Identify and, if necessary, remove fungi in the lawn

Identify and, if necessary, remove fungi in the lawn

the essentials in brief

  • Cap mushrooms are usually harmless to the lawn and even have a decorative value; Fungal diseases, on the other hand, should be treated
  • Fungal diseases are favored by permanent moisture, too little light, poorly ventilated lawn and acidic soil
  • Fungal diseases can be prevented by good lawn care such as scarifying, sanding, regular watering and fertilizing as well as mowing
  • Fungicides are generally not advisable as they are harmful to your own health and that of insects and any pets

Types of mushrooms

When it comes to fungi in the lawn, a distinction is made between fungal diseases and cap fungi. Hat mushrooms, which sometimes appear suddenly and in clusters in the lawn in late summer and autumn, are usually completely harmless to the lawn, while fungal infections can kill entire areas of the lawn. Most of the time, however, fungal diseases are not really critical or need to be tackled immediately. Many soon disappear on their own when the weather conditions change.

also read

  • Fungi in the lawn as a nuisance - prevention and elimination
  • Remove or dig up old lawn?
  • Cleverly removing old lawn - the best 4 options

Here is a brief overview of a selection of fungal diseases and cap fungi that often occur in lawns:

Fungal diseases:

Lawn rustRed tippedSnow moldDollar blotch diseaseSlime molds
Appearance featuresrusty-looking, yellowish-orange spots on the grass leaf blades, overall lawn appearanceDry-looking lawn islands, reddish leaf tipsLight gray to light brown spots on the lawn, leaves stuck together after the snow has meltedSmall dry spots in the lawnSmall, grayish-whitish, black or yellow, slimy deposits in the lawn
Educational conditions / at what times of the yearWarm and humid weather in summerNutrient deficiency, all year round or especially in summer with high humidityMoist, moderately cold weather in winterIn summer on permanently very short lawnIn summer in warm, humid weather
Countermeasures / PreventionWaiting for dry weather / regular mowing, watering and fertilizingFertilize, do not dispose of lawn clippings on the compostRegular aeration by scarifying and sanding, fertilize in autumnLess often, but water extensively, aerate well (scarify, sand), fertilize with potassium emphasis in early summerNo unconditional countermeasure required due to harmlessness. Regularly scarify, fertilize and water as a preventive measure
SwindlesUmbilical ringsInksBald KremplingAlkaline red bloom
AppearanceSmall, round mushrooms with thin-fleshed fruit bodies in brown to whiteSmall, brown mushrooms with umbrella-like, centrally sunk, coarsely lamellar fruit bodiesWhite mushrooms, when young they are acorn-shaped, later dome-shaped, fruiting bodies that turn black when oldBrownish reddish to yellow mushrooms with a medium-sized lamellar hat, relatively fleshyLight brown, sometimes white or red mushrooms, high stem, flat, sunken to hunched umbrella
Edible?Some species are edibleMost types inedibleThe Schopf-Tintling in particular is an excellent, mild-tasting edible mushroomNo - poisonousNo - poisonous
Inclination to witch ringsEspecially the carnation diverNoNoNoYes


Witch rings on hat mushrooms

In the case of hat mushrooms, in a certain case, despite their growth behavior that does not directly affect the lawn plants, lawn damage can occur: namely in witch rings. A witch's ring, also commonly referred to as a witch's circle, is a circular or semicircular formation of mushroom fruit bodies. This happens when the mycelium grows equally quickly in all directions due to a lack of nutrients.

A witch's ring expands over the years and, without countermeasures, can lead to discoloration and drought damage in the lawn. Of the hat mushrooms, however, only about 80 species tend to form witch rings. The species found in the garden lawn include, for example, the carnation shrimp, the alkaline rötling or the meadow mushroom.

Correctly remove fungi in the lawn

Fungal diseases

Many fungal diseases are not really a threat to the lawn and will evaporate on their own when the weather changes. Even a period of warm, humid drizzle is over at some point. When it gets drier again, lawn rust, red tip and slime mold usually go back quickly and snow mold is also pushed back as soon as it gets warmer and drier again in spring.

The best way to combat dollar blotch is to water less often and more extensively and in depth. In this way, the lawn can be supplied with sufficient moisture, but still has the opportunity to dry off well in between.

In principle, you can counteract fungal infections in the lawn by taking preventive measures. The best way to do this is through the usual care measures that keep the lawn resilient and healthy. So you should regularly:

  • Aerating by scarifying and sanding
  • Water
  • Fertilize
  • mowing


How intensively and often you have to scarify or sand, depends on the site conditions and the soil properties. A heavy clay soil in a shady location is of course much more prone to permanent wetness and acidification, which on the one hand creates favorable conditions for fungi and moss and on the other hand weakens the grasses and makes them more susceptible to infections. For these measures, it is best to use the optical signals of your lawn as a guide.


