Mushroom followup - Nitrogen Fertilizer
Our radio station mentioned the deadly “Destroying Angel mushrooms” many times throughout the morning, so it’s becoming quite the news story here.
This email is a follow-up to my prior email, since I decided to research longer-term solutions to eradicate future mushroom growth in the yard. Here is a summary of some of the results I found (with Nitrogen Fertilizer being the easiest long-term solution).
The destroying angel mushroom (Amanita virosa) is the most common poisonous mushroom in North America and unfortunately is also one of the most deadly mushrooms known to man. They should be removed from lawns to prevent children or pets from eating them. Permanent removal requires you to get rid of the conditions that cause the mushrooms to grow in the first place.
The first step begins the SHORT-TERM solution (to avoid near-term danger to pets, etc): Remove the mushroom bodies by hand, put them in plastic bags, seal the bags to prevent spores from creating new mushrooms, and throw the bags in the trash (do not compost the mushrooms nor put them in yard recycling bins). Grab the mushrooms low on the stalk to remove as much of the body as possible. Consider using plastic/rubber gloves, don’t touch your face while working, wash your gloves/hands well when done.
OPTIONAL MEDIUM-TERM step: Mix one tablespoon dish soap per gallon of water. Using a screwdriver, trowel, or other tool, make holes in the ground around the mushrooms. Then pour the soapy water into the holes, filling them up to the top. This should kill the existing mushroom “root” (picking mushrooms does not damage the mycelium, which lives underground and can grow another fruiting body NEXT YEAR).
But the LONG-TERM solution is this step: Apply a NITROGEN-RICH FERTILIZER to your lawn at a rate of 1 pound of actual nitrogen per 1,000 square feet of treated area. This fertilizer will speed up the decay of organic material in the soil, depriving the mushrooms of their nutrient source. Also, consider adding phosphorus and potassium, preferably in the ratio of 3 parts nitrogen, 1 part phosphorus, and 2 parts potassium. A nice side benefit is that this should also give a greener, healthier lawn.
Note: If you simply try to mow over the mushrooms, the spores will spread all over the lawn, so that’s a really bad idea.
Other considerations: Reduce the amount of water that’s making the area damp, seeing that mushrooms enjoy humid environments. Don’t starve the lawn from needed water, though. Mushrooms love the shade, so make sure to let the sunlight into the area as much as possible. For instance, pruning the trees is an effective way to do so.