Everything’s coming up mushrooms

I first noticed one from inside my house as I looked out the window. I thought it was a piece of trash in the yard, a small white balled-up piece of paper perhaps. I ignored it, hoping it would leave the same way it came, maybe on a gust of wind.

Then earlier this week when I was trying to photograph the beautiful yellows, oranges, and reds of the trees that are coloring our view in a 360 degree theatre sort of way, I noticed more than one little white blot on our now overgrown grass and realized they were rather large mushrooms.

I discarded my immediate concern for a little white dog who frequents the yard as I quickly remembered the little creature is a picky eater and won’t even eat his dog food unless I am in the kitchen with him.

I feel fairly certain he never snacks on anything that grows outside. And why should he when he has a bag full of diced cooked chicken in the freezer?

Once my fear of poison sprouting from the yard subsided, my thoughts turned more scientific. Why do I have mushrooms in my yard? I wondered. So I googled that exact question and got quite a few hits. I went with the one from Scotts.com because I think they know a lot about yards. According to Scotts.com you can blame the occurrence of mushrooms on “the right mix of moisture, shade or cloudy weather, and organic material in the soil.”

“Mushrooms are fungi, or rather, the reproductive part of fungi that live in the soil. Most of the time, the fungi just stay hidden, breaking down organic material. But, when conditions are right, they burst forth, like desert flowers blooming after a rain. Mushrooms spread spores into the air and then go away when the sun comes out or the soil dries up,” Scotts.com

If you’re so inclined, you can try to reduce the eruption of mushrooms by decreasing the shade in problem areas, increasing the ground drainage, removing old tree stumps, and promptly removing pet waste.

I found a picture of our mushrooms at AmericanMushrooms.com. They are called the Shaggy Mane mushroom,  are very common, and reportedly have a really nice flavor. I haven’t tried them. I still firmly adhere to the rule that if you don’t know for sure what something is, don’t eat it.

From Mushrooms in the Middle at Wordsxo

Some people intentionally grow mushrooms. If you want to know how, you might find Julia’s post from last year at Wordsxo, Mushrooms in the Middle, informative and entertaining.

Of course, I don’t need to go to all the bother that Julia details in her post. I’ve got a little white animal apparently spreading more than enough organic matter throughout the yard to sprout all the Shaggy Mane mushrooms we could possibly desire—another reason I’m not ever likely to eat these mushrooms.


27 thoughts on “Everything’s coming up mushrooms”

  1. Aww, thanks for the mention, Christine! That was a lot of fun planting those mushroom spores with my friend, but I’ll probably never do it again — we just got too little return on investment (two mushrooms, haha). And I’m with you — I will not eat any mushroom I find in the wild! Beautiful photos, too, by the way. (p.s. I always worry, like you did, about my dog eating the mushrooms we see in the wild — but like Arthur, Abby has never given them a second look. She prefers her mushrooms sauteed in butter 🙂

  2. I got a pic of a squirrel eating a mushroom last year. Surprised me. This year I’ve seen little crops of mushrooms popping up around the neighborhood. Maybe those are the homes with dogs. 🙂 I knew there was a reason I didn’t like them!

  3. we have mushrooms here and there, about the back field, every year. This year, they seem more colourful than usual. Can’t blame the dog, she doesn’t make her deposits back where the mushrooms grow. I’m very confident that our animals know what is okay to eat and what is not. They seem to have an innate wisdom about that. Kind of like us, really, who are not willing to eat something unknown – like mushrooms growing wild in the back field.

    1. I suspect most animals either know or learn by experience what to stay away from. The first question the vet asks me if I call because Arthur has thrown up is, “Has he eaten something he shouldn’t have?”

  4. Love the mushroom images, but even more than that, I love that photo of Arthur. Our older and larger dog Ralph also won’t eat unless we are in the room with him. However, he has been know to eat his sister Lucy’s poop in the yard. I know–gross!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  5. We have lots of mushrooms all around our house in the woods. A few years ago, I went fall mushroom hunting with a friend and brought home a bag-full of the most delicious specimens. (Can’t remember their names.) However, I have never felt comfortable to harvest wild mushrooms on my own without someone who can 100% identify. Except for morel mushrooms in the spring. I’m confident about those!

    1. Agreed. But then apples may be the only thing I truly feel safe about picking off of a plant or tree and eating. Have you ever seen the show, Man vs. Wild? A guy goes out into the wilderness and has to survive with minimal supplies (and a camera crew, of course). But he does things like eat spiders… I would be in big trouble if I had to fend for myself in the wild.

  6. Animals will generally instinctively know what’s okay to eat and what needs to be avoided. I’d imagine their sense of smell picks up on something not to touch.

    I remember up at my parents’ place one summer, a portion of the front lawn got quite a lot of mushrooms coming up. I was up visiting, and this woman comes up the driveway, asking if it was okay for her to take some. I asked if she knew the difference between the good ones and the poisonous, and she did (I didn’t). So she went off and picked a bunch.

    I like mushrooms in a meal, but I don’t know enough about telling the difference between them in the wild to take a chance.

    1. That’s funny about your parents’ lawn. I read that the spores mostly stay underground until enough moisture prompts them to surface. So it could be that your parents will always have the possibility of these mushrooms.

      But I’m with you. I’ll let someone else decide what’s safe to eat and buy mushrooms from them. Preferrably cleaned and in a package.


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