Marisa Y. Thompson
Blame it on the rain. Mushrooms appear everywhere, and county extension agents in the state are definitely hearing about it. This week, I chose the Southwest Yard and Garden column, written by retired NMSU Extension Horticulture Specialist Curtis Smith. August 2020. Visit https://aces.nmsu.edu/ces/yard/archives/ to access past columns. – Marisa Thompson
Question I have mushrooms growing all over my lawn. Should I worry about them? How can I get rid of them?
Susi K, Albuquerque
Answer – I recently received this request from many other parts of New Mexico. One of the mushrooms in the meadow was known as the Stamhorn mushroom, and one man was very worried. In addition to the unpleasant smell, it had a very bad appearance, and she did not want it in the lawn. Other callers are worried that their pets will eat them, and some fear that the mushrooms are dangerous to their lawns and gardens.
The fact is that the mushrooms (or toys) are fruit structures that produce spores to reproduce the fungus that has been growing out of sight for a long time. When the weather is favorable, the mushrooms are created to spread spores and create new fungi. Those mushrooms, which are very common in New Mexico, are not toxic to pets, but if you cannot identify them positively, do not eat them yourself and do not despair that your pets will not eat them. Most pets can examine them, but they may not eat them.
Frequent irrigation, especially in the rainy season, creates the right environment for the mushrooms to appear. Mushroom fungi are destroying old trees, shrubs, and other dead organisms in the area. In other words, they are creating fertilizer and releasing nutrients from this organic substance to living plants on the ground. They are useful.
Mushrooms cannot be removed. Someone thought that they had reached the grasslands. That is not a possible source. Mushroom fungi can come with surface manure or fertilizer, but the most common source is wind. Mushroom spores are very small and travel long distances in wind and wind. As you read this, you are entering mushroom spores, unless you are in an electronic “clean room” or a hospital operating room. Most people do not suffer from airborne spores. Some people develop allergies as a result, but this is inevitable except for people who have to live in fresh air.
Grass cover management in lawns and irrigation are ways to reduce fungal growth and reduce the number of mushrooms grown, but they cannot be eliminated. If they can be removed, they should not be removed because they serve a vital function in our environment. Mushrooms can be fun to look at (unless they look bad or smell bad). So when you see mushrooms, enjoy the natural process by reusing your local landscape elements.
For more gardening information, visit the NMSU Extension City Garden http://desertblooms.nmsu.edu/ and the NMSU Horticultural Publications page at http://aces.nmsu.edu/pubs/_h/. Contact your local Cooperative Promotion Office at https://aces.nmsu.edu/county/.
Marisa E. Thompson, PhD, is an Extraordinary Urban Gardener in the Department of Extra Plant Science, based at the Center for Agricultural Sciences at the University of New Mexico State at Los Lunas.
More Southwest Yard and Garden