unattractive and a nuisance for any gardener.
You may be wondering how to get rid of mushrooms in the mulch, which mainly come about from rain.
Causes Of Mushroom Growth On Mulch
There are many reasons why mushrooms may grow in garden mulch, the most common being excessive amounts of nutrients and dead materials. Below is a list of some more detailed passages explaining each reason:
Too Much Organic Material
Mulch is often thought of as organic material. Still, when applied in combination with anything that can produce roots and a consistent water supply, it becomes the perfect place for mushroom growth.
Mushrooms grow in mulch because when it is decomposed, the mushrooms start to eat it. As they continue to eat the bark mulch, mushrooms will begin to grow. Finally, as organic material slowly decomposes, and the mushrooms die off.
A Lot Of Moisture
Mushrooms thrive in a humid environment such as that provided by overwatering of mulch or after the soil has been repeatedly wet. Mulching, being organic material and absorbing moisture exceptional well, is one of the perfect bases for mushrooms.
To get rid of them from your bark mulch, you need to reduce the humidity level first so they will stop growing.
Lack Of Sun Exposure
Along with organic material and moisture, mushrooms require little to no sun. Often they will grow in shaded areas under trees or other garden structures.
Mushrooms don’t grow in low-quality environments, but they’re still a good sign. Your mulch is rich on its own, but it may also be over-rich garden soil below it. This happens more commonly during rainy weather when there are excess amounts of moisture present.
Types Of Mushrooms That Usually Grow In Mulch
Here are some of the mushroom varieties you might find in your garden bed material and grass at home.
This type of fungus appears in turf, some types of pastures, and straw-containing horse dung.
It is typically not fatal but can be confused with poisonous varieties.
The brown-spored mushroom is a kind of edible fungus that first appears in the year on flat ground, gardens, and forests.
Alcohol Inky Cap or Tippler’s Bane
This is an edible mushroom, though it can be poisonous when combined with alcohol. This fungus is found all over North America and Europe.
Clumps of mushrooms can arise in mulch after sustained rain from Spring to Fall. Mushrooms sometimes pop up in urban and disturbed habitats, as well as lawns and grassy areas. The gray-brown cap is initially bell-shaped before opening, after which it flattens and disintegrates. Its flesh is thin with a very mild taste.
Pear-shaped puffball is a saprobic fungus present throughout much of the world. This mushroom common and abundant on decaying logs of both deciduous and coniferous wood in autumn when it’s often eaten.
One of the most common fungi is the Lysurus cruciatus or lizard’s-claw stinkhorn. The fruit bodies are characterized by a white, cylindrical tube supporting a cluster of hollow, red arms covered in foul-smelling spore mass.
A common mushroom found in forests and gardens is the common stinkhorn, known colloquially as such.
The fungus thrives in shady habitats rich with wood debris such as forests and mulched gardens. More commonly seen in Europe and North America.
It appears from late summer to late autumn and is characterized by a fruiting structure that is tall and white in color. It has a dark olive-colored conical head at the top that looks slimy. While it doesn’t generally have any negative effects, immature mushrooms are eaten in certain parts of France and Germany.
Some mushrooms grow in mulch, such as the deer shield or the deer or fawn mushroom. These are often found on rotting logs, roots, and tree stumps and can be found worldwide.
Mulched yards are a breeding ground for this fungus which also can grow on sawdust and other wood waste. Usually, these can be eaten when young, but most people agree it’s of poor quality and they’re not often collected for the table.
The mushroom is most often found in lawns or pastures and varies between white and golden brown. The cap starts as a cone shape, then becomes rounder, and finally has upturned edges when mature.
It is edible but not recommended due to their unappealing flavor and difficulty identifying and limiting culinary value.
Simple Ways to Get Rid of Mushrooms in Your Mulch
There are a few quick and easy steps you can take to remove mushrooms from your mulch. Find out what they are now!
Replace Your Mulch
You may need to do this if you are really having a mushroom problem. In fact, you might even want to try another mulch type since it is less likely that a different type will support so many mushrooms.
People do not need to replace their mulch just because mushrooms are growing in it. If you don’t have a lot of money to spend on landscaping supplies, however, this may not be the best option for you.
You can try to get rid of the mushrooms in your mulch another way, and if it’s just a spot, you might be able to salvage things.
