Mulch is popular among gardeners as a means of keeping weeds under control, and because it can be aesthetically pleasing, bringing a lot of color to your yard. Another good thing about mulch is that it will also significantly aid with moisture retention.
Moisture retention, however, can lead to the formation of patches in the mulch where mushrooms can thrive. This can be an issue from an aesthetic standpoint, but you may also want to get rid of them because the mushrooms are most likely toxic, and you don’t want your children or pets to consume the mushrooms and become ill or worse.
Mushroom growth is most common near trees, plants, and in landscaping mulch and bark. The reason we encounter this problem so frequently is that they receive their energy from decomposing organic compost. Mushrooms grow in moist conditions, and our garden beds and lawn are frequently damp after being watered or experiencing heavy rain.
Removing those mushrooms can be a little daunting. Fortunately, it is not impossible. Fungi on your mulch garden can be completely removed if the proper procedure is followed.
First And Foremost, Why Are Mushrooms Growing In Your Garden Mulch?
There are numerous reasons for this, including an abundance of nutrients and decaying debris. Each reason is explained in greater detail below:
There Is Too Much Organic Material
Mulch is an organic material in and of itself. However, when combined with roots, plants under the mulch, and even grass, a simple mulch bed can become the ideal growing environment for mushrooms.
When mushrooms develop, it is simply an indication that this material is decaying. When the material begins to degrade, mushrooms develop to consume it all. The organic substance will eventually wear out, and the mushrooms will die.
A Great Deal Of Moisture
When the environment is humid, is when all species of fungi thrive. That’s why a lot of rain and overwatering in a mulch garden might encourage mushroom growth. Mulch, as an organic material that absorbs moisture effectively, happens to be an excellent substrate for mushrooms.
Inadequate Solar Exposure
Mushrooms, in addition to organic matter and moisture, require little to no sunlight. Shaded spaces under trees and other garden structures are ideal for fungi growth.
A Healthy Garden
Mushrooms do not thrive in poor-quality conditions. So, having mushrooms growing in your garden is an indication of good and healthy soil. And they do no harm other than making your garden look less inviting.
In fact, having mushrooms in your garden may make it healthier by attracting more beneficial species, therefore it can be a good idea to leave them in veggie and fruit gardens but remove them from flower beds.
How To Get Rid Of Mushrooms In Mulch?
Even if mushrooms aren’t necessarily harmful, they might not look the way you want them to. In that scenario, the only option is to remove them from your mulch. Here are a few things you should do:
Break Up The Mushroom Colonies
Using a garden rake, lightly scrape the mulch surface every two or three days during normal weather and every day during wet weather. Raking breaks up mushroom colonies and aerates the mulch, which reduces the number of new mushrooms that can grow.
Remove The Dead Caps
As you rake the mushrooms, some will shatter and fall apart. If this occurs, you will need to clean everything. However, concentrate on removing the dead caps from their bodies. Because the dead caps contain the most spores, the mushrooms will most likely continue to grow if these caps are not removed.
Hide Unwanted Mushrooms
On top of the decomposed mulch, apply a 1/2-inch layer of fresh mulch. This hides the unsightly mushrooms and keeps your landscape looking beautiful.
Mushrooms Can Be Manually Removed
Put on gloves and handpick all the mushrooms from the mulch. You could dispose of the mushrooms in a compost pile, but if children have access to your compost pile you should better do it in the garbage bin. This will keep your children from becoming ill if they come into contact with potentially harmful mushrooms.
Mushroom-Affected Mulch Must Be Removed
Remove all mushroom-affected mulch with a garden fork or spade and add it to your compost pile, mix it in and let it rot for six to nine months, mixing the compost with a garden fork roughly every two months. When the compost is dark and crumbly, with no visible mushrooms or white threads, you can spread it over the soil of your garden as a mulch.
Make Use Of Baking Soda
When it comes to properly kill mushrooms, one of the finest suggestions is to use baking soda. There are several species of mushrooms, but many of the typical ones found growing under mulch thrive in acidic soils.
Baking soda can be used to upset the pH equilibrium and kill the mushrooms. To begin, combine one tablespoon of baking soda with one gallon of water. You can spray this baking soda and water mixture over the mushroom-infested areas of your garden. Make an effort to be as thorough as possible in order to eliminate all of the mushrooms.
When you spray the baking soda water on the soil, the alkaline levels rise and it produces a natural fungicide that can fully eliminate the mushrooms in your mulch in about three days. If you’re searching for a low-cost solution to your mushroom problem, this is it. Baking soda is fairly affordable, and chances are you already have some in your kitchen cabinet.
Get Some Fungicides
Fungicides, of course, will be one of the most prevalent treatments for mushroom problems. However, this choice will not actually destroy the mushrooms, but it is a superior approach for preventing mushrooms from sprouting in the first place.
However, this does not rule out the use of fungicides. You might use the baking soda and water method described above to kill existing mushrooms, and then spray your garden and your mulch with a fungicide to prevent mushrooms from growing in them.
Do Some Trimming
If your mulch beds are beneath a tree, consider pruning the tree’s limbs to allow sunlight to reach the mulch bed. This will assist to dry out the mulch and make mushroom growth more difficult.
