One day you step out of bed, prepare your morning coffee and take a look through the kitchen window to enjoy your beautiful garden.
But in a weird state of things, the mulch is not alone anymore. Fungi is growing on it.
And it doesn’t look any good.
Removing those mushrooms, however, can be a little overwhelming. What steps should you take, how can you do it without harming other plants, and what else should you consider? When removing mushrooms in mulch, it all can be complicated.
Luckily, it is not impossible either. Fungi on your mulch garden are totally removable as long as you follow the correct process. Here, we want to show you exactly that.
Why Do Mushrooms Grow in your Mulch?
First and foremost, why are mushrooms growing in the mulch of your garden? Many reasons arise, like having too many nutrients and dead material. Below we explain each reason more in-depth:
Too much organic material
Mulch by itself is an organic material. However, when paired with roots, plants under the mulch, and even grass can cause a simple mulch bed to become the perfect growth area for mushrooms.
What often happens when mushrooms appear is that this material is decomposing. When the material starts to break down, mushrooms grow to eat it all. As mushrooms begin to eat the material, they grow. Sooner or later, the organic material will wear out, and the mushrooms will die.
A lot of moisture
All types of fungi thrive when the environment is humid. That’s why a lot of rain and overwatering in a mulch garden can cause mushrooms to grow as well. Mulch, being organic material and absorbing moisture exceptionally well, tends to be the perfect base for mushrooms.
Lack of sun exposure
Alongside organic material and moisture, mushrooms require little to no sun. Shaded areas under trees and other garden structures tend to be perfect environments for fungi to grow.
Mushrooms don’t grow in low-quality environments. That means, without richness. That’s why having mushrooms is actually a good sign. Your mulch is rich per se, but probably whatever is below also is. This happens more commonly when the mulch is over rich garden soil.
Are Mushrooms Dangerous?
Despite giving the appearance of a not-care-of garden, mushrooms actually mean the place is healthy. With that said, they produce no damage in the slightest.
Mushrooms are actually edible in some cases. And in most cases, leaving them to grow will even attract more useful organisms, helping your garden get a lot cuter and richer over time.
How to Remove Mushrooms in Mulch?
Even though mushrooms are not necessarily bad, they may still not look how you want them to. In that case, removing them from your mulch is the only way to go. Here are a few steps to take:
Increase the mulch’s pH
Start by increasing the pH level. This means augmenting the mulch’s alkaline content, which is something mushrooms don’t like.
How can you do that? Easy, you use chemical solutions that increase this alkalinity. Among the solutions, you can find vinegar, baking soda, lime, and bleach.
The best way to do this is to mix one part of either of these chemicals with about four water parts. Then spray the solution wherever the mushrooms are located.
It’s vital to use gloves and a mask to prevent the solution from causing damage.
After spraying, wait about 4 days to see how the solution is working. If the mushrooms look unaffected by the increased alkalinity, spray more of the solution.
Rake mushrooms away
Regardless of the chemical you use to increase the mulch’s alkalinity, the mushrooms will eventually die. When this happens, you’ll see how they change colors, and the caps start to tilt (like falling).
As soon as mushrooms start to die, you can try raking them away. The mushrooms should come right off the mulch. Rake all the fungi presence far from the original area to prevent further growth.
Remove the dead caps
Some of the mushrooms will break and fall apart as you rake them. If this happens, you’ll want to clean everything. But focus on cleaning the dead caps over their bodies.
The dead caps tend to have the most spores, so the mushrooms will likely keep growing if you don’t remove these caps.
To keep the mushrooms from growing again, try pouring some fungicide on the mulch. As the name says, fungicide kills any type of fungi, including the most stubborn of mushrooms.
It’s essential to use the fungicide properly. If you pour the fungicide too close to your vegetable gardens, you may cause a bit of damage to the harvest.
Keep the sun coming
Because mushrooms love shaded areas, you may want to open the space for the sun to come in more strongly. Generally, cutting shrubs and trees around that keep the sun from hitting is the way to go.
Sun does two things: it dries up the mulch, reduces moisture, and kills the fungi spores in the process. In short, a lot of sunlight will prevent mushrooms from growing.
