10 Things You Should Never Do to Your Lawn

Don't Think All Mushrooms Are Bad
Mushroom aren't always bad news. (Plus, where would the Smurfs live?) pomvit/iStock/Thinkstock

Every year, especially if it rains and I haven't mowed my lawn for a couple of weeks, mushrooms sprout. I don't eat the fungi, and I certainly don't want them on my lawn. They're unsightly. However, not all mushrooms are bad, although some spread disease. Mushrooms contain the reproductive parts of certain fungi. Mushrooms like to chow down on tree stumps, agricultural waste and other decaying matter including animal waste. 'shrooms break down the organic material and release nutrients that can help grass grow.

Mushrooms often sprout from buried and decaying construction lumber and other organic substances. Sometimes mushrooms can discolor the lawn by stimulating grass growth in certain areas, creating a ring in the grass. In other cases, fungal growth permeates the soil, stopping water from penetrating, killing the grass in the area.

If you want to get rid of mushrooms, water less. Or, you can do what I do: mow over the tops or take a 9-iron and swat them like golf balls. Cutting the top off a mushroom does not kill the fungi underneath the soil, but you won't see the toadstool again for a few weeks [source: Weekend Gardner].

Author's Note: 10 Things You Should Never Do to Your Lawn

Here are two things I've learned about lawn care: never weed whack in short pants and always wear safety goggles. Although you might be hard-pressed to wear shorts on a hot, humid day (and your goggles always steam up), don't do it if you're going to be trimming your lawn. I've been hammered by branches, rocks and other flotsam that slammed into my thighs and face as the weed whacker went about its business. So, as we used to say back in the day "be safe ... mow hard!"

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  • Bender, Steve. "Don't Be a Lawn Watering Dummy." Southern Living. July 12, 2011. (March 7, 2014) http://thedailysouth.southernliving.com/2011/07/12/dont-be-a-lawn-watering-dummy/
  • Boyd, John. "Mowing Your Lawn." University of Arkansas Division of Agriculture. (March 6, 2014) http://www.uaex.edu/publications/PDF/FSA-6023.pdf
  • Clark, Danielle. "Reasons for the Grass Turn Brown with Over-Fertilized. San Francisco Chronicle. (March 6, 2014) http://homeguides.sfgate.com/reasons-grass-turning-brown-overfertilized-66896.html
  • Dream Yard. "Mowing Lawn." (March 5, 2014) http://www.dream-yard.com/mowing-lawn.html#.Ux2movldWSp#?1#?1#WebrootPlugIn#?1#?1#PhreshPhish#?1#?1#agtpwd
  • Finneran, Rebecca. "Smart gardeners mulch fallen leaves into lawn to save money." Jan. 24, 2013. (March 6, 2014) http://msue.anr.msu.edu/news/smart_gardeners_mulch_fallen_leaves_into_lawn_to_save_money
  • Haiken, Melanie. "Basic Lawn Care Tips." HGTV.com. (March 6, 2014) http://www.hgtv.com/landscaping/basic-lawn-care-tips/page-2.html
  • Lowe, Judy. "Is it OK to now a wet lawn." The Christian Science Monitor. Aug. 29, 2008. (March 6, 2014) http://www.csmonitor.com/The-Culture/Gardening/diggin-it/2008/0829/is-it-ok-to-mow-a-wet-lawn
  • National Coalition for Pesticide-Free Lawns. "Read Your Weeds: A Simple Guide to Creating a Healthy Lawn." (March 6, 2014) http://www.beyondpesticides.org/pesticidefreelawns/resources/Read%20Your%20Weeds-Organic%20Lawns.pdf
  • Throssel, Clark. "Lawn damage from ice melt products." Greenview Fertilizer.com (March 5, 2014) http://www.greenviewfertilizer.com/articles/ice-melt-lawn-damage
  • Weekend Gardener. "Mushrooms in Lawn." (March 7, 2014) http://www.weekendgardener.net/plant-diseases/mushrooms-090809.htm
  • West Virginia State University. "'Don't Bag it' Mulcher Mower Research Project Summary WVU Extension Service." (March 5, 2014) http://www.wvu.edu/~agexten/hortcult/turf/dontbagt.htm


Yours, Mine or Ours? Leaf Blowing and the Law

Yours, Mine or Ours? Leaf Blowing and the Law

Leaf blowers — they’re hated by some, loved by others. HowStuffWorks looks at the etiquette and the legality of using the ubiquitous leaf blower.