Blame Weather Not Dog for Unsightly Mold

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Get ready