'shroom killers

Mon Nov 7 15:52:55 EST 1994

It is really heartening to know so many people feel so
kindly of the lowly mushroom.  I am no small fan myself. 
So some of you have been berating me for asking how to get
rid of mushrooms.  It comes with the job.  Every once in a
while we are asked not to love our subjects but to find
ways to control them.
For years I have advised people to pick and remove by hand
mushrooms if they find them annoying.  Most give up and
learn to live with them.  Then there came the case of the
deadly Lepiota.  A small, rare species which came up in
abundance in one yard under a Norway Spruce.  In the yard
lived 2 children, a toddler and a crawler.  The toxins are
amatoxins, for which there are no reliable antidotes, and
the effects are delayed.  The parent was reasonably
disturbed about such species and picked and removed them. 
But more came up, and sometimes from small inconspicuous
buttons that were missed on first examination.  The area
was fenced off, the lower tree branches were trimmed back
to help dry the area up, the needles were raked and
removed.  The mushrooms moved out into the lawn during a
wetter period.  The parent was worried that even though
visible mushrooms were removed, one of the children might
find one lurking among the grass.  After following this
case for several weeks (now months) I really wondered if
there were not some remedy unknown to me which would save
the parents a lot of grief.
Yes, yes, there are more important things in life, but it
doesn't seem out of line to ask of a mycologist, "How does
one get rid of mushrooms?"  Entomologists are asked how to
get rid of insects.  Plant scientists are asked to get rid
of weeds.  Admittedly few ornithologists are asked how to
remove birds, but even they have stoop to do so around
airports and in big cities (feed not the pigeons).
So far the solutions have been: concrete slabs, hand
picking, psychological councilling, and modified Bordeaux
mixture.  This is entertaining.

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