It’s a lovely morning after a good rain. So, you step outside to get some fresh, moist air, and surprisingly find that mushrooms have popped up! It may seem like they are everywhere – under the bushes, by the trees, or even right in the middle of the yard. This may make you wonder why are there mushrooms growing in my yard
Today, in this blog post, we’ll answer this question in detail so that it fulfills your curiosity. 

What Are Mushrooms?

Let’s begin with some basics. What are mushrooms? Are they plants? No, not really. Many people mistake mushrooms for plants. Mushrooms don’t make their own foods using photosynthesis, so they are not plants. 
Though mushrooms have a “plantlike” form, they are actually fungi. They are like the above-ground part of a fungus that lives in the soil. They simply pop up when it is the right time, usually after rain. Besides, if there is enough moisture and shade, they can form overnight.  
The upper or visible part of mushrooms isn’t the main body. The main body of the fungus remains under the ground which is called mycelium. Most mushrooms are good for the soil. They are beneficial decomposers. 
Yet, you should watch out while dealing with mushrooms, as some of them might be poisonous.  

What Are the Common Yard Mushrooms?

Several common mushroom varieties can appear in your yards. For instance, table mushrooms or white button mushrooms (Agaricus bisporus) are edible fungus that naturally occurs in grassland.  
You may encounter these mushrooms in your yard or lawn as they often thrive in the organic matter present in the yard/lawn. Besides, varieties of species of yard mushrooms such as the fairy ring mushroom (Marasmius oreades) or the ink cap mushroom (Coprinopsis atramentaria) can emerge in your garden or yard in a circular pattern or cluster. 
Note that most of these common types of mushrooms are harmless. However, some wild mushrooms can be toxic, and consumption can cause severe health issues. 

Reasons Why Are There Mushrooms Growing in My Yard?

You might be curious about why is there mushrooms growing in your yard, especially after rain. First of all, you should not panic, if you see them in the yard. These fungus can form in the yard, lawn, or garden if they find suitable conditions. 
Nevertheless, mushrooms in your yard also indicate that the soil is full of organic materials. Their growth depends on the right mix of moisture, shade, or cloudy weather. 
Here are the key reasons why so many mushrooms are growing in your garden, yard, or lawn. 

#1: Healthy Yard Soil

Healthy soil makes mushrooms happy! If so many mushrooms are growing in your yard, it means that the yard soil is healthy and fertile.    
Beneficial fungal life is abundant under the soil that goes unnoticed. The stems and caps of mushrooms that we see above the surface are just a part of the long body of entire organisms. They consume decaying organic materials like leaves, tree roots, and stems under the soil and sprout in the form of mushrooms
The Mushroom’s reproductive structure or the hidden part of the fungus is mycelium which provides a transportation network to pass nutrients along the fungal body (mushroom).  
If your yard soil is full of helpful microbes and nutrients, they just create the right conditions for mushroom growth. 

#2: Mushroom Lifecycle

Mushrooms appear only for a short period of time. They are like transient existence. You may see them after heavy rainfall, and in warm and humid conditions. They intend to release spores into the environment. Mushroom spores are microscopic, single-cell reproductive structures
Once the sun heats for too long, the soil dries up, mushrooms disappear as quickly as they appeared. However, though the visible part of the mushroom vanishes, the fungal mycelia endure and continue growing under the surface.  

#3: Moisture and Humidity Hub

Mushrooms love moisture and humidity. If your yard soil retains the right amount of moisture, it simply creates a comfortable environment for mushrooms to emerge. When it rains, humidity increases and the soil becomes mushroom friendly. This is why you’ll see many growers using humidity controllers for growing edible mushrooms in grow rooms. 
Note that damp and warm areas with abundant organic matter are an ideal environment for fungal growth. Excessive organic matter and poor drainage system lead to standing water. And compact soil. These conditions can offer an inviting setting for mushroom proliferation.  

