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.
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.