For the best results, you’re going to need to decide whether dedicating time and effort on trying to scour away mushrooms is appropriate or if replacing the mulch as a whole is more productive.
You can also try to prevent mushrooms from growing in the first place by taking preventative measures with your new mulch.
Rake Your Mulch Really Well
Freeing up your mulch can allow lots of fresh air and room for your plants, which means the moisture will be able to escape instead.
The main reason for this is that it allows the water trap to dry out rather than letting it get trapped in the mulch like before.
When too much rain comes into contact with the mulch, mushrooms will often grow. Raking your lawn is a good way to prevent this from happening.
This is the most effective way to avoid mushrooms appearing in your mulch.
You don’t need to do it every day, but you may want to set up a schedule for raking the mulch in your garden.
For example, you could rake the mulch every Sunday or every other Sunday.
Try To Use Less Mulch
One of the most common ways mushrooms grow in mulch is when you use way too much of it. You are creating an environment where mushrooms can thrive, leading to them popping up in your mulch.
There is only one way to get good results: useless mulch.
The best way to prevent mushrooms from growing in your mulch is by laying down a thinner layer of bark mulch overall. If you follow this simple step, then there’s no chance that these mushrooms will grow back down the line.
If the mushrooms growing in your yard are beginning to get out of hand, a solution like this might sound great.
One way to eliminate them is to replace the mulch or use some of the other methods given later. If you’re looking for a way to remove mushrooms from your mulch, it’s important that you physically remove the mushroom by hand before spreading your mulch thinner.
You need to know that reducing the amount of mulch you use will help prevent future mushroom growth.
Besides being unattractive, mushrooms in your mulch will also make it hard for plants to grow.
Mulch is vital to the health of your plants, but if you have too much, it can suffocate them and keep them from getting the nutrients that they need. To ensure that you’re using mulch in moderation and still accomplishing this goal, try layering leaves on top of a few inches of bark mulch.
Take a Consideration To Pruning Or Trimming Your Trees And Shrubs
When rain falls on bark mulch, it can create the perfect dark and shady environment perfect for mushroom growth. You might not know that even small bits of shade caused by tree limbs or weeds can play a role in this process.
When dealing with mushrooms in your mulch, the best way to get rid of them is by pruning or trimming things.
You can take the time to trim overgrown tree limbs. Trimming this will help block mushrooms from growing and make sure that they aren’t casting any shadows on your garden bed, and it will be easier for you to maintain.
It would be best if you also were sure to prune your shrubs and take any other steps necessary to remove all the shade from your bark mulch.
Although it isn’t ideal, if you want to provide shade for plants that do well in the partial shade, you should allow the trees and shrubs to get overgrown.
You can really make a difference here, so it is worth your time to address the issue.
Consider Solution To Your Mushroom Woes With Compost
One possible reason mushrooms are growing in our garden is the wood and bark-based mulches we use. Compost doesn’t have this problem, as it’s much harder for mushrooms to grow when you’re using organic compost materials.
If mushrooms can feed off of decaying materials, they’ll be more likely to grow. But if your mushrooms seem sparse and not too large in size, then this could be the easy solution that you were waiting for.
The downside to this is that mulch does not provide the same aesthetic flair as organic compost. Mulch provides a more colorful environment than organic compost, making it an essential ingredient for many gardens.
Except for mulch. It might be kind of smelly, depending on what you’re using.
Use Special Fungicide
There are many different ways to get rid of mushrooms, but most people use a fungicide. Fungicides for mushroom treatment work wonderfully, and it usually won’t take a lot of effort on the part of the individual using them. Follow the instructions given by whichever fungus you want to buy and apply that fungicide to your bark mulch.
This isn’t a perfect solution for some as they worry that the chemicals might harm their plants. Other gardeners could go another route if they are worried about what this will do to their healthy plants.
With a baking soda and water mixture, you can get rid of mushrooms.
There are a few ways to kill mushrooms in mulch, including mixing lime with the soil. This way, it creates an environment that is not conducive to mushrooms’ needs for growth and not as acidic.
It can also be bad for your plants, so you will want to consider things fully before moving forward.
Consider Calling The Professionals
One accepted solution is to call professionals and have them come out to take care of the problem.
There are landscaping companies that will do mulching for you for a fee. The company may replace the outdated mulch on your property while removing any mushrooms, too, if they have been growing in it.
