Toadstools in Turf
I’ve more than a passing fascination with fungi and at this time of year they can be hard to escape – they’re literally popping up everywhere and often causing a lot of distress, especially to those lawn-loving gardeners or when they suddenly appear in a newly mulched flower border. So if your life is suddenly full of scatterings of little toadstools, what should you do?
If the toadstools have appeared in beds and borders, as long as the plants are all OK, then no need to panic: The toadstools are pretty definitely living on organic debris, and they LOVE mulch be it well-rotted manure, garden compost or wood chip and bark chip mulches. These sort of fungi rarely pose a threat to living plants, they’re what is known as saprophytic and feed on already dead material, Nature’s breaker-downers and totally harmless to your beloved shrubs or perennials.
If there are scattered areas or straight-ish lines of toadstools on your lawn then again, no need to worry about the lawn’s health, these too will be living on dead matter. They are often encouraged by a build up of ‘thatch’ (dead grass clippings and other organic debris) or by the presence of dead tree or shrub roots beneath the grass – these are the ones which generally follow a straight-ish line ie the route of the root! Improving lawn maintenance eg by collecting up clippings when you mow, scarifying and aerating usually reduces problems with the randomly scattered toadstools. With those growing from dead roots the best solution is to do some excavations! Use a sharp spade to cut a line close to the line of toadstools, dig out the dead root, fill the area with fresh soil (so you don’t end up with a line of subsidence) and fold back the turf. Panic over!
Sadly, fairy rings as they are known, are virtually impossible to control unless you are prepared to move many cubic metres of soil, so I say just wait until the ring expands so much that it reaches the edge of the lawn….then it should die out naturally!