Gardening for many people means a lot of things other than just growing fruits, vegetables, and flowers. For some, it is a way of relieving stress and burning calories.
Others say it helps them live in the moment, while others get a sense of accomplishment and pride when they watch a seed, they sow in their garden grow and blossom.
Gardeners, to get the best from their soil, usually cover the surface of the soil in their garden and around their plants with different materials like pebbles, organic plant residues and the like, all in the bid to control weed, conserve moisture, amongst others, this whole process known as mulching is an integral part of gardening.
What Are the Main Concerns About Mushroom in Mulches?
However, there is something problematic to many farmers. Sometimes, the materials they keep around their garden as mulches end up being overrun by mushrooms.
This occurrence is a matter of concern because they are not sure what effect these mushrooms will have on their plant’s productivity, their person, and even their kids and other pets and animals they have around.
Gardeners concern about mushrooms in their mulches is that these mushrooms might be poisonous and thus pose a health hazard for them and their families.
There are so many questions begging for answers regarding mulches and mushrooms, and some of them are.
Are Mushroom in Mulches Good
Mushrooms in your mulch can be good and bad, depending on how you see them. For starters, they say a lot about the condition of your garden.
This is because they are mostly found in mineral matter rich soils. Hence the more the mushroom in your mulches, the healthier your soil is.
These mushrooms are fungi, and they work together with bacteria to help break down some of the very complex materials in the soil and change them into forms that the plants and other useful organisms in the soil can use.
In other words, mushrooms help plants to get their “nourishment”. Some of the organisms found in the soil help in converting organic material into chemical compounds that plants assimilate to grow better.
The downside to mushrooms in mulches is that they don’t look a beautiful sight in the garden, and there are tendencies that children might pluck them and eat them, which will get them sick because the mushrooms found in mulches are not edible. Hence mushrooms in your mulches are good for your plant, but they might not be good for your eyes.
Can Mulches Cause Mushrooms?
Most mulches are made from hay, pine straws, wood chips and stuff like that. These mulch materials are very rich in organic matter, and these organic matters are the materials that mushrooms feed on and decompose.
Hence, mulches provide a conducive environment for mushrooms to thrive; that is why mushrooms are so common in them.
The relationship between mushrooms in the garden can be mutually beneficial because the mulches “house the mushroom” while they help “feed” the plants.
Are Mushrooms a Bad Sign in Your Garden?
Mushrooms in your mulches can say a lot about you and your garden; for instance: you don’t care about the aesthetics of your garden, whether they look good or not, just like seeing weed in your garden says that you don’t care how your garden looks.
But in the case of weeds that can hamper the growth of your plants, mushrooms in your mulches, on the other hand, have a good effect on your plants.
So, mushroom rather than being a bad sign in how your garden is rather a signpost yelling, “my garden is so rich in plant nutrients”.
How Do I Prevent Mushrooms from Even Growing at All in My Mulch?
It is always easier to prevent fungi infestation than trying to eliminate them when they have taken root. It is cheaper and less time-consuming, but it also gives one this sense of being very responsible as a gardener.
Below are the very simple things that you can do to stop mushrooms from growing in our mulches:
- Maintain good hygiene in the garden: the garden must always be kept clean by clearing all debris like leaves, branches, animal wastes, and the garden’s likes. This is not just to make the garden look neat but also to forestall, creating an environment conducive to these mushroom spores that are airborne and waterborne from germinating in your mulch.
- Water just adequately: too much water sprayed in the mulches can encourage the growth of mushrooms. Mulches have a very high ability to retain water, and too much moisture encourages all fungi’ growth. Hence, anything that can be done to give the plants just adequate water and not more will help prevent mushroom growth.
- Mushrooms grow luxuriantly in shades, so any trees or shrubs that provide this shade for them should be cut down as this will help prevent their growth.
- If the mulch in the garden has been there for a while, topping up the old mulch with new ones will help reduce the decomposition process that encourages the growth of mushrooms.
- All mushroom infested mulch should be discarded using a shovel and a rake and replaced with new ones.
- The mulch should be aerated from time to time to lessen their water retention; this is done by raking the mulch. This also helps to destroy any mycelia of the mushroom that is about to take root.
Are These Mushrooms in My Mulches Harmful to Me, My Animals, And My Pets?
Most of the mushrooms in mulches are not harmful to people, pets, and animals when you touch them or come in contact with them.
However, some mushrooms can be poisonous and cause nausea when kids or animals eat them; hence, the best thing to do is get rid of them if kids and animals have access to your garden.
Now we come to the one-million-dollar question:
What Can I Do About Mushrooms Growing in My Mulch?
There are different ways of dealing with the mushroom-in-mulch problem in your garden, and these solutions are so simple that you will think, “why did I have to wait this long to get rid of these fungi” they include:
- Vinegar: vinegar is rich in acetic acid, which easily kills most fungi, including mushrooms. Vinegar kills the mycelia and spores of these mushrooms when appropriately applied. One part of vinegar should be mixed with four litres of water, then sprayed liberally on the mushroom infested spots.
- Get a good fungicide: fungicides are only effective if the mushrooms have not taken deep roots in your mulch. Once they are firmly rooted, then you will have to use other options. Fungicides are best used for preventive purposes. Whenever fungicides must be applied, they must be done by experts.
- Use soap and water: a mixture of 2 tablespoons of dish soap and three gallons of water sprayed on the mushroom infested mulches will eliminate these mushrooms.
- Baking soda: mushrooms thrive in very acidic environments, and anything that alters this acidity affects them. Baking soda has a very pH value and is alkaline. Hence when one tablespoon of baking soda is mixed with a gallon of water and sprayed on the mushroom, it kills them within days.
- The use of lime: lime does not kill these mushrooms; it only slows down their growth. Lime must be used with care because it can be very corrosive, especially if they are concentrated. Safety measure to imbibe while using lime includes wearing gloves, goggles, and masks.
What If I Decide Not to Do Anything About the Mushroom on My Mulch?
If you do not have kids and animals that might be tempted eat them, and you are not bothered by their sight and how it makes your garden look: in fact, some mushroom really looks like flowers and so can look beautiful, then you shouldn’t bother anything about them because they are harmless and will eventually die on their own
The whole issue with some mushrooms in mulch is more of “I hope these things are not dangerous to my plants? “And indeed, they are not. They are helpful in decomposing organic materials in the soil; hence, they help make our plants grow better.
We need not worry about them because they are neither harmful nor poisonous. However, if you hate how your garden looks, you can use simple homemade solutions to take care of them.
Even if you don’t want them to show up at all in your garden, simpler solutions like changing old mulches, raking the mulches, and many others work wonders.
Just garden away and don’t let something as harmless as mushrooms in your mulches stress you out because they are not an issue.
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Hope this article helped you learn how to Prevent Mushroom in Mulch. You may also want to check out our article on How to Get Rid of a Tree Stump With Charcoal.
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