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One issue I didn't cover in last week's email tip about all the recent rain, was the resulting onslaught of mushrooms.
It was an amazing crop, brought on by the perfect witch's brew of warm temperatures, summer fertilization and excessive moisture.
I have been swamped with emails on the subject, and prople (many in a panic) want to know how to control them. The answer to the question is - DON'T! Thank you for your time, drive safely, and have a great weekend!
Okay, I'll give you more information, but you really don't have to do anything. Most mushrooms we see in our yards are beneficial fungi — saprophytic fungus. They are actually an indication of a good thing: lots of organic matter present. The part of the mushroom you see is sort of the "fruiting" structure of the fungus exploding forth. They love wet, warm weather, and as long as there's organic matter to feed on, they will continue to reproduce. Once it's all been consumed by the fungus, the mushrooms will disappear. That, however, could sometimes take several years.
The best solution is to ignore the mushrooms. Or, you can rake them out or pluck them up when they appear. If you prefer, you can just mow them down.
There is no "silver bullet" spray that will make them go away without killing everything else in the soil, too. There are, however, a couple of topical fungicides that can reduce their numbers. I've recommended Consan Triple Action 20 for this for years. Or, if you want an organic method, dust with agricultural sulfur.
The second most often-asked question about "shrooms" is, "Are they edible or poisonous?" I think it is unwise to eat mushrooms from your yard, even though these kinds of mushrooms may not, themselves, be poisonous. But the organic matter they grow in is. And because the types of mushrooms found in yards vary by environment, the time of year, and the weather conditions, it is usually best and safer to assume that any mushroom in your yard is poisonous. I always err on the side of "paranoia" and feel it's not worth taking a chance. Even if they're not poisonous by definition, they may still be somewhat toxic, and that could mean stomach discomfort for some folks ingesting them.
Here are a couple of websites that can help you on edible and poisonous mushrooms.
Here's an amusing sidebar (which may only be funny to my Texas A&M brethren ). There is an Aggie yell (Aggies do "yells," not "cheers)" simply called "Military." Former students will know it as the one where they salute. At the end of the yell, it goes, "A&M, Give Us Room!" Of course, back in the '80s, those of us with a sense of humor could never resist saying "A&M, Give Us Shrooms!" I still chant that when I go to A&M games, and I use it on the air from time to time when someone calls in with a "shroom" question. So, if you've always wondered why I do that, now you know the rest of the story. (My apologies to the late, great Paul Harvey.)
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