How to Kill Moss and Toadstools in Lawns

Save

Moss and mushrooms may look awful, but they rarely cause lawn damage. Instead, they are the result of conditions that favor the growth of the fungus but weaken the lawn. Fertilizing the lawn regularly, along with managing shade and soil moisture, can eliminate most moss and mushroom problems.

A mushroom growing in the moss beneath a tree.
(Voyagerix/iStock/Getty Images)

Removing moss and the visible fruiting structure of mushrooms is sometimes enough to control a minor infestation. Rake up thick mats of moss and dispose of them, or dig small patches of moss up with a small trowel. Mushrooms usually sprout from an extensive underground fungal system, which is nearly impossible to remove. Instead, mow over the mushrooms when they sprout up or break them off at ground level and dispose of them. Some lawn mushrooms are poisonous, so wear gloves when handling the fruiting bodies and dispose of the mushrooms where children and pets can't get to them.

A close-up of a garden rake collecting moss in the grass.
stevechatterton/iStock/Getty Images

Moss and mushrooms will return, even after you've removed them, if you don't change the conditions. Moist or wet soil, especially in shaded areas, is most prone to fungal problems and moss. Aerate the lawn with a core aerator to increase drainage. Avoid overwatering, especially in cool weather. Most lawn grass needs watering only once or twice a week during cool weather, or every other day in warmer weather. Provide about 1 inch of water each time you water, and wait to water if if has rained enough to keep the soil moist. If your soil is heavy and compacted, a combination of aeration and an annual topdressing of 1/2 inch of compost spread over the surface of the lawn will add organic matter and help loosen the soil. Rake the compost over the top of the grass so it is forced to the soil surface.

Fertilization by spreading compost over the ground.
viki2win/iStock/Getty Images

Although mushrooms may grow in shade or sun, moss typically only grows in shaded areas. Thinning out overhanging tree branches to allow more sun to reach the lawn can help decrease moss growth. If your grass is sparse because of lack of sun and you can't open the area up to more light, overseed with a shade-tolerant grass variety, such as red fescue (Festuca rubra), which grows in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 3 through 7.

A close-up of a persone with a gloved hand pruning the branches off of a tree.
v_zaitsev/iStock/Getty Images

Chemical controls won't work in the long term if you don't change the conditions to reduce moisture and increase sunlight, but they may work well to control moss after you have made the necessary changes. Ferrous sulfate, also called iron sulfate, sprayed over the entire affected area may destroy moss. Mix 3 ounces of ferrous sulfate in 5 gallons of water per 1,000 square feet, and then spray the grass until it's evenly coated. Chemicals will not control mushrooms. Mushrooms usually grow from decaying roots or wood underground, and they may continue to appear until the wood decomposes completely or it's removed.

Gardening supplies in a wooden crate outdoors.
whitetag/iStock/Getty Images

References

Promoted By Zergnet

Comments

Related Searches

Check It Out

How to Make a Vertical Clay Pot Garden

M
Is DIY in your DNA? Become part of our maker community.
Submit Your Work!