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Rain brings bumper crop of mushrooms

By Mary Beth Breckenridge Published: July 12, 2013

With all the rain we've had lately, it just may be that the best crop growing in your yard right now is mushrooms.

Not to worry.

The turf experts who contribute to Ohio State University's weekly Buckeye Yard and Garden Line remind us that mushrooms are the fruiting bodies of fungi that provide lots of benefits to plants. Mushrooms may look unsightly, but they're not harmful -- provided you don't snack on them, that is.

Among the mushrooms that commonly pop up in Ohio lawns are the haymaker's mushroom, a little brown mushroom notorious for containing tiny amounts of a hallucinogenic chemical, and the green spored parasol mushroom, which causes a pretty unpleasant form of gastrointestinal distress when it's eaten.

The mushrooms can be dangerous for small children and pets, so either keep them out of the yard when the mushrooms appear or, if your yard is small enough, pick the mushrooms by hand before you let them outside.

It's also a good idea to teach children not to put everything in their mouths, but as every parent knows, controlling that behavior is pretty difficult. Better to supervise young ones closely.

Trying to treat the mushrooms is pointless, the experts say. Besides being largely beneficial, the mushrooms represent only a fraction of the fungus that lives below the surface. Destroying the whole thing is next to impossible.

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