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Search Results for ' Mushrooms'

PAL Questions: 3 - Garden Tools: - Recommended Websites: 2

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Keywords: Fungal diseases of plants, Mushrooms, House plants

PAL Question:

I have a potted plant with a fungus growing in the soil. It is bright neon yellow and grows like a mushroom, but with no cap on top. The plant is in the basement near a window. The soil is damp and I've avoided watering for awhile to let it dry out. What do you think the growth is, how to get rid of it, and will it be harmful to my plant? I keep plucking them, but they grow back.

View Answer:

I have had questions about the yellow houseplant mushroom before, and I am guessing you are seeing the same thing. It is called Leucoprinus birnbaumii. Bio.net's pages have additional information about it. Excerpt:

"Your shrooms are most likely Leucocoprinus birnbaumii. This harmless (to your plants) fungus is a common contaminant of potting mixes. Pick off the mushrooms before they can shed spores, and try watering your plants deeply but less often so that the soil does not stay soggy. Also, these guys can cause real internal upset if ingested, so make sure the kids and pets don't get to them."

Michael Kuo's website, MushroomExpert.com has information about Leucoprinus as well. Excerpt:

"This little yellow mushroom and its close relatives are the subject of many frantic e-mails to MushroomExpert.Com, since it has a tendency to pop up unexpectedly in people's flower pots--even indoors! The brightness of its yellowness exhibits some rebelliousness, but it often creates a striking contrast to the green houseplants that surround it.

"Leucocoprinus birnbaumii won't hurt you, unless you eat it. It won't hurt your plant. It won't hurt your pets or your children, unless they eat it. There is no getting rid of it, short of replacing all the soil in your planter (and even then it might reappear). Since it makes such a beautiful addition to your household flora, I recommend learning to love it--and teaching your children to love it, too.

"You might also impart the idea that mushrooms are very, very cool--but shouldn't be eaten. Perhaps your child would like to become an awesome and famous mycologist some day. I would love to encourage your child's interest in mushrooms by putting his or her drawing of Leucocoprinus birnbaumii on this Web page (at least temporarily).

"Leucocoprinus birnbaumii is probably poisonous; do not eat it. Handling it, however, won't hurt you."

Season All Season
Date 2007-06-20
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Keywords: Mushrooms, Lawns

PAL Question:

Our backyard (which is flat and no pine trees) has hundreds of tiny mushrooms throughout the grass. Our front yard (which has a slight slope and one large pine tree) has many huge mushrooms. Otherwise, we have good looking grass. We have lived here for a very long time without ever seeing this problem. I know one answer is to "sweeten" the soil with lime. Should we do this now, in the fall, or at what time of year? Should we remove the mushrooms or let them be? Any other suggestions?

View Answer:

University of California, Davis Integrated Pest Management has guidelines on managing mushrooms in lawns. Here is an excerpt:
"Mushrooms found in lawns often develop from buried scraps of construction lumber, dead tree roots, or other organic matter. The fungi that produce these mushrooms are beneficial because they decompose organic matter in the soil, making nutrients available to other plants. These mushrooms usually are harmless to grasses, but some people consider them unsightly or want to get rid of them because young children play in the area. Remove mushrooms growing from buried wood or roots by picking them as they appear or by digging out the wood. Many of these mushrooms are associated with overirrigation or poor drainage. Removing excess thatch and aerating the soil to improve water penetration may help in some cases."
The website further suggests adding nitrogen fertilizer, but bear in mind that excessive fertilizer contributes to urban runoff pollution.

As for sweetening the soil with lime(making it less acidic), it is best to do a soil test before attempting to amend for soil pH. The City of Seattle's Natural Lawn Care information says that you would only need to "apply lime in the spring or fall if a soil test shows a calcium deficiency or acid soil conditions (pH less than 5)."

Season All Season
Date 2007-10-22
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Keywords: Mushrooms, Lawns

PAL Question:

I've researched "fairy ring in the grass" online, but haven't come up with any surefire solutions. Ours is about 3 feet across, with scant grass in the center. Digging it out and replacing grass or hiring a professional to apply toxic fumigants seemed logical. Any other suggestions to try?

View Answer:

I think physical removal is certainly a better option than applying toxic fumigants, though it requires some work. Washington State University Extension (search on the left side of the page for lawns and turf) offers these recommendations for fairy ring in lawns:
Several species of fungi can cause fairy rings in lawns. The common symptoms may include a ring of dead grass with darker green grass and mushrooms on the inside and/or the outside of the ring, circular patches of darker green grass, or rings of mushrooms or puffballs appearing with or without other symptoms. Mushroom rings most commonly appear in the spring or fall when adequate moisture is present. The type of fairy ring which causes dead rings is the most damaging. The fungus feeds on decomposing organic matter such as dead tree roots and undecomposed bark mulch in the soil and makes water penetration difficult. Fairy rings are more severe on sandy soil with low fertility. Grass inside the rings may be weakened or killed and replaced with weeds and weedy grasses. Fairy rings may disappear suddenly.
Select Non-chemical Management Options as Your First Choice!!

  • After rewetting, reseed affected areas and fertilize and water properly.
  • Provide proper culture, including deep, infrequent waterings and adequate fertilization.
  • Rake and loosen soil in affected areas. Aerate soil and water the area deeply. A grass-type wetting agent can be used to help rewet the soil.
  • Remove the sod, mix soil in affected areas in the upper 6 to 8 inches of soil with a rototiller, and reseed or put new sod in the area.

Pesticides: None recommended (Revision Date:4/20/2010)

In his book, The Chemical-Free Lawn (Rodale Press, 1989), Warren Schultz says of fairy rings:
"The only sure way to eradicate the mushroom is to dig out the turf and soil to a depth of 2 feet, extending outward at least 1 foot beyond the edge of the circle. It's also possible to slow the fungus by drenching the soil with water to a depth of 2 feet. Some turf experts recommend fertilizing the rest of the lawn heavily to mask the green color of the ring. This practice, however, may encourage other diseases [my note: heavy fertilization contributes to toxic stormwater runoff]. You may be best off learning to live with the disease."

This document from Oregon State University also offers advice on removing fairy rings from lawns:

  • Soak Fairy Ring area daily for a month with water. Punching a number of holes in the area to be soaked will help get the water into the soil. The Fairy Ring area is often dry, hard and difficult to get water into the soil. A thorough aeration in April with a rented machine will make the job easier.
  • Adequate fertilizer will mask the green ring by supplying the entire lawn with extra nitrogen.
  • Renovation of affected area can be accomplished by removing the affected sod and soil. Cut the area 12 inches wider than the outside of the ring. Cut the sod and soil 1-2 inches deep. Remove affected material. Replace with 'clean' soil and replant.

Season All Season
Date 2010-04-24
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June 24 2013 12:55:25