How Aeration Can Prevent Mushrooms in Your Yard

Written by Angie's List staff
Updated June 27, 2012
Aeration removes plugs of soil like these to improve airflow to grass roots. (Photo courtesy of Stewart Armour)

Have mushrooms started popping up in your yard?

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Mushrooms and decay go hand-in-hand, says Dustin Marchello, owner of Live Earth Inc. a highly rated landscaping company in Gladstone, Ore., near Portland.

Typically, a spout of mushroom growth indicates something in the yard is dying, such as a stump or tree roots left over from a long-removed tree, or an accumulation of grass clippings, roots and debris called thatch.

“If you just spray, the mushrooms are going to keep coming up,” Marchello says. “Fungus grows usually in dark, shaded, moist areas. If you change that, you shouldn’t get mushrooms.”

He says the best landscaping solution involves raking the mushroom area to introduce sunlight and air, or aerating the lawn. Aeration, which he says starts at about $95 for an average-size lawn, pokes thousands of holes in the lawn to loosen compacted soil and improve drainage. In turn, aeration can prevent mushrooms from growing in your yard. For customers who want a quick fix, Mike Basile, owner of highly rated Basile Landscaping & Lawn Care in Kirkwood, Mo., near St. Louis, says he’ll kill the mushrooms with fungicide, which starts at $85 and goes up, depending on the size of the area. But it’s not a permanent fix. “The real solution is to find and remove the food source,” he says.

In the end, mushrooms may be an eyesore, but both landscapers say they may help the yard because the mushrooms enrich the soil by breaking down dead material into compost. “People pay us for compost,” Basile says. “The best answer is you don’t do anything. You let it go. This is Mother Nature.”

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