Lawn mushrooms or toadstools

Toadstools or lawn mushroomsLawn mushrooms are the bane of gardeners everywhere; we usually refer to these unwanted pests as toadstools.  Toadstools are really the same thing as mushrooms but are often poisonous.

These members of the fungus family pop up when we get a little moisture, so they are a common sight once rain appears, as it has been doing a lot lately.   They are not harmful to the lawn if left alone, but people with pets and children may be concerned about these unwanted visitors being ingested, causing sickness or death – so for that reason, it may be advisable to rid your yard of them.

Tips for removing lawn mushrooms

These fungi thrive on decomposing plant matter, whether it’s old roots, sawdust, animal droppings, or a fallen log. They also thrive in dark, wet areas. Some of the suggested treatments involve these steps:

  1. Remove what they are feeding on, such as pet waste, a buildup of mulch or leaves, etc.
  2. Wearing gloves, carefully cut or remove the lawn mushrooms and put them into a plastic bag that you seal so that it cannot reproduce.
  3. Aerate or de-thatch your lawn.
  4. Add soapy water to the area where you have removed the lawn mushroom.
  5. Another option, perhaps not the best first choice, is to apply a fungicide.

Do wear gloves when handling them directly.   Want more info?  Here are a few articles to help:

Bob Villa: mushrooms in the lawn

Mushrooms and Other Nuisance Fungi in Lawns (University of California)

 

 

 

Watch for Dampwood Termites in Silicon Valley!

Miguel Torres and dampwood termite at Almaden Winery neighborhood of San JoseI’ve been selling real estate since 1993, full time, in Silicon Valley. Until recently I had never seen dampwood termites in this area, but a few months ago I caught sight of  a dead one at the Almaden Winery neighborhood (on the Cambrian and Almaden border) when our pest inspector, Miguel Torres from Thrasher Termite, noticed it and gave me an education on them.  Luckily there were no live dampwood termites to be found! I thought it was a weird fluke.

Fast forward a few months, and  again this week I saw first the much smaller,  immature dampwood termites (so I didn’t recognize them, but suspected that they were termites of some kind as they were coming out of rotting wood) and a few days later saw the large and now mature dampwood termites swarming in the same location in Belgatos Park, Los Gatos, close to where my family and I live. Initially I thought they were strange moths as there was a lot of flapping motion, but on closer look I could see that they were indeed termites and they were big!!! (more…)

“The house was ‘termited’ four years ago. Do we need to do it again?” – Question of the Day!

This afternoon I was driving along Blossom Hill Road in Los Gatos, with my destination being the salad bar at Whole Foods, when my cell phone rang.  A woman who did not identify herself or her location said to me, after noting that she called the number from the blog/site, “a house was termited four years ago. Do we really need to do it again?”  She needed professional, unbiased real estate advice, and figured that since I had nothing to gain either way, I’d tell her the truth.

I asked her what she meant by “termiting”.  Was it an inspection, a fumigation, or some other treatment that was done 4 years ago?  She elaborated that the house was tented for (drywood) termites four years ago.  She didn’t want to waste her money “termiting” again (to use her words).

“Are you buying a house?” I asked her.  “Yes” she confirmed.  I continued, “then you probably should get a termite inspection from a licensed and reputable company because drywood termites can come right back after the treatment.  Not only that, but the inspector will look for other things, like subterranean termites, dry rot, fungus, boring beatles, and more.” (I did explain that you don’t just tent for drywoods – they may or may not be a problem. What you want is an inspection to see if there’s anything that does need treating. The inspector might find cellulose debris, for instance, and will note whether it’s infected or not.) (more…)