#4: Shady Conditions and Yard Care Practices

Mushrooms have always shown better growth, and adaptability in dark or semi-dark conditions. They don’t need too much light to grow. This is why shaded yards encourage them to appear above the surface. If your yard isn’t cared for and managed correctly, it can contribute to mushroom overpopulation. 
Besides, overwatering, excessive mulching, and over-fertilizing provide excess nutrients to the soil that eventually creates a conducive environment for mushroom growth

Why Mushroom Growing in the Yard Is a Good Thing?

If you’ve mushrooms in your yard, leave them as they are. Mushrooms are fungi that act as nature’s decomposers. They break down dead organic matter and convert it into nutrients for your soil. 
Here's why you should keep mushrooms in the yard:  

  1. Beneficial decomposers: Mushrooms are the fruiting bodies of fungi that live in the soil. They primarily serve as decomposers.  
  2. Organic matter decomposition: They play key roles in breaking down dead and decaying organic matter such as tree stumps, roots, and leaves.  
  3. Nutrient cycling: Mushrooms can help the nutrient cycle by converting organic material into bioavailable compounds that other organisms can use for nourishment. 
  4. Humus formation: Their existence supports the formation of humus. Humus is a dark, organic material that forms in soil. It makes the soil fertile and helps prevent disease in plants. 
  5. Soil Stabilization: Yard mushrooms can help the soil to stabilize. If you start gardening in your yard, it will be useful for creating a balanced environment for healthy plant growth. 
  6. Aggregate Formation: Mushrooms can contribute to the formation of soil aggregates. This will improve the soil’s structure and water-holding capacity. 
  7. Signs of Healthy Soil: Yard mushrooms indicate that the soil in your yard is healthy and there’s a lot of fungal activity going on beneath the surface. Besides, beneficial fungi like mycorrhizal fungi help plants to uptake nutrients especially phosphorus by forming symbiotic relationships. 

In short, most gardeners keep mushrooms in their soil for two reasons – for healthy soil signal, and the additional nutrients to the soil.  

Mushroom Poisoning: Are Mushrooms Growing in My Yard Can Be Toxic?

Mushrooms grown in the yard or lawn are not dangerous to humans or pets unless they eat them. According to research published in PubMed, it is estimated that there are over 5000 species of mushrooms worldwide, however, only 20-25% of mushrooms have been named and 3% of these are poisonous
Several toxic mushrooms can grow in your backyard, lawn, or garden. This is why if you’re not 100 percent sure of its safety and edibility, avoid consuming them. Besides, you need to ensure that children and pets don’t eat those toxic fungi as well. 
Here are some mushrooms that may grow in yards, or wild areas and can be toxic:  

  1. Death Angel Mushrooms (Amanita virosa): It has a bright white color and often appears near oak trees. This destroying angel is extremely poisonous. Though you can touch them, don’t ever eat them. They can be between 4 and 10 inches long, and you should find them either singly or in groups. Death angel mushrooms are common in Europe, Mexico, and Central America. 
  2. Death Cap Mushrooms (Amanita phalloides): It’s the deadliest mushrooms that contain heat-stable toxins. Eating them can cause damage to your liver and kidneys as well as death. However, death cap mushrooms can be confused with some edible straw mushrooms due to their pretty similar appearance. You may discover this deadly fungus beneath oak, and pine trees as well as in beech, birch, chestnuts, and eucalyptus trees. 
  3. Fly Agaric Mushrooms (Amanita Muscaria): Fly amanita is weirdly controversial, with exquisite appearance is considered poisonous. It has distinctive red or yellow caps with white spots. Though it’s poisonous, some people attempt to eat it after boiling repeatedly to eliminate toxins. These mushrooms can be found in North America, Europe, and Asia. 

On a final note, regarding mushroom poisoning, though most mushrooms are not poisonous, you should still not eat them blindly from your yard. Also, you should keep your children and pets away from naturally grown mushrooms.  

How Can I Identify Dangerous Mushrooms?

Identifying dangerous or poisonous mushrooms is a difficult task. However, there are some general characteristics that might indicate that toxicity. 
Here are the key points to consider while trying to identify toxic mushrooms: 

  1. Many toxic mushrooms have a white underside of the cap instead of brown. 
  2. Some poisonous mushrooms have a ring or skirt around the stem, known as an annulus. 
  3. Watch out for mushrooms with red coloring on the cap or stem
  4. Toxic mushrooms might have an unusual or unpleasant smell

Take it as a general guideline, and not all toxic mushrooms show these characteristics. It’s always the safest option to leave it if you’re unsure of its safety and edibility. 

How Can I Get Rid of Mushrooms in My Yard?

Now that you why are there mushrooms growing in the yard, and how certain mushrooms can be toxic, you might have been thinking about eliminating the mushrooms from your yards, for good reasons. 
It’s clear and loud enough!  
To keep your children and pets safe, you can certainly want to get rid of mushrooms from the yard
Here's what you need to do:  

  1. Remove them manually. Use a shovel or spade to individually dig out the cluster of mushrooms
  2. To eliminate fungus as much as possible, dig at least 12 inches deep
  3. To dispose of it properly, toss the mushroom pieces into a bag, and dispose of it. 

What you shouldn’t do:  

  1. Do not use mowing. Mowing over the mushrooms will make things worse. It will spread millions of fungal spores across your yard. Spreading mushroom spores is like sowing seeds of mushrooms. This might eventually cover the whole yard full of mushrooms. 
  2. Don’t use fungicides even though it’s effective. This can harm the beneficial fungi present in the soil

How to Prevent Mushrooms from Growing in My Yard?

To prevent mushrooms from growing in your yard, simply ensure the following: 

  1. Since mushroom loves moist conditions, ensure proper drainage in the yard to prevent water accumulation. 
  2. Mushrooms are fed on organic matter, so avoid over-mulching, over-fertilizing with compost or manure, and leaving excessive grass clippings
  3. To reduce the moisture that encourages mushroom growth, aerate your yard/lawn to improve drainage. Aeration can enhance the level of oxygen reaching the grassroots
  4. Stop overwatering since this practice can create a damp environment conducive to mushroom growth. 
  5. Since mushrooms do grow well in shady conditions, exposure to increased sunlight can stop their growth. You can trim back or thin out vegetation. Doing so will allow more sunlight to penetrate deeper into the affected area
  6. Although you can use fungicides to control mushrooms, they are not recommended as they may harm beneficial fungi as well
  7. Last but not least, keep your yard well-maintained. Remove all the debris such as leaves, and fallen branches


Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Here are some relevant questions and answers related to why are there mushrooms in my garden. 

Are The Mushrooms Growing in My Yard Edibles?

Most of the mushrooms growing in the yard are harmless and contribute to the backyard’s ecosystem. However, you should not eat them unless you’re one hundred percent sure of their safety and edibility. If you want to avoid the risk of getting sick or dying (worst-case scenario), make sure the mushroom species, the one you intend to eat doesn’t have any poisonous lookalikes.  

Should I Worry About The Mushrooms in My Yard?

All mushrooms aren’t bad. If your yard is full of naturally grown mushrooms, know that your yard soil has an excellent amount of organic materials. By helping to break down these organic materials, mushrooms can make your soil more productive. Still, you might be worried about yard mushrooms since some wild mushrooms might be toxic to humans and pets. This concern can make you persuade to prevent or eliminate mushrooms from the yard/lawn, or garden. 

What Are The Most Common Mushrooms That Grow in The Yard?

The most common mushrooms that may appear in yards include Agaricus species (like the white button mushroom), Amanita muscaria (fly agaric), and various types of inky caps. Note that some mushrooms can be toxic. If you’re unsure of any yard mushrooms, it’s best to avoid consumption.  

The Bottom Line

Mushrooms in your yard pop up due to various factors. Firstly, they can be influenced by environmental conditions and the presence of rich organic material in the soil. The growth of mushrooms is accelerated by heavy rain, a mix of moisture, shade or cloudy weather, and organic matter.  
Most mushrooms are beneficial decomposers that break down dead organic matter such as stumps, and roots. If wet and humid weather persists in your yard, it triggers fungi, to send up fruiting structures.  
In case you want to eliminate the visible mushrooms from the yard for a safety issue, you can remove them manually using a shovel. Besides, as a preventive measure, you should avoid over-mulching, over-fertilizing, and overwatering.