yard

"What can I do about mushrooms in my lawn?"

“What can I do about mushrooms in my lawn?”

By Jim Hole

It’s funny how many of us find mushrooms such a wonderful addition to our pizzas or omelets, but are horrified when they emerge from our lawns. The first thing to remember about mushrooms that pop up on lawns is that the vast majority of species are beneficial organisms, with only one species being a bit of a pest.

Let’s start with the pest. The Fairy Ring mushroom (Marasmius oreades) is the one species that most lawn aficionados hate. Usually, this fungus first noticed as a ring of mushrooms with dead or dehydrated grass occupying the middle of the ring. The reason the grass dies is due to the high density of waxy mushroom ‘roots’ (properly called hyphae) that shed water away from grass roots and compete for space.

There are no registered chemical controls for Fairy Ring fungi, but the “poke and soak” method can be used to, at least, reduce the severity of the fairy ring.

“Poke and soak” involves using a root feeder (hollow metal stake with reservoir on the top), hooking a garden hose to it, and then stabbing it into the ring and turning on the water. Water that penetrates into the ring not only helps to hydrate the grass roots but it always encourages the growth of microorganisms that compete with the Fairy Ring fungi. Adding some horticultural soap to the reservoir will make the water “wetter,” and allow better water penetration around the hyphal strands.

The “poke and soak” method is not perfect, but it helps.

Non Fairy Ring mushrooms that emerge after thunderstorms are just the fruiting bodies of fungi that are consuming organic matter in the soil, including bark, compost, dead roots, and more. They are not plant diseases, but instead, are saprophyte which means they are fungi that eat non-living organic matter. Saprophytes are, actually, beneficial for soils in lawns and gardens. Rather than trying to kill these mushrooms, I say, grow to love them…if you can!

Now if you are thinking that you would like to add some of these lawn mushrooms to your pizza, don’t do it unless you can - with absolute certainty - correctly identify which ones are edible and which ones might be poisonous.

There is a great aphorism that I love about mushrooms. It goes like this: "There are old mushroom pickers and there are bold mushroom pickers, but there are no old, bold mushroom pickers!”

Quick & Easy Garden Tricks!

Not everyone has a lot of time to spend in the garden, but that's okay! The good news is that with a few easy tricks, you can still have great looking gardens in a matter of minutes. Here are a few easy to do examples that took less than 10 minutes to make each, and look fantastic!

Rather than planting individual flowers into your garden, a quick way to fill your garden with flowers is to use hanging baskets instead.

Simply dig a small hole, remove the flowers from the hanging basket pot, and place into the hole, filling in the soil around it. That's it!

Repeat as many times as you'd like. It looks great and takes only minutes! 

BEFORE

BEFORE

AFTER

AFTER

For these pots, we simply filled them with potting soil, added two planters to, and one hanging basket each, to make instant flower pots that look as though they've been growing in the pot for months!

Stop by Hole's today!

The Birds, The Bees, & The Butterflies

Pollination is the transfer of pollen from the stamen (male part of the flower) to the pistil (female part of the flower), which results in the formation of a seed.

Hybrids are created when the pollen from one kind of plant is used to pollinate and entirely different variety, resulting in a new plant altogether.

Did you know?

  • Ladybugs eat harmful pests such as aphids, mites and scale.
  • Mason bees pollinate up to 1500 blossoms per day!
  • Butterflies help gardens grow by pollinating native plants and are a sign of a healthy garden.

Here are some easy steps you can take to make your yard more pollinator-friendly:

1. Plant flowers & plants that attract pollinators!

As you may have guessed, planting plants and flowers that support pollination is a great place to start. If you’re already planting something, why not make them pollinators! Try Echinacea, Sunflowers, or Black-Eyed Susans from Hole's.

2. Plan your yard so you always have something in bloom

Do your research before planting and find out when different plants bloom. Always having at least one plant in bloom is a great way to attract pollinators AND it makes your yard look great too!

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3. Plant native plants

Native plants help native species pollinate. Many plant and animal species have adapted to environmental changes together, making them a great team. Let’s help them remain a great team! Consider a Lady’s Slipper in Alberta. When bees and other insects enter the pouch of the Lady Slipper, they can only exit through the back of the flower. This forces the insect to pass through pollen, which then spreads to the next plant the insect visits. Lady Slippers are perennials, blooming in May and June. Get yours at Hole’s!

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4. Pick up a Wildlife Habitat!

Your yard is already home to insects galore, so why not give bees a proper place to rest their wings? Wildlife Habitats, also called nests or houses, are a great way to attract pollinators to your family’s flower or vegetable garden.

Special Bee Hotels are places for solitary bees to make their nests. These bees live alone, not in hives. They do not make honey. Solitary bees are much less likely to sting than honeybees because they aren’t defending a hive.

Hole's carries specialty wildlife homes for ladybugs, butterflies, bees, & more!

Hot Gardening Trends of 2015

Above, a few of the mini terrarium gardens available in our greenhouse. 

Above, a few of the mini terrarium gardens available in our greenhouse. 

Happy New Year! There are many "Hot 2015 Gardening Trends" lists that come out at this time of the year, so I thought that I would compile items from a few of my favourite lists and see what you think.
 
Cool and exciting
 
The first gardening trend for 2015 that caught my eye and that every gardener will love is "plants that are cool, exciting, and not a ton of work.”
 
Now, I think that this “trend” has been around for a long time, but there is little doubt that we all want to reduce the workload in the yard and have cool, exciting landscapes to enjoy. Maybe 2015 is the breakthrough year?
 
Small space gardens
 
Let’s face it, yards are generally getting smaller and everyone wants to get the most out of the limited space they have. Dwarf plants, square foot gardens, and vertical gardening are a few ways to do this.
 
Miniature Gardens and Terrariums
 
Continuing on with the small theme, miniature or Fairy gardens, bonsais, and terrariums continue to grow in popularity. These Lilliputian landscapes look great, don’t take up a lot of space, and can have a variety of themes from fairies to dinosaurs or model trains. The choices are only limited by one's imagination.
 
Urban Agriculture
 
An increasing number of people are rethinking what their yards are all about.

Some are embracing the idea of treating their yards as tiny farms or urban agricultural plots. Some are even campaigning against city bylaws and ordinances that prohibit the use of animals like chickens in residential areas.

I think it’s a pretty good guess that we won’t see a lot of livestock in our cities anytime soon but I do think there will be pockets of more intense vegetable and fruit growing in neighbourhoods.

~Jim Hole

Which gardening trends are you interested in this year? Do you have ideas for workshops that you'd like to see us put on or things you'd like to learn more about this year? Drop us a line at newsletter@holesonline.com! We're programming our 2015 workshops and events now and would love to hear from you.