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Science has since shown that the mushrooms are the manifestation of a massive fungus development, located near the soil surface. The fungus feeds on buried and decaying organic material. The fungus forms a hydrophobic (water proof) layer that prevents water and nutrients from reaching grass roots. The grass wilts and dies in an outwardly expanding circle, but often returns in the center. The center of the circle is usually greener than the rest of the grass, because the fungus completely breaks down that organic material, dies itself and makes all of the nutrients available for the grass. Some limited success has been gotten by performing a deep core aeration, followed by a drench of fungicide containing flutolanil or quartenary ammonium compounds. The deep plugging punches holes in the waterproof layer and this allows the fungicide to come into contact with enough of the fungus to control it. This doesn't always work, and it can be expensive and time consuming. Eventually, the fungus will break down all of the material in the soil and go away by itself. This can take anywhere from 1 to 8 years, depending on the amount of material it has to work with. The only other alternative is a massive excavation to remove all of the woody material in the soil.