I've got a Fairy Ring

At least that’s what my mother called it when she saw it.

It’s a mysterious perfect circle of tan-colored mushrooms about ten feet in diameter in my back yard beneath a large tree. Every time we mow, it just pops back up again. Being a bit of an environmentalist, I don’t want to put any herbicides on my lawn, and digging it all up would be quite a job, and I’m not too sure it would do any good anyway. Will it hurt the tree that it’s under? Is this a symptom of a dying tree? Maybe the roots are decaying which feeds the 'shrooms?

I don’t think that the fairy ring is harming the tree or is a symptom of a dying tree, but I could be mistaken.

This site mentions several ways of removing fairy rings. My favourite:

The War of the Rings! This could be an interesting scientific experiment. Start another one and watch them duke it out to the death. Take pictures every day and post them on a website. Then you can be nominated for “Weird URLs”, advertisers will clamour for the privilege of selling their wares on your site, and you can retire early.


Are there fairies at the bottom of your garden?
Do they often hold a dance on summer nights?
Do the butterflies and bees make a lovely little breeze
While the rabbits sit about and hold the lights?

If so, there’s nothing much you can do about it.

Or,following Arnolds lead,you could see if the mushrooms are edible and start your own gourmet restaurant chain.Watch out Dave Thomas.

Faerie rings are cool! I had one for a while in my lawn. They don’t destroy anything, they just look cool. Point it out to your friends. If you have little kids you have to deal with, tell them that faeries dance at night there and sit on the mushrooms. Then they take the bad kids away. That should give you some peace and quiet.

I am not sure how they happen, but my WAG is that a mushroom exploded it’s spores, and they made a cirlce around it. This could have happened quite a while ago.

Take some pictures and post 'em on the net! I’d love to see it.

Fairy rings grow as they do because of the depletion of nutrients needed by the fungus that creates them. Fungi are more than the little umbrella things that come up out of the ground. The real action is underground, where the fibers of the fungus grow. As they grow, the use up the decayed material upon which they depend for growth. (This is especially true in areas that are cleared of dead growth, like lawns, and meadows.)

The several species of fungi that form fairy rings begin as a single area of growth underground. The fruit bodies that come up are produced by the most mature portions of the colony of fungal fibers. As the colony grows, the center is depleted of nutrients, and that portion of the colony stops producing fruit bodies (the umbrella things.) The fibers are able to grow outward from the center more easily, since those areas still have abundant nutrients. Within a few feet of the margin of the underground area, the fruiting continues. Each generation will form a successively larger ring. In very settled areas, where cleared meadows exist for very long periods the rings can expand to several miles in diameter. Such rings are usually very fragmented.

Folk wisdom indicates that sleeping within one might be perilous, or at the very least prove significantly disruptive to a mundane life. Otherwise they are not reputed to have deleterious effects.


Yeah, I never sleep inside one unless I’m carrying my black cat bone and a new dime.

Yer in big trouble, then Uke. Those new dimes are not silver at all. The fairy queen is gonna be completely unimpressed.


If you want to cure your lawn, stand in the fairy ring at 3:00 a.m., jump up and down, wave a dead chicken around your head and yell, “I am a fairy!” continuously as loud as you can. Do this until forceably stopped. (If you are opposed to using the dead chicken on principle, you can substitute a rubber chicken, on the condition you wear a large chicken suit.)

If anyone attempts to step near the ring, scream “only chickens may cross!” and hit them with the chicken. Go for the officer’s gun if necessary.

When you get out of jail or the hospital, you will no longer care. Problem solved.

According to a lawn care book I have, they can hurt the grass within the circle indirectly. This happens if the underground fibers of the fungus form a mat and prevent water penetrating into the ground. The solution is simply to aerate the soil (i.e. poke holes through the mat), allowing water to get to the grass roots. It wouldn’t hurt anything to poke a few holes now, just in case.

“…Ye Demi-Puppets that the green-sour ringlets make
wherof the ewe not bites, and ye whose pastime
is to make midnight mushrooms that rejoice
to hear the solemn curfew…”

The Tempest, Act V, scene somethingoranother.

In all seriousness, there’s tons of Færie Circles around here, and they don’t seem to do any long-term damage to the grass. They kill it off for a while, but then the mushrooms disappear, and the grass grows longer and greener there afterwards (fertilized by the dead mushrooms?). I suspect that the tree being in the middle is just coincidence; most of them around here are just in the middle of the grass.

from Eve:

Did you know they could sit upon a moonbeam? Didja?

Is it an evil nazi fariy ring? No? Sorry, can’t help you.

Did the fairies appear before or after you had eaten some of the mushrooms?

Take the lawn care book with a grain of salt. Guys who sell fungicides and herbicides and make their living rooting up helpless dandelions are not to be trusted on the subject of fairy rings.

As long as you trust your children/pets not to eat the mushrooms, wherein lies the harm? I personally think rings are kinda neat, but then I have always favored a “wild” garden over a neatly manicured one.

As for the tree: The fairy ring by itself won’t kill the tree. All its activity is at the fringes of the ring, not the center. Although it might be symptomatic of worse stuff, such as borer beetles (Which really will kill a tree dead in a matter of months) or Dutch Elm disease or something.

I guess that would depend on the size of his bone.

I have mushrooms, too, but mine isn’t a fairy ring. It looks more like the fairies were line dancing…3 straight lines of little mushrooms, each one slightly offset from the other (like they are indented)!
I guess my fairies listen to George Strait! :smiley:

Chronos wrote:

Perhaps the mushroom formed a mycorrhiza with the tree, then grew into a fairy ring.

From the article “Mushroom” by Sally E. Gochenaur, Ph.D., World Book Multimedia Encyclopedia (© 1998 World Book, Inc., and its licensors):

Gee. Nobody has asked what Lissa is doing with Esprix’s jewelry?

Actually, a nice powerful shotgun and a can of extra-strength Raid should do the trick…