Mom of 2
Mushrooms tend to pop up in the lawn during cool, wet conditions. They will generally disappear again as soon as dry weather returns. They grow in areas that offer the best food supply (e.g. rotting underground roots and other organic waste), and they can only really be eradicated by removing their food source.
Mushrooms are fungi. Unlike plants, fungi cannot produce their own food. Instead, they rely on absorbing nutrients from their surroundings. In exchange for this food, Fungi play an important role in the garden by helping to process dead plant and animal matter through the process of decomposition. The mushroom you see growing in your lawn is actually the sex organ of the larger part of the fungi that lives and grows underground. The underside of the mushroom cap contains gills (little slits). This is where new spores (seeds) are produced. The caps produce the spores and then cast them out into the world to be carried away by the wind and eventually grow into more mushrooms somewhere else (usually very nearby).
This is why chemical controls (in addition to being toxic), don't work for long. By the time you see the mushroom cap poking up through the ground, it is likely that new spores have already been launched and are already growing. The same is true for plucking them out of your lawn. You can nix the ones you see, but others are likely already on the way.
As for your dog eating mushrooms, certain types of mushrooms can be very toxic to pets depending on the species. Some may only cause a mild gastric irritation that results in vomiting and diarrhea, while others cause permanent damage to the heart, liver and kidneys, seizures and even death. As all dog owners can attest, our beloved companions are not the most discriminating of eaters. The best advice I can give you is to confine your pet to a mushroom-free part of the yard until the weather turns. If you let your pet roam freely, I would suggest regular inspections of your yard (which is a good idea for pet owners anyway) to remove all unidentifiable mushrooms (and other potential hazards) from your dog's environment. Even if you identify the mushrooms as safe for humans (and most likely safe for dogs) it would be a good idea to discourage your dog of this habit so he stays safe regardless of where you take him.
About The Author: Ellen Brown is an environmental writer and photographer and the owner of Sustainable Media, an environmental media company that specializes in helping businesses and organizations promote eco-friendly products and services. Contact her on the web at http://www.sustainable-media.com
If these are random edible mushroom growing on your lawn, just let them grow. Pick them off and compost if you do not know if they are good to eat or not. If the dog is eating them, they must not be harmful.
If these are the fairy ring mushrooms that grow in a circle, they tend to last a long time, and some people hate them with a passion. My mother-in law used to pour boiling water around the ring, with some success, or at least she thought she had success.
If you have mushrooms growing I would think that that indicates a nice moist lawn, with good soil and humus. If the weather gets hotter and dryer, you likely will not be bothered by mushroom growth. (06/21/2008)
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