Use Homemade Vinegar
If you need another way to destroy mushrooms in your garden, consider if you have some household vinegar on hand. You probably keep vinegar on hand as a cleaning agent or an ingredient. You can prepare a spray capable of destroying mushrooms with regular white vinegar. Fill a spray bottle with one part white vinegar and four parts water.
After you’ve mixed everything together, you’ll be ready to start spraying the mulch. The acetic acid in the vinegar will soon destroy the mushrooms, and you will be more than pleased with the outcome. This is another excellent alternative for those looking to tackle this issue without spending too much money.
Soap And Water
If you don’t have baking soda or vinegar on hand, soapy water may suffice. You’ll only need a small amount of dish soap to get this to work.
Combine two tablespoons of dish soap and three liters of water. Once you’ve made your mixture, all you have to do is spray it directly on the mushrooms. This basic mixture should be able to deal with minor mushroom issues.
Begin Cleaning Up Your Yard
If you leave debris in the yard for an extended period of time, it is probable that more mushrooms will grow in the region. Many people forget to rake leaves or leave heaps of wood sitting around for an extended period of time.
It’s not always simple to find time for yard work when in between your busy schedule, however, cleaning up the yard is a necessary task to prevent mushrooms from sprouting in your backyard.
Spend some time raking the leaves and disposing of the mounds. Pick up any fallen tree branches or other pieces of wood that have accumulated in the yard. If you maintain your yard tidy, the mushrooms will not have access to the nutrients they require to develop. This will result in fewer spores and a lower likelihood of mushroom infestations in your mulch.
Avoid Watering More Than Necessary
As previously stated, moisture is an important aspect of the growth of mushrooms. You may be encouraging mushroom development by overwatering the garden area.
Yes, you must water your plants in order for them to thrive, but you may be going too far. Perhaps you’re getting water where it’s not needed and causing surplus moisture.
If you can be more cautious with your watering techniques, you will be less likely to have mushroom problems in your yard. If you rake it on a regular basis and don’t overwater it, the mulch should remain free of mushrooms.
Change The Mulch
Finally, keep in mind that mushroom spores may never completely vanish from your mulch garden. As a result, you may always change the entire mulch bed.
Fungi-infested mulch may never stop sprouting mushrooms unless drastic steps are taken. That is why changing the entire mulch layer is the best option.
We propose totally refilling the mulch and raking it around. Then splatter some alkaline solution on top. This should prevent mushrooms from developing for several months.
Contact A Professional
Finally, you may simply call the specialists and have them come out to handle the situation. There are landscaping businesses that can do everything for you and guarantee excellent outcomes. They can replace the mulch in your gardens while also removing any mushrooms that have grown on your property.
Overall, this will be the most convenient alternative for someone who doesn’t have a lot of time to tinker with things.
Living With Mushrooms
Sometimes, no matter what you do, these obstinate mushrooms just keep reappearing in your garden, but this is not necessarily bad news, you can always choose to keep them or use them as compost for your plants. Keep in mind that mushrooms can aid your garden by converting organic materials into nutrients, and this will help with the proper growth of your plants. Below we will show how to accomplish this task.
Mushroom Composting: A Step-by-Step Guide
If you have flower or vegetable garden beds, turning those pesky mushrooms into mushroom compost can provide nutrients to your plants, allowing them to produce tastier food and more vibrant flowers. Producing mushroom compost at home is similar to making normal compost. In this section, we’ll show you how to prepare mushroom compost to feed your gardens step by step.
Combine Compostable Materials
Mushrooms can’t form enriching compost all on their own, therefore you’ll need to combine them with other elements to make homemade compost. You could combine the mushrooms with items such as leaves, wood shavings, newspaper, straw, hay, cardboard, and kitchen scraps,
grass cuttings and manure.
Avoid things like meats, greases, and processed meals when incorporating kitchen scraps into your mushroom compost. For your homemade compost recipe, stick to fruits and vegetables. When it comes to manure, you should avoid using dung from pets such as dogs or cats. Instead, use cow, horse, or llama dung if available.
Fill Your Compost Pile With Water
Once you’ve gathered all of your compostable materials in a container, you’ll need to soak it with the garden hose just enough to make it feel like a wet sponge. Water the compost pile frequently, but not excessively, or you risk rotting it rather than turning it into compost. The compost pile should be warm and humid, not wet and soaked.
If you’re new to composting, use a thermometer to track the progress of your compost pile. As it “cooks,” the center of the pile should be around 130 to 150 degrees Fahrenheit.
Turn Your Compost Pile Once A Week
Once your compost pile has attained an interior temperature of 130 to 150 degrees Fahrenheit, toss it once a week with a shovel or pitchfork. This allows air to circulate throughout the pile, assisting in the composting process and preventing waste from becoming squashed and producing an odor or starting to rot.
When Your Mushroom Compost Is Complete
When your mushroom compost is no longer warm and has become dry and crumbly, it is ready to use. It will also have a general brown tint to it, similar to commercially available compost. When fertilizing your garden, merely apply a thin layer of an inch or so in thickness. This ensures that your plants receive additional nutrients without being wasteful.
Now that you have read this article, you should be able to solve your mushroom troubles with ease using any of the techniques mentioned above. Just decide whether or not you want to turn the mushrooms into compost or keep them as they are.
If you’re taking care of your garden yourself, remember to keep track of how much water you use. But if you’re concerned about not having the time or energy to take care of things, you could also seek professional assistance.