Mushrooms in the Basement?

We have recently received several questions about mushrooms developing both outdoor and indoors. With the wet spring and flooding, water had made its way to cracks on walls or in floors, in older houses, or basements prone to flooding. Other common spots for the mushrooms to develop include, logs, mulch and lawns. In fact, we saw our first slime mold question this week. The common question: how can I get rid of the mushrooms? The answer, it all about moisture!

Mushroom species developing on a tree
Mushroom species developing on a dead log.

Mushrooms thrive in high humidity, and basements or outdoor areas with plenty of moisture become the perfect environments for mushrooms to develop. Anything that can be done to minimize humidity can help reduce them. Unfortunately, there is no silver bullet or treatment that can eradicate them. The reason: think of mushrooms as the flowering structures of an extensive microscopic network of mycelia (similar to a microscopic root system), developing in an area with sources of nutrients or material to decay.

At the Plant and Insect Diagnostic Clinic, we focus on identifying mushrooms that may appear in gardens or landscape beds, or associated with a tree to determine if the mushroom species is causing white or brown rot potentially compromising the integrity of the tree. We do not identify mushroom associated with structures or basements. For more information, see our mushroom identification page.

For more information on mushrooms see the articles:

Tree Cracks, Mushrooms, and Rots

Mushrooms in the Landscape

Links to this article are strongly encouraged, and this article may be republished without further permission if published as written and if credit is given to the author, Horticulture and Home Pest News, and Iowa State University Extension and Outreach. If this article is to be used in any other manner, permission from the author is required. This article was originally published on June 7, 2019. The information contained within may not be the most current and accurate depending on when it is accessed.