Friday, September 28, 2007

oh no, Mushrooms

Unfortunately we have some mushrooms coming up in our pasture. I've done some research on them to find out how to get rid of them. Seems it's very difficult to do that because they grow by spores that are spread when you pick the mushroom, plus by picking them you leave a part of them underground that will just regrow. Digging it all out is difficult. Many sites suggested just leaving the mushroom. Mushrooms are a fungus that grows on decaying matter. There is lots of decaying matter in our pasture. About 8 years ago many trees were knocked down to create the pasture. Knocking down those trees left a lot of tree roots underground, which now is decay matter. Not to mention all matter that accumulates in a woods, like leaves and branches. It would be impossible to dig out all those decaying roots, left over leaves and other decaying plant matter. The mushrooms are actually good in that they are breaking down that decaying matter.

However, I can't confirm whether or not the mushrooms are poisionous to alpacas. Some mushrooms are, so I don't think it's a chance I want to take!

I've read that sometimes mushrooms are a result of poor drainage. I do not think that is true in our case given our soil is mostly sand. Drainage has never been an issue here. However, our frequent watering to get the grass growing likely contributed to the mushroom growth. I do think the abundance of decaying matter is the big issue, which we can't get rid of. Some sites said that acidic soils are more friendly to mushrooms, so putting down lime should help get rid of mushrooms. We did put down lime before we seeded the grass. Maybe we could put more lime down? I read that you can put down lime in the spring and fall, given the fact the soil is acidic and the mushroom problem I think we should put lime down again in the future, again in the spring and again next fall. Some sites mentioned a lack of nitrogen could encourage mushroom growth, so that is another thing to consider. One suggestion was to use baking soda to neutralize. I've also read to pour bleach on them, but I don't want to use chemicals like bleach or a pesticide since that could be harmful to the alpacas.

I think I will leave the mushrooms for now. Some sites said they bloom for only a short time (the part we see is essentially the bloom). While there the mushrooms do help the decaying matter decay, so it's part of nature. Possibly by letting nature take it's course it will take care of itself. However, I'm concerned given how much decaying matter is there, it could be a long time before the mushrooms run their course. So if there are still mushrooms around when we are ready to have alpacas in our pasture, then I will pick off what is showing. That way the alpacas would not be able to eat them. The mushrooms will reappear so I will have to watch the pasture closely and pick any new growth. But that way the mushroom underground will continue to decay the matter below the surface. Digging out all the mushrooms underground and all the decaying matter would be impossible so total elimination is not possible. I think picking off the tops and staying on top of any new growth is out best option given the situation in our pasture. I will also keep up with lime and consider the nitrogen issue to see if either of those could help slow down or prevent futher mushroom growth.

No comments:

Pin It button on image hover