Watering is a sensitive matter in terms of avoiding fungus. On the one hand, the lawn needs an adequate water supply for its health, but on the other hand it becomes susceptible to fungus if it is too wet. Therefore only blast it during prolonged dry periods in summer, preferably in the early morning hours or in the evening when the sun is no longer directly shining on it.


For basic lawn health, it is advisable to give it a long-term fertilizer once in spring and again in late summer. In order to avoid snow mold in winter, it is important to use a potassium-based fertilizer in autumn.


During the period of fungal disease, mow around the infected areas in the lawn and cut them last. This will prevent the spores from spreading over the areas that are still healthy. Dispose of the clippings in the household waste until the fungal disease has subsided.

Cap mushrooms

If a homogeneous, neat lawn appearance is important to you, mushrooms that shoot up excessively are of course annoying. Most of the species found in the garden lawn appear as small brown, gray, white to orange-colored mushrooms. However, cap mushrooms neither penetrate the grass plants with their subterranean mycelium nor with their fruiting bodies, so that they are really only a cosmetic problem.

With hat mushrooms it often happens that many mushrooms suddenly appear in the lawn, overnight, so to speak. First of all, there is nothing to worry about. Only when they form so-called witch rings can discolouration and drying damage occur.

Suitable control measures are as follows:

  • Deprive the mushrooms of the nutritional basis
  • Tear open the mycelium with a digging fork
  • Earth exchange

Withdraw food sources

Anyone who wants to remove hat mushrooms permanently is required to maintain continuous cutting and scarifying care. It is best to mow regularly with a grass catcher and reduce the thatch with a grid-like scarifying. This deprives the fungal mycelia of the nutritional basis. In addition, it helps to loosen and aerate the soil by sanding it.

But be careful: mowing down alone does not help with mushrooms. On the contrary: they only promote the spread of the spores, while the actual fungus, the underground mycelium, remains undamaged. With the result that all the more fruiting bodies shoot out of the ground.

Targeted damage to the mycelium

You can also put your hand on the mushroom areas in a targeted manner: Arm yourself with a digging fork, use it to pierce the ground several times at the fungal spots and lift it slightly. This can tear open the mycelium and cause it to die

Earth exchange


In the case of clearly delimited fungal areas, especially in the case of witch rings, an earth exchange can also be considered. To do this, remove the upper 30 cm of the soil layer, fill it up with fresh soil and re-sow with the highest possible quality grass seed.


In order not to distribute the spores of hat mushrooms unnecessarily, it is advisable (in addition to disposing of the clippings in the household waste) to remove the fruiting bodies by hand before mowing. If it's edible, collect something for lunch at the same time.


In most cases you should not and cannot work with fungicides. For many fungi that occur in the garden lawn, no chemical agent is permitted. This is especially true for the hat mushroom species. Quite apart from this, it is generally not advisable to use chemical agents, herbicides and fungicides against undesirable phenomena in the garden. You not only upset the biological balance of your garden but also that of the wider environment.

Causes of fungus in the lawn

The causes of fungi in lawns and beds are relatively diverse and are not limited to favorable growth conditions for the fungi. Certain site conditions and care habits can also make the lawn too susceptible to them. The main causes of fungal diseases and annoying cap fungus accumulations are as follows:

  • The lawn and the air are permanently too wet
  • Too little light
  • Matted, poorly ventilated lawn
  • Acidification of the soil

Too wet

As with all fungal diseases in plants, conditions that are too humid are the main cause of the development of fungi in lawns. If it is permanently too wet, mushrooms feel particularly comfortable on it. Especially warm and humid phases in summer with stagnant air are responsible for some fungal diseases. With longer lasting temperatures of 20 to 30 ° C and persistent, drizzly precipitation or even with damp weather in winter, optimal conditions for various fungal diseases are created.

Hat mushrooms also like it moist. Especially under trees, with which many species enter into mycorrhitic symbioses and under which moisture lasts longer, the risk of fungus formation is increased.

Too little light

A lack of light does not necessarily encourage the spread of fungi, but it weakens the lawn and thus increases its susceptibility to fungus. Under tall, dense-crowned trees, the lawn grasses cannot develop a strong sward and become holey and permeable to dreaded sturgeon combinations such as mushrooms plus moss and fungi plus weeds.

Matted lawn


If, as a result of neglected maintenance for years, without regular scarifying, watering, mowing and fertilizing, a dense lawn thatch has formed, the lawn can no longer breathe, which makes it weak and less competitive. On the other hand, the thatch is an ideal breeding ground for fungi. As a prevention against fungi and also in the case of existing fungal infestation, grid-like scarifying is helpful, with which the lawn thatch is combed out.

Acidification of the soil

If, despite good lawn care with sufficient aeration, watering and fertilization, a lot of mushrooms shoot up, this may be due to over-acidification of the soil. Use a simple soil test to check that the pH is below the lower limit of 5.8. If this is the case, compensate for the value in the instructions on the package with lime.

