If you garden or have mulch on your property you’ll eventually have mushrooms. In some cases, if you’re unlucky you’ll have stinkhorn mushrooms. The stinkhorn mushroom is such a vile, malodorous thing that if Thoreau had seen them on a walk he would’ve cursed nature and insisted that it be paved over with concrete.
The stinkhorn mushroom is accurately named. They’re quite easy to recognize because they’re more phallic than most mushrooms, stink and attract flies. To the untrained eye it looks like a penis coming up from the ground. Insects land on the smelly phallic mushroom, fly off and then create other areas of stinkhorn mushrooms.
How to describe the smell? At first it smells like a flower, you then realize that it actually smells like rotten meat. What’s worse is that the smell permeates your senses. Hours after digging up a handful of them I still had residual smell inside my nostrils. I’ve never vomited while gardening, and I can take some disgusting smells, but the stinkhorn mushroom made me gag in the garden.
I’ve seen some folks say that mushrooms are the sign of a happy lawn or garden. The stinkhorn mushroom and the amazing smell that it produces, easily counteract any positive mojo that your garden has from producing mushrooms. Unless you want to smell like Lady Gaga wearing her meat dress after a month on tour, you will want to remove these evil things ASAP.
Mushrooms grow in moist areas. The stinkhorn mushroom is attracted to places where there is mulch. Mushrooms also grow where your PH is higher than it should be.
- Dig up the stinkhorn mushroom from its egg shaped base.
- Place the mushrooms in a sealable bag
- Dig up the mulch/soil around where it was.
- Spread lime around the area.
- For additional security I would dilute bleach with hot water and spray it on the infected areas.
We tried steps 1-4 and four days later we had a couple of stinkhorns greeting us with a foul odor. While it would’ve been great to get rid of them organically, it just didn’t work for us.
- Read the directions on the lime. It may say to wet the soil before or after you spread the lime down.
- After you dig up the stinkhorns spray bug killer around the area. This will kill the flies or other creatures that might try to spread the spores.
- Remove some of the mulch and agitate the area with a shovel or hoe. At the base of each of those eggs shaped bases is a series of skinny purple roots. Leave the mulch away from the area for a while to let it fully dry out.
As a stay at home dad I miss having the spare time to fix things. Even though the child is my full time job, things still break or need a fix in the house. Sometimes the repair will be something that I can easily complete and other times it’s a repair that I simply should’ve paid to have it done. Regardless, I’ll write it up here in hopes that you may be able to gauge what you can do and when you need to call in for help. The series is called, Naptime DIY because the tasks are hopefully accomplished in 60 minutes, which is a good naptime period.