NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

September 18, 2013

Tim's Tips: Mushrooms sprouting up everywhere

Tim's Tips
Tim Lamprey

---- — I was walking the dog on Sunday morning, and I noticed that there were a lot of mushrooms growing in many of the grassy areas. I’m sure that many of you will find mushrooms growing in your lawn.

This outbreak of mushroom growth occurs when there are some pretty exact conditions occurring in the environment. Whenever there is an increase in moisture in the soil and when organic matter is decomposing in the soil, you will often find an increase in mushrooms growing on top of the soil.

If there is a large number of mushrooms popping up, people will often ask me why this is happening now. My usual answer is, “When did you cut down the tree?” People will look at me and wonder how I knew that they had a tree taken down. The mushrooms told me so!

Mushrooms need some type of decaying organic matter as a medium for growth. The roots or stump of the tree provide that matter. Because the mushrooms look unsightly, people often want to use something to make them go away. My stock answer is that I can sell them something that will make the mushrooms go away in two weeks. Or, the customer can do nothing, and the mushrooms will go away in two weeks.

With the arrival of fall comes the planting season for tulip and daffodil bulbs. These bulbs flower in the spring, but they must be planted in the fall. When you plant these bulbs in the fall, they put out a root system. As the soil temperatures get cold, the bulbs become chilled.

In the spring, the soil temperatures get warmer, and this causes a reaction in the bulb that causes it to put up a flower stalk and then to bloom. If the bulb does not have this cycle of rooting, chilling of the bulb and then the warming of the soil, the bulb will not bloom properly. This is why you seldom find tulip and daffodil bulbs being sold in the spring. You will find pots of bulbs that have been chilled and then warmed up to bring them into bloom.

If you want some beautiful spring color, now is the time to plant tulip, daffodil, crocus, hyacinth and other spring-flowering bulbs.

One of the most important things you can do for your lawn in the fall is to apply lime. If you applied lime in the spring, you should purchase a pH soil test kit. If you need to apply lime, you can figure out how much you need based on the square footage of your lawn and how acidic the soil is.

If you didn’t lime in the spring, it is almost a sure thing that you need to lime your lawn now. Remember that weeds grow very well in an acid soil. Grass does not grow very well in an acid soil. By regularly applying lime to your lawn, you can get the pH to be at a level that encourages the growth of grass and discourages the growth of weeds.

Well, that’s all for this week. I’ll talk to you again next week.

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Tim Lamprey is the owner of Harbor Garden Center on Route 1 in Salisbury. His website is www.harborgardens.com. Do you have questions for Tim? Send them to ndn@newburyportnews.com, and he will answer them in upcoming columns.