What times of the year do fungi appear in the lawn?

Mushrooms are mainly associated with autumn. However, this association mainly relates to the world of edible mushrooms. When we talk about fungal diseases in the lawn, however, summer is the more important season. Because many of the common fungal lawn diseases develop in warm, damp conditions. Fungi, which should not be regarded as a disease but can disturb the appearance of the lawn - especially cap mushrooms - actually occur mainly in autumn. Isolated fungal diseases only occur in winter, even under a blanket of snow.

Avoid care mistakes

watering too much

Regular watering is a completely correct maintenance measure for a healthy, well-tended lawn. But you shouldn't overdo it either. If the lawn does not get an opportunity to dry off between the blasting, lawn rust and red tipped spots have an easy time of it, especially at temperatures in the 20s range. So only sprinkle your lawn in prolonged dry phases and if possible in the early morning hours, when the sun is not yet scorching down on the grass, but its first, soft rays can gently dry it.

mulching too much or incorrectly

In principle, mulching the lawn is highly recommended. If you mow frequently and leave the clippings lying around, all the nutrients will remain in the lawn and can be recycled. This means that you need less additional fertilizer. The activity of microorganisms living in the soil is also stimulated and the sward compacted, so that even typical combinations such as mushrooms plus moss and mushrooms plus weeds have less chance.

Studies have shown that mulching, compared to conventional mowing (in which the clippings are collected in the grass mower's grass catcher), makes the lawn significantly stronger and more vital.

However, in order for the benefits of mulching to take effect, the method must be used correctly. That means: Above all, you have to mow regularly and at short intervals (preferably weekly during the vegetation phase). When mowing, the lawn should also be as dry as possible and free from other organic material such as fallen leaves. Clippings that are too long or that are sticky and clumped with leaves can also clog the lawn and lead to a lack of light and air. This in turn weakens the lawn and increases its risk of infection.


Regular fertilization is recommended for a strong lawn that is more resistant to fungal diseases. But you can also mean it too well by the fertilization - when it comes to fertilizing, the rule always applies: less is more. Especially if you fertilize too nitrogen in autumn, this can quickly lead to snow mold in winter. Two long-term fertilizers are ideal for a lawn, once in spring and once in autumn. In autumn, you should resort to a preparation made with calibres.

frequently asked Questions

Which mushrooms in the lawn are edible?


Only a few species are edible from the most common hat mushrooms, the swindles. In addition, most of them are not suitable for a decent, substantial mushroom ragout because of their measly size. However, the real garlic dusky mushroom is particularly popular in France as a seasoning mushroom, for example also in dried form. You can also eat the spicy, sweet-tasting clove, which, by the way, is the best method against its harmful effects on the lawn. It works particularly well in mushroom soups, for example.

Inks are also excellent edible mushrooms and also richer in substance due to their size. They can be eaten raw in salads or fried in the pan. But you should harvest them in good time before the hat shields itself and secretes the eponymous black ink liquid for self-digestion.

If you are lucky, the kings of edible mushrooms, meadow mushrooms, may also settle in your garden lawn. The versatility of their usability need not be explained in more detail. The greatest caution is advised, however, because of the risk of confusion with the highly poisonous green cap mushroom.

Which mushrooms in the lawn are poisonous?

In the case of cap mushrooms, a general distinction is made between edible, inedible and poisonous species. There are also representatives of all of these categories in the species that are more common in garden lawns. The bald krempling and the alkaline rötling are poisonous.

The Kahle Krempling contains hemolysins and hemagglutinins, among other things, which can lead to severe, possibly fatal gastrointestinal inflammation. However, the toxins are destroyed by intensive heating. In addition to the poisons, the Kahle Krempling also contains a dangerous allergen, which can lead to the formation of antibodies, which can also be fatal.

The alkaline rötling is also poisonous, but its pronounced ammonia odor is not exactly tempting to taste.

In whose garden certain deciduous trees such as oaks, red beeches, chestnuts, birches or hazel grows, the green leaf agaric, which forms a mycorrhitic symbiosis with these trees, can also settle. As most of you know, this mushroom is one of the most poisonous species. The amatoxins and phallotoxins contained in its pulp can lead to liver failure and death even in small doses. The poisons are not destroyed by heating either.

The most important distinguishing features of the green cap mushroom from the similar-looking but highly edible meadow mushroom are, on the one hand, the lamellae: these are pure white to greenish in the green cap mushroom, white-pink in the meadow mushroom, later brown and finally black. On the other hand, in contrast to that of the meadow mushroom, the stem tuber of the green leaf mushroom is surrounded by a thin, slightly greenish skin sheath.

Are there home remedies for fungus in the lawn?

Using home remedies in the garden is generally not particularly advisable. Many remedies that you have in the household often have more environmentally problematic side effects than damage-eliminating benefits against undesirable phenomena in the garden. No special home remedies have proven effective against fungi.