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It's a fungi-fest: Rainy May has spores exploding across Twin Cities

Minnesota's wet May a perfect storm for mushrooms
Minnesota's wet May a perfect storm for mushrooms 01:50

MINNEAPOLIS — After a warm, dry winter that was record-setting in its own right, the Twin Cities are on track for a record-wet month of May.

With 5.19" of rain in 28 days, this May has cracked the top-five wettest months since 2020. The swing from one weather extreme to the next is welcome for anyone looking to maintain a lawn — as the rain is working to repair years of drought.

"After the last few years, lawns are thinner," said Aaron Johnsen, a partner at Newport, Minnesota-based Biolawn. "There's patches that have died out over the last few years due to the drought and heat."

What's regrowing in the cool, wet weather, however, isn't necessarily grass, but weeds and mushrooms.

"Those mushrooms, or the fungus that produce them have been dormant for a couple of years now, waiting for moisture, waiting for the ideal conditions," Johnsen said. "Plants are responding by growing and growing faster. New things are popping up, whether it be weeds or diseases. We've got stuff going on."

The grass itself will start to fill in when warmer temperatures come in the peak summer days, Johnsen said. In the meantime, spores of mushrooms are moving in.

"We've had reports of dead man's fingers this spring, you might see stinkhorn mushrooms," said Kait Ryan, Horticulture Supervisor for the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board. "Then you're going to see a lot of really brown, small inconspicuous ones."

Ryan says should the wet conditions carry into warmer temperatures, fungal conditions could worsen — with funguses and molds growing on plants.

In the meantime, both experts recommend pulling mushrooms from your yard if you're concerned about a pet getting to them.

If you're questioning what something is, Ryan recommends calling the horticulture teams at MPRB, the arboretum or the University of Minnesota. 

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