Cover in compost or dark soil
It may seem counterintuitive as compost comes with tons of organic material and may increase the soil’s acidity (which mushrooms love). But it does work to prevent mushroom growth, as the already-decayed material is not easy for the mushrooms to feed on.
Also, compost and soil tend to cover the mulch and prevent breathing or getting moist. This obviously prevents mushroom spores from growing.
Replace the mulch
Lastly, it’s worth knowing that mushroom spores may never disappear from your mulch garden. For that reason, you can always replace the whole mulch bed.
Mulch that’s fungi infested may never stop growing mushrooms unless you take extreme measures. That’s why replacing the whole mulch layer is the way to go.
We recommend replacing the mulch completely and raking it around. Then spray some of the alkaline solution on top. This should keep mushrooms from growing for months.
Should you Leave the Mushrooms Alone?
We explained how to get rid of mushrooms. But what if you decide to leave them alone? It may sound counterproductive, but it actually comes with no direct downside. Here’s why:
Like said before, mushrooms mean no harm. You can leave the mushrooms alone even if they’re close to a vegetable or herb garden. There’s really nothing to worry about with mushrooms close.
They Do Good
Mushrooms are dead-material eaters. Because they love decomposing organics, they will actually help get rid of those. If you want to have a cleaner mulch garden, mushrooms may be helpful.
They Look Good
While mushrooms may look like the garden is dirty, it is the other way around. And with some species, you can enjoy an even more beautiful mulch garden. Paired up with gnomes and other decorations, mushrooms look surprisingly attractive.
They Die Over Time
Mushrooms won’t last forever. Sure, they may grow in your mulch and stay for months or even years. But once the organic material drains, sunlight starts hitting more, or the mulch dries out, mushrooms will disappear. It’s a matter of time, so there’s no need to rush it.
So, are you convinced of leaving mushrooms alone? If that’s the case, you won’t be disappointed. Fungi like this are exceptional additions to any garden. And best of all, they require no care at all.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
We answered pretty much every common question most people have regarding mushrooms and mulch. But we may still have left a thing or two. Here are a bit more of these questions with their respective answers:
How many days does it take to get rid of mushrooms in mulch?
It depends on the solution you use and the steps you take afterward. Generally, you can remove them in 7 days or less. But be aware, the faster it takes to remove the mushrooms, the more likely they are to come back.
For better results, try removing in a week or two and keep meddling with the mulch to prevent further mushroom growth.
Will mushrooms bring diseases to other plants?
No. There are no mushroom species that could carry diseases capable of affecting other plants in your garden. In fact, they’re actually helpful, as they break down organic material that your plants can’t consume. This ends up in better soil composition that many plants can benefit from.
Are mushrooms dangerous for my pets?
Most of the time, no. Mushrooms often have no poisonous chemicals to worry about, so pets are usually safe. Even they eat mushrooms for any reason, there’s a low chance they will get sick or worse. In fact, most pets know instinct whether a mushroom is edible or not, so there’s no need to worry.
Can I eat mushrooms growing in mulch?
While pets may not have a thing to worry about when eating mushrooms, it is not the same for humans. Some of the mushrooms’ components can actually be poisonous, so it is always wise to not eat mushrooms unless you’re 100% sure they’re safe to eat. Keep them away from your mouth.
Do mushrooms mean I’m overwatering the garden?
Most mushroom species love moisture, so there’s a chance. But because mushrooms grow for many other reasons too, like sufficient shade, nutrient availability, and organic materials, it’s hard to know.
As a general rule, however, check the mulch consistently before watering it. If the mulch feels moist, even just a little, it’s better not to water at all. Humidity attracts mushrooms and other fungi.
Even though slow-growing mushrooms won’t cause any damage and may even help your garden, getting rid of them is not a bad idea.
If you’re tired of mushrooms in mulch at home, following the advice above will be immensely helpful. They may take a bit longer than you think to disappear, but they will do so sooner or later.
With a better idea of how to do this, it’s time to put that knowledge to work. Get rid of those mushrooms and say hello to a beautiful garden once again!