How to Avoid Poisonous Yard Mushrooms That Can Harm Your Pets or Kids

Granted, they infuse a burst of flavor to a vast assortment of sauces, soups, spaghetti, pizza, pasta, and salads. However, if you’re about to cook a few mushrooms you stumbled upon in your backyard, tread carefully.

Backyard gardeners and amateur foragers alike should be on the lookout for poisonous yard mushrooms that can grow adjacent to their edible counterparts. Although they’re not dangerous to touch, consuming one or two bites can be fatal.

Furthermore, given that some parts of the country had a soggy and warm end to the summer, there’s likely a mushroom boom on the horizon. Therefore, this guide will walk through everything you need to know to steer clear of poisonous yard mushrooms.

How Does Mushroom Poisoning Occur?

Below are the 5 main causes of mushroom poisoning.

  1. The consumption of undercooked or raw mushroom species.
  2. Individuals attempting a homicide or suicide.
  3. Kids or pets accidentally ingesting poisonous mushrooms while in your backyard.
  4. Individuals in quest of a hallucinatory high.
  5. Misidentification entails mistaking a toxic species for an edible mushroom. Typically, that happens as a result of accidentally consuming a ‘look-a-like’ with a species of similar appearance. By learning how to forage mushrooms, you’ll easily and confidently identify various species and revel in the pleasure that it brings.

How to Spot Poisonous Yard Mushrooms


Despite the horror stories you might have heard, most lawn mushrooms are harmless, for the most part. Nevertheless, that’s not the cue for your pets or kids to consume them. However, if they accidentally eat one, there’s a chance they’ll be okay.

That’s because poisonous mushrooms rarely grow in residential backyards, and when they do, there are a few tell-tale signs to recognize and keep your kids or pets safe from poisonous wild mushrooms. Given that mushrooms come in various colors, shapes, and sizes, a few characteristics are prevalent in poisonous species.

  • A ring around the stem or stalk of the mushroom.
  • A putrid smell
  • The area below the cap of the mushroom is white rather than brown.
  • A red stem or cap

It’s worth keeping in mind that even though the mushrooms in your backyard don’t fit any of the criteria mentioned, you should rope in a veterinarian or doctor if you, your pets, or your kids, and other members of your household begin to exhibit alarming symptoms after consuming unidentified backyard mushrooms.

Signs of Mushroom Poisoning

Let’s discuss the symptoms of mushroom poisoning.

1. Gastrointestinal

It’s the most common symptom of consuming poisonous yard mushrooms. Gastrointestinal upset in pets and human beings, including kids, manifests as severe diarrhea and vomiting. Usually, there’s no damage in the long run. Nonetheless, it’s advisable to seek medical help immediately you suspect this type of mushroom poisoning, particularly in children.

2. PSL Syndrome

It’s an acronym for Perspiration, Saliva, and Lacrimation syndrome and manifests as seizures, profuse sweating, fever, muscle twitches, confusion, and dizziness. With immediate treatment, most kids, adults, and pets recover within 24 to 48 hours. Without treatment, death can occur within hours of eating poisonous yard mushrooms.

3. Hallucinations

Consuming poisonous hallucinogenic mushrooms usually trigger altered time and space, seizures (in kids and pets), delusions, anxiety, or euphoria. These symptoms usually fizzle out without treatment and adverse repercussions.

4. Delirium or Intoxication

It’s a symptom caused by the Panther Cap or Fly Agaric that adults, kids, or pets may have eaten accidentally and cause the victim to seem delirious or intoxicated. The mushroom species have toxins known as muscimol or ibotenic acid that cause other symptoms such as a coma-like sleep, collapse, hyperactivity, anxiety, blurred vision, lack of coordination, and muscle spasms. Fly Agaric has been used for decades as an inebriant.

Poisonous Yard Mushrooms That Resemble the Edible Counterparts

Let’s discuss some of the common mushroom species you’re likely to find growing in your backyard that resembles their edible lookalikes. Mushroom identification is a key skill to learn as mushroom hunters.

Morel Mushrooms

When spring rolls around, mushroom hunters and foragers are usually on the quest for the prized morel mushrooms. They have a bold, pleasant, and unique taste that lures in many people from the get-go. Morel mushrooms usually grow in the ground below tree species such as the elm, poplars, tulips, and hickory. However, given their mushroom toxicity when consumed raw, morels should be properly cooked.

Nonetheless, beware of the Gyromitra esculenta, commonly known as the brain mushroom that closely resembles the morel species. This poisonous mushroom contains a toxin known as gyromitrin that contains monomethylhydrazine, one of the components in rocket fuel. Consuming these ‘false morels’ can make pets, adults, and kids chronically ill and may lead to death.


These are related to the popular button mushrooms found in most grocery stores. Meadows are distinguished by their pink gills when fresh and usually found as fairy rings in compost heaps, garden lawns, and pastures.

However, there’s a poisonous doppelganger known as Amanita Bisporigera, which translates to the Destroying Angel. These dangerous species grow in the same habitats and closely resemble Meadow mushrooms. Accidentally consuming these can be fatal or cause severe liver and kidney damage.

False Parasol

This lawn mushroom is a poisonous lookalike that triggers gastrointestinal distress. False Parasol is the most commonly accidentally consumed mushroom in North America.


These are eye-catching, vibrant orange or yellow mushroom species that crop up from the ground at the base of trees. Rather than fine-edged gills as seen on button mushrooms, Chanterelles have ridges on the interior of their caps. Additionally, these species have a poisonous doppelganger known as the Omphalotus Illudens (Jack-O-Lantern).

Despite the close resemblance, the Jack-O-Lanterns have fine gills on the underside of their caps and usually thrive on wood, contrary to Chanterelles. While eating the poisonous counterparts isn’t fatal, it causes severe discomfort in the form of diarrhea and vomiting for days.

How to Get Rid of Poisonous Yard Mushrooms

Now that you know the types of poisonous mushrooms to avoid and the repercussions of accidentally eating them, here are the steps to effectively eliminate the toxic mushroom growth.

1. Remove Them

Bag the mushrooms as they crop up and tightly seal the bag to prevent the spores from producing more mushrooms.

2. Add Nitrogen Fertilizer

Use 1lb of this fertilizer per square foot of lawn. Since mushrooms are in your backyard or lawn feeding on decaying organic material, the addition of nitrogen fertilizer will fasten the decay process.

3. Excavate Mushroom Clusters

All mushroom species require plenty of decaying wood or carbon sources and moisture to thrive. By eliminating their food source by adding nitrogen to speed up the decay or manually digging it up, you’ll get rid of the poisonous mushrooms in your yard.

4. Kill Mushrooms

Use water and soap to kill the poisonous mushrooms. Mix up to 3 tablespoons of liquid dish soap or detergent with one gallon of warm water. Use a screwdriver to make holes in the soil around the mushrooms. Once you pour the soapy water into these holes, you’re good to go. Doing so will kill the mycelia (mushroom roots).

5. Fix the Drainage

Your lawn might be overly wet, making it the perfect breeding ground for decaying debris that mushrooms thrive on. If you’ve gotten rid of the decaying matter, it might be time to drain your backyard and get rid of excess water.


If you see wild mushrooms growing in your lawn, ensure that your kids or pets and other members of your household steer clear of them until you take the necessary measures to eliminate them. Alternatively, you can rope in a professional to get the job done efficiently. However, in the unfortunate event of mushroom poisoning, seek immediate medical care.