Large puffy, white balls that appear on lawns are a type of fungus. These fungal spheres are not harmful to people or animals, but affect the appearance of the lawn.
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Large fungal puffballs, also known as hard puffballs and earth balls (Scleroderma sp.), are fungal structures buried beneath the soil that open up and form a puffy ball on the soil surface. Puffballs are covered with a thick skin and contain black fungal spores.
Fungus puffballs such as the hard puffball are the size of a tennis ball. Giant puffballs (Langermannia giganteum) often grow until they reach more than 1 foot wide.
Fungus puffballs are often found under hardwood trees, in forests, on prairies and in ditches. These fungal structures thrive on sandy soil and erupt in lawns and gardens all over the country.
Controlling puffballs in lawns is difficult, according to a bulletin at The Ohio State University website. Applying fertiliser to a lawn can prevent the formation of fungus puffballs as can proper aeration. Chemical treatments including fungicides will not control puffball formation.
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