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How to Get Rid of Mushrooms in Mulch (Using 6 Methods)

How to Get Rid of Mushrooms in Mulch (Using 6 Methods)

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Mulch is a crucial garden element that helps improve your plant health. It promotes air flow in the soil, which results in more efficient temperature regulation.

At the same time, mulch keeps weeds under control so they don’t compete with your plants for nutrients. It also increases moisture retention, thus saving you the time and energy in watering your plants frequently. 

However, your plants aren’t the only ones benefiting from this moist environment. Such optimal conditions encourage mushrooms to sprout, too. Thankfully, I have some helpful and easy tips on how to get rid of mushrooms in mulch. 

Note, it’s essential to remove mushrooms because apart from ruining your garden’s visual appeal, they also pose a threat especially to children and pets for being poisonous. Read on to learn more.

Why Mushrooms Grow in Mulch

Mushrooms thrive in a mulch bed as it provides the ideal, stable environment for it to grow on—moist, warm, and rich in nutrients. 

Essentially, they start as tiny spores that are invisible to the naked eye, but as rapid growers, they’ll form a cap and stem structure in no time. These spores are produced by mature mushrooms and are transported through air. 

Further, mushroom spores don’t always grow in soil the way plants do, instead they grow in substrates such as wood chips or straw which are common mulch materials. 

Other types of mulch where mushrooms often grow are peat moss, hay, pine straw, and bark chips.

How To Kill Mulch Mushrooms

Thankfully, there are plenty of easy and practical ways to get rid of mushrooms in mulch. In fact, you’ll find these remedies in your own pantry!

1 – Use Baking Soda

Most mushrooms thrive best in an acidic environment, that’s why an alkaline substance can be used to alter the pH of the soil or mulch.

That said, use baking soda to throw the pH balance off and kill the mushrooms. To do so, mix one tablespoon of baking soda into a gallon of water.

After that, spray the solution to areas infested with mushrooms. The alkaline levels of the soil will increase when you spray the baking soda water. It also creates a natural type of fungicide that can completely eradicate the mushrooms in your mulch within approximately three days.

If you’re looking for an affordable way to take care of the mushroom issue, then this is it. Baking soda is very inexpensive and there’s a good chance that you have some in your pantry already.

2 – Invest in Efficient Fungicides

Fungicides are among the most common solutions to mushroom problems.

Using fungicides doesn’t actually kill the mushrooms, however. Instead, they prevent them from growing in the first place.

That’s because fungicides are only meant to kill mold and mildew – not mushrooms. So, this method is useless if the mushroom has already sprouted.

This doesn’t mean that fungicides won’t be worthwhile. You can still spray your garden and treat your mulch using fungicide so that you can keep mushrooms from being able to grow in the first place.

3 – Consider Household Vinegar

You likely keep vinegar in stock as either a cleaning tool or a cooking ingredient. But did you know it’s highly efficient in killing mushrooms?

Simply put one part white vinegar and four parts water into a spray bottle then go to town on those pesky mushrooms!

The acetic acid in the vinegar is going to be able to kill the mushrooms quickly and you’ll be happy with the results.

Vinegar is another great option for anyone who wants to solve this problem without having to spend too much cash.

4 – Spray Soapy Water

Soapy water might be able to do the trick if you don’t have baking soda or vinegar that you can use. For this to work, you’re going to need a bit of dish soap.

Mix two tablespoons of dish soap with three gallons of water. Once they’re mixed well, spray the solution directly on the mushrooms.

This simple mixture should be able to take care of mild mushroom problems. For a bigger infestation, you’ll need to get vinegar or baking soda.

5 – Replace the Mulch

If you have a severe mushroom infestation, you’ll be better off completely discarding the old mulch.

Once you’ve thrown the old mulch out, lay down fresh new mulch. And this time, remember to treat the new mulch with fungicide to prevent mushrooms from becoming a problem again.

You’re going to have to replace old mulch sometimes anyway, right? 

But, in case you’ve recently replaced the mulch, try killing the mushrooms instead.

How to Prevent Mushroom From Growing in Mulch

Taking the necessary precautions means less mushroom problems down the road. Let’s see what you can start doing to prevent future mushrooms from growing in your mulch.

1 – Keep Your Yard Clean

More mushrooms will grow in the area if you’re leaving debris in the yard for too long. For example, many people forget to rake leaves or they leave piles of wood lying around for too long.

I get it. It isn’t always easy to find the time for yard work. But, it’s going to be important to clean up the yard to prevent those mushrooms from growing.

So, find the time to rake the leaves and dispose of the piles. Pick up fallen tree branches and other pieces of wood that are sitting in the yard as well.

This way, the mushrooms won’t have the material that they need to grow. That means fewer spores and the less likely possibility that your mulch will have mushroom issues.

2 – Rake the Mulch

Raking your mulch regularly can also keep mushrooms from growing. Simply take a rake and turn the mulch over from time to time.

Remembering to do this should prevent the mulch from allowing mushrooms to form. It’s a simple prevention method that works rather well. 

Consider it a quick weekly chore – something you can certainly make time for in your busy schedule. It’ll also keep the mulch aerated and prevent excess moisture from building up.

3 – Add a New Layer of Mulch

Every few years, it might be a good idea to add a new top layer of mulch.

Remember that mulch will generally take up to seven years to fully decompose. Topping the garden area with a bit of fresh mulch can be a good way to stave off mushroom growth.

You don’t want the mulch to be thicker than two or three inches, though.

4 – Avoid Overwatering 

As I said before, moisture helps mushrooms to grow. You might be encouraging growth by watering the garden area too much.

While you do need to water your plants so that they can do well, you could be going overboard. Perhaps you’re getting water in spots where it isn’t needed—thus creating excess moisture.

Be more careful with your watering practices, and you’ll be less likely to have issues with mushrooms in your yard.

5 – Get Rid of Organic Matter

Mushrooms, at the end of the day, are a type of fungus. As such, they need organic matter, or in simple terms, natural food sources to feed on. It’s how they can sprout, grow, and double in numbers.

So, what kind of organic matter is there in your mulch and yard for mushrooms to eat?

Simple. If you have pets around, for instance, their waste is considered organic matter. Accordingly, make sure to remove their poop as soon as possible.

Lawn clippings, stems, branches, and sawdust are other items that you should get rid of right away as well.

Here’s a thought: What happens if you’re using an organic-based mulch? What do you do then?

Organic mulch types are highly conducive of mushroom growth. Raking it periodically will prevent it from drying out and forming mold or fungi. The fresh air will keep them at bay.

Don’t water organic mulch as often either as, and I can’t stress this enough, the moisture will only help the mushrooms.

6 – Aerate Your Lawn

Speaking of raking, aerating your lawn regularly kills any fungus in your mulch as well as your grass. Remember: a grassy, green lawn doesn’t mean it’s fungus-free.

In other words, annually aerating your lawn can prevent a load of problems. Invest in or rent an efficient lawn aerator and use it to introduce air and oxygen to your soil. 

Consider removing compressed, dead grass too – we call this dethatching your lawn to allow for a healthier landscape. 

Final Thoughts

There you have it, folks! 5 proven ways to get rid of mushrooms in mulch and 6 preventative measures you can take today to stop them from growing in the first place.

At the end of the day, we don’t want to take extreme measures to kill mushrooms. They’re still living organisms—even if they feed on decaying matter. 

Keeping in mind the precautions I shared with you today guarantees no mushrooms or guilt!


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