How to Get Rid of Toadstools in Your Lawn

Even though they may look troubling, having toadstools on your lawn is actually a great sign. It means your grass has a healthy ecosystem and enough nutrients to thrive.

However, that still doesn’t mean you should keep them around. You never know if the toadstools on your lawn are poisonous, which can be worrying if you have kids or pets that play outside.

If you’re looking for a quick and easy way to get rid of toadstools (and prevent them from recurring), here’s everything you need to know about what causes toadstools and how you can get rid of them for good.

What Causes Toadstools on Your Lawn?

red-toadstool

The most important thing to know about toadstools on your lawn is that they’re not a sign of a serious fungal infection, so don’t panic! It’s usually just that you’ve created the perfect ecosystem for toadstools to thrive – hurrah!

Most of the time, a toadstool outbreak on your lawn is caused by things like:

  • A build-up of organic matter – Twigs, leaves, animal waste and even thatch (which is a build-up of dead matter at the base of your grass) are great food for toadstools. If you have enough of these on your lawn, fungi can easily appear.
  • Changes in temperature or moisture levels – Toadstools love cool, damp conditions. That’s why autumn often invites toadstools to the lawn. Shady areas beneath trees or shrubs are particularly at risk, especially since they shed a lot of debris.
  • It’s a new lawn – If you’ve laid new turf, you may spot toadstools almost immediately afterwards. This is usually because harvesting and laying turf can stimulate any fungi spores that were hiding within.

Are Toadstools Bad for Your Lawn?

Contrary to popular belief, toadstools aren’t normally bad for the lawn. It just means that your grass is healthy and full of nutrition. If you leave the toadstools to break down naturally, they can provide even more nutrition for your grass. 

They can, however, spread very easily – which isn’t the best. Simply mowing the lawn or walking across the grass can spread fungal spores. If you want to avoid a ring of mushrooms smothering your lawn, it’s best to nip it in the bud and get rid of them while they’re small.

When it comes to eating lawn toadstools, it’s not recommended. Unless you’re an expert, it’s hard to tell the difference between poisonous and non-poisonous toadstools. Some lawn toadstools are poisonous. If you have kids or pets, it’s a good idea to remove toadstools to prevent them from being consumed accidentally.

How to Get Rid of Toadstools on Your Lawn

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1. Pull Them Out

A quick and easy way of getting rid of toadstools on your lawn is to simply pull them out. If you can, try to remove the root at the same time just like you would with weeds. Otherwise, the mushrooms will just sprout again. 

To be on the safe side, use gardening gloves or plastic gloves whenever you handle toadstools and make sure to wash your hands afterwards. As mentioned, toadstools are not always poisonous, but they can be. Taking extra safety measures won’t do any harm.

2. Fertilise with Nitrogen 

High-nitrogen fertilisers help speed up the decomposition of organic debris. This is good news for getting rid of toadstools because this debris is what they feed on. No food, no toadstools!

Fertilisers that are high in nitrogen also encourage growth. Therefore, they encourage toadstools to grow quickly (which is a good thing, honest!). Nitrogen speeds up the toadstools growth cycle which reduces their already short lifespan.

Several of the fertilisers that we recommend as the best lawn feeds for spring are high in nitrogen, so they’re worth checking out!

3. Dig Them Out & Re-Seed

Since toadstools can leave spores in your lawn, pulling them out may not remove them entirely. If you want to completely eradicate the issue, you can dig them out and start again.

To do this, dig up the patch of soil at the problem site. You’ll need to dig down at least 30 cm deep and around 50 cm wide to catch all the spores. Once removed, replace the soil and plant new grass seeds. 

As you’ll have realised – this is a pretty brutal approach for the lawn, so it might be best left as a last-ditch attempt only!

4. Wait Them Out

Toadstools have a short lifespan. If you leave them alone, they should break down naturally and go away by themselves – this can happen in as little as a week.

Just bear in mind that toadstools can easily spread and it’s likely that others will crop up after the previous batch has disappeared. If you do choose to wait them out, you will probably have toadstools on your lawn until the season is over.

September to November is the most common time to find toadstools, although they grow in springtime too. 

How to Prevent Toadstools from Returning – 3 Top Tips

toadstools-on-the-lawn-grass

1. Clear Debris Immediately

Fungi thrive on organic matter on your lawn, especially from rotten leaves and twigs. One of the best things you can do to prevent toadstools is to keep grass clear of debris and thatched grass. De-thatching the lawn regularly is a good approach – use a scarifier to get rid of the organic build-up that toadstools love to feed on.

2. Water at the Right Time

Moisture is a toadstools paradise. They love wet and shady patches of grass, which is why you normally find mushrooms growing beneath trees and bushes. 

But it’s not just shady areas that can lead to toadstools. If you water your grass late at night, the lack of sunlight and warmth will create the damp conditions that toadstools love. To prevent fungi (and other fungal infections), only water your grass in the morning or early afternoon.

If you tend to do the watering when you get home from work, you could set up a sprinkler system instead to avoid watering in the evening.

3. Aerate Regularly

Aerating your grass at least once a year can significantly improve the drainage and airflow of your lawn, which can help prevent mushrooms from sprouting. Lawn aerating tools, like aerating rollers or shoes, are easy to use and help reduce soil compaction. In turn, this improves drainage and airflow.

For more information on aerating, check out our ultimate guide to lawn aeration.

Conclusion

Even though the presence of toadstools indicates a healthy lawn, you never know whether they could be poisonous to you, your family or your pets. If you want peace of mind, proper treatment and prevention is key to getting rid of fungi. With these handy tips, there won’t be mushroom (groan!) for toadstools on your lawn anymore.

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