We gave up on grass for much of our front yard after a disastrously hot and dry summer last year. (I couldn't morally live with the idea of soaking the yard with enough water to keep the grass alive, especially as I watched the primary area reservoir sink lower and lower.) So the problem parts of the yard are now covered in a few inches of dark mulch, with some rocks and native drought-tolerant shrubs, succulents, etc. Looks a little goofy but I'm happy with it for the most part.

Anyway it's been a lot wetter so far this year. Over the past couple of days we've seen a burst of mushroom activity. There are lots of them, almost uniformly across the shadier part of the area. Now to me, ignorant though I am, that means that there's some really happy fungus working over the bottom layer of the mulch, which is probably a really great thing for the soil (which still has to keep some 20yo live oak trees alive). I figure it's a good thing to leave them alone, and I already plan to add some more mulch pretty soon and turn it over to some extent.

The things are kind-of freaking my wife out however, and she's worried that they might actually be bad for the trees.

I can't say that I've seen this specific type of mushroom before, but then I've never had any of that particular kind of mulch in my yard and I figure the spores were there when it showed up in the truck last fall.

  • 2
    Related: gardening.stackexchange.com/q/1529/109 (I believe the answers there, especially Mancuniensis', might answer your question too). If so, let me know and we can close it as a duplicate. Mar 17, 2012 at 16:45
  • I saw that one, and I agree that they seem related, however I'm not educated enough to know whether the fact that that one was specifically about mushrooms in the lawn, while I specifically have mushrooms in the absence of a lawn. My concern (well, my wife's concern) is for our trees, not lawn. I acknowledge (and expect, in fact) the answer might be the same however.
    – Pointy
    Mar 17, 2012 at 16:48
  • Yeah, I'm mostly certain the answer is the same — "don't worry, or if you do, then just pick them out" — we'll let a few others chime in and see if they vote as a dupe or perhaps answer differently :) Mar 17, 2012 at 17:09
  • This is a different question.
    – J. Musser
    Mar 18, 2012 at 2:04
  • Exactly what kind of mulch is it?
    – Ed Staub
    Mar 19, 2012 at 17:43

1 Answer 1


The mushrooms will not harm the trees. They are decomposing the mulch, and have no interest in a live tree. If you want to, you can remove the caps and stalks, as these are just reproductive organs and do not have anything to do with the fungus health. A layer of mulch like that, while decomposing, will take up a large amount of nitrogen from the soil, so sprinkling blood meal should help the trees.

  • OK, fascinating. So this "blood meal" stuff can be applied atop the mulch, or should I sort-of fold it in? I'll be adding mulch anyway (apparently something I'll be doing forever). Thanks!
    – Pointy
    Mar 18, 2012 at 13:09
  • 1
    blood meal is a mildly smelly granular powder that can be spread with gloves and raked in.
    – kevinskio
    Mar 18, 2012 at 22:55
  • @kevinsky, you stole my words!
    – J. Musser
    Mar 19, 2012 at 0:17

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