The most effective way to get rid of mushrooms is by contacting an expert. Hiring a professional may be the better choice for those who don’t have time or energy to mess around with things.
However, you can easily take care of problems yourself for a lot less money.
You’ll need to reach out to landscaping experts for help (unless you want to use mulch-resistant mushroom pesticide). It can be costly, but it can also save embarrassment in the long run.
If your budget is an issue, you could theoretically do this on your own.
Another method For Removing Mushrooms In Mulch
Removing mushrooms from mulch can be incredibly time-consuming, so it’s important to know which method is the best option.
Here are the most common ones, and let’s take a closer look at each one and see how well they work.
Manually Remove The Mushrooms
If there is not much mulch combined with mushrooms, you can pick them off by hand as long as you’re wearing gloves. Make sure to dispose of these in the same fashion but wear shoes when doing so.
Slows Down Mushroom Growth With Lime
Does lime kill mushrooms? The answer is no, and it does not. Lime may make the soil more alkaline, slowing down the growth of mushrooms but does not fully eliminate them, like baking soda.
Also, it can potentially be dangerous to use: even with non-caustic lime put in the ground, you should still wear gloves, goggles, and a mask for safety.
Damage The Mushrooms With Vinegar
Put a saucer of vinegar in the garden bed to help kill off mushrooms. Vinegar contains acetic acid that will damage spores, mycelia, and the mushroom itself.
Make a fairly simple and inexpensive anti-fungal mulch by combining 1 part white vinegar with 4 parts water. Apply it to the fungus-ridden mulch.
Spraying It Over With Baking Soda
Mushrooms can find a home in the mulch of any soil type as acidic soil promotes their growth. The first step to take is to increase the pH of your mulch by mixing 1 tablespoon of baking soda into one gallon of water and spraying it onto any infested areas.
The use of baking soda can both increase the alkalinity of soil and act as a natural fungicide. Due to these properties, baking soda is extremely effective for getting rid of mushrooms in mulch.
Use Soap And water
If the bark mulch in your garden beds is also home to a troublesome fungus, dish soap can be a fantastic solution. Like vinegar and baking soda—another household item that’s perfect for killing fungus—dish soap is safe when mixed into a solution and applied both indoors and outdoors.
To get rid of mushrooms, mix 2 tablespoons of dish soap and 3 gallons of water. Spray the soapy mixture directly at the mushrooms with a sprayer or garden hose.
Use Nitrogen-rich fertilizers
Fertilizers can also help you win the war against mushroom growth. Organic fertilizers such as those containing nitrogen will decompose organic matter more quickly, giving them less time to grow and reproduce.
Although they don’t kill mushrooms, these fungi are a preventive measure to avoid an outbreak. Ensure that you avoid slow-release fertilizers, as they won’t have the same effect on your garden.
Can I Eat Mushrooms Growing In Mulch?
Be safe and avoid the risk of eating mushrooms. Some can actually be poisonous, so it is always wise not to eat them unless you’re 100% sure they’re safe to consume. Keep them as far from your mouth as possible.
Are Mushrooms Dangerous For My Pets?
Mushrooms often have no poisonous chemicals, so pet owners don’t need to worry about their animals eating them and getting sick. Even if your animal eats a mushroom at any time, there is little chance of sickness or worse. Most pets know instinctually the difference between an edible mushroom and one that can be dangerous for them.
Will Mushrooms Bring Diseases To Other Plants?
Mushrooms are not known to carry diseases that could infect other plants in your garden. They actually help as they break down materials for the plants to consume, which improves soil composition and benefits many different plants.
How Many Days Does It Take To Get Rid Of Mushrooms In Mulch?
It depends on the method you choose, but you can generally remove mushrooms from your bark mulch in under a week. But keep some things in mind when trying to do this, because if it doesn’t work quickly enough, they will grow back even faster later.
The main problem with mushrooms is their lack of drainage. To see better results, remove them from your mulch a week or two after they first appear and keep tampering with the mulch to prevent future mushroom growth.
Even though mushrooms won’t impact your garden, getting rid of them is not a bad idea.
If you’re wary of mushrooms in your mulch, following the advice above will help. They may take a while, but they’ll disappear sooner or later.
Now that you know how to deal with the mushrooms, it’s time to get rid of them and welcome a beautiful garden once again.