Do mushroom rings appear in your yard?

By |2018-09-25T16:11:51-05:00October 1st, 2018|Make Me Think Monday, Writer's Life|1 Comment

As seasons transition from spring to summer or fall to winter, there’s lots and lots of rain and these little mushroom rings pop up in yards.

Fairy rings, as these sprouting mushrooms are called, frequently appear after wet weather. The bizarre rings are also found in parks and woods.

The mushrooms don’t last long, but the fungi living under the ground can grow for many years. You can spot a fairy ring when there are no mushrooms by a visible circle. Sometimes the circle is lush and green other times it’s a ring of dead grass. It depends on the type of underground fungi.

Fairy rings need nutrients in the soil to grow mushrooms and, without obstructions to inhibit outward growth, can grow as large as a quarter-mile like the one in Belfort, France that is thought to be over 700 years old.

The arcs appear in lawns because we fertilize to nourish the mushrooms. Organic stuff especially offers plenty of food for a fairy ring. Over sixty mushroom species grow from fairy rings. Some are even eatable, but be cautious some of the mushrooms can also be poisonous.

For me the most interesting part of fairy rings is their mysterious reputation and mystical legends.

Also called elf circle, elf ring, or pixie ring, these arcs of mushrooms are said to be portals to unearthly worlds where fairies and witches dance. According to English legends, the mushrooms serve as stools for fairies after nights of revelry.

Many folk beliefs paint fairy rings as dangerous places, best to be avoided as this illustration title Plucked from the Fairy Circle depicts.

By T. H. Thomas [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Entering a ring on May Eve, Walpurgis Night (the Swedish Halloween night), or Halloween night was considered especially dangerous. That’s when sacred fairies and their clans are said to appear within the rings in angry and scary moods

Source: File:Fairy_Rings_and_Toadstools_by_R_Doyle.jpg

It makes me smile to think of friendly fairies dancing around in our yard’s fairy rings or resting on a toadstool.

But, you won’t find me out looking around on a Halloween night.

If you prefer not to have fairy rings growing in your yard, you can destroy the mushrooms using your lawn mower. That offers a temporary fix but doesn’t kill the underground fungi. Here’s a guide that will help you permanently remove fairy rings: