LAKEWOOD, Ohio (WJW) — Odd-looking growths as big as basketballs are sprouting up in yards all over Northeast Ohio — but what are they?
The ball of brown mushrooms, named armillaria, thrive in wet conditions.
“We had a lot of rain and torrential downpours over the summer leaving the ground soggy for long periods of time creating perfect conditions for fungus growth like all of these huge mushrooms and there’s a lot more of them this year,” said Matt Misenik from Cahoon Nursery in Westlake.
Armillaria mushrooms sprout in early fall when the ground gets more damp, but this year there’s extra dampness in the ground in many places from excessive summer rain.
This type of mushroom starts growing underground in wet tree roots that are “diseased, decaying or dead,” urban forester Larry Figart told Fox 8 News.
Lakewood resident Patty McLaughlin told Fox 8 News her yard was covered with the “massive mushrooms” so she dug them up because they were unsightly and smelled.
“We removed them because once they die they get slimy and smelly. Plus, we don’t want our dog to eat them. He hasn’t but you never know,” she said.
While the roots of the mushroooms are underground, Figart said the top of the mushrooms, called the “flower” spread spores, creates more clusters around lawns.
Figart said the mushrooms turn to mush in several days, but will grow back unless the decaying wood and tree roots are dug up and removed. If you’d like to get rid of the site of them for aesthetic reasons, grab your garden gloves.
“Don’t put them in a compost where they’ll grow, pull them up or kick them over then place them in a plastic bag and throw them away,” he said.