When you use mulch, you can find mushrooms growing in it no matter how careful you are in your garden. Mulch comprises decomposing matter such as wood and bark chips, peat moss, pine straw, and even hay.
These things combine to generate an acidic environment conducive to mushrooms growing in mulch and other fungi. Even if you refresh your mulch regularly, you’ll notice it enables mushrooms to grow.
Mushrooms in your mulch can be an ugly addition to gardens and flower beds, although they are safe for plants.
Aside from that, it can be even worse if dogs or children consume them because there is no way of knowing what strain of poisonous fungi they are eating, and it could get them sick.
In our guide, you can find the best ways to get rid of mushrooms from your mulch. By the end, you’ll see what this gardening material is loved by mushroom, mulch application, and what you can use that won’t harm your plants. (Read 7 Must-Have Tools for Gardeners)
How Do I Get Rid of Mushrooms In My Mulch Naturally?
Removing mushrooms can be a difficult and time-consuming task, so it’s important to know which method works best.
Here are some of the more common ways to go about this.
Because mushrooms thrive in acidic soils, raising the pH of your mulch is the first step in combating them. The simplest way to do this is to combine one tablespoon of baking soda with one gallon of water and spray the affected areas with it.
Baking soda not only raises the alkalinity of the soil but also acts as a natural fungicide, killing mushrooms in as little as three days.
Lime is frequently recommended; however, it isn’t as effective at getting rid of mushrooms as you’d expect. Lime works like baking soda and raises the soil pH. However, the difference is it slows mushroom growth instead of killing them.
Besides this, lime can be harmful to use and if you get it on your skin, it can cause burns. When using, you need to wear gloves, goggles, and a face mask, even when using non-caustic lime.
Soap and Water
Another common household item that you can use to kill fungus is dish soap. It’s safe to mix into a solution, you can use if you have mushrooms in your flower beds. Mix two tablespoons of dish soap per three gallons of water and spray on mushrooms growing in mulch in your flower bed and around your shrubs.
Fertilizers work in two ways. First is they encourage plant growth while they prevent fungus growth in mulch. Nitrogen-rich fertilizers make the process of decomposition of the organic matter faster and effectively decomposing the mushroom’s food source.
With this, they grow and decompose faster than normal by overdosing on nutrients.
Slow-release fertilizers don’t have the same impact, so it’s best to avoid these as the slow release of nutrients could be beneficial for the mushrooms.
Does Vinegar Kill Mushrooms in Mulch?
Mushroom growth is more common among trees, plants, and landscape mulch and bark where there is shade. Mushrooms get energy from decomposing organic compost and the moist environment where garden beds are wet after rain.
Mushrooms in the garden show healthy soil and do little harm besides looking ugly. It’s advisable to leave the growing mushrooms in vegetable gardens and to remove them from flower beds.
Here is how you can kill mushrooms with vinegar as it offers a natural solution. When properly applied, the vinegar acid will not only kill your mushrooms but prevent them from growing in your mulch again because of the chemical nature of vinegar.
Here are the steps you need to use this natural fungicide to remove mushrooms from mulch.
- Dilute one part of white vinegar and four parts of water.
Add to a spray bottle.
- Spray the mushrooms using your vinegar solution. Cover your eyes with goggles or protective glasses.
- Hold the spray 4 to 6 inches from the mushrooms. Spray generously and avoid any grass or your other plants.
- Let the vinegar work for three to four days to do its job and respray any mushrooms still living.
- Keep monitoring until they have all have died and remove any dead mushrooms from the mulch and dispose of them. Wear gloves when doing so.
How Do I Kill Mushrooms in My Flower Beds?
Mushrooms are a common landscaping issue and are fungi that grow underground in your soil or mulch and feed on many food sources in flower beds.
Grass clippings, compost, old mulch, and rotting tree stumps are all sources of wet, decomposing organic matter for mushrooms. Once you remove food sources, then the mushrooms wither up and die.
Remove stumps, refresh decomposing mulch, rake up mowed grass and clear your garden beds.
Mushrooms thrive as they can be a symptom of over-watering or poor drainage. You can’t control the rain, yet you can control how much water you give your plants. As the soil dries up, plants establish larger root systems, and the mushrooms go naturally.
Because mushrooms like the shade, make sure there is nothing creating shade around your flower beds. Remove overhanging branches to let more light onto your flower beds.
How Do You Kill Mushrooms Without Killing Plants?
Here are more ways you can deal with the problems of mushrooms in your mulch without killing your plants.
Rake The Area
Regardless of treatment to raise alkalinity in your mulch, mushrooms will die. When you see this, rake them away from the area. Mushrooms should leave the mulch so rake them to a far-off area away from your plants.
Remove Dead Caps
Mushrooms break and fall apart as you rake, so focus on removing the decaying caps as these are where the spores are. It is these that would spread.
To keep the mushrooms from growing again, add some fungicide to the mulch. Fungicide kills any type of fungi, including mushrooms. Use fungicide properly. Wear protective materials and keep the fungicides away from your plants and veggies. Also, make sure pets and kids don’t go in the area while the application is fresh.
Plenty of Sun
Mushrooms love shaded areas, so open your flower beds to let more sun in. When you trim shrubs and trees, it’s enough to keep the mulch dry and evaporate the moisture enough so mushrooms can’t grow.
Finally, remember mushroom spores can stay in your mulch garden for extended periods. If you don’t use any of the other methods, simply renewing fungi-infested mulch can be enough to stop mushrooms from growing. (Read 5 Best Vegetables to Grow for Your Garden)
It is best to replace all your mulch beds rather than a bit here and a bit there. The materials are cost-effective, and a new layer makes your garden beds look pristine, and it can be a long time before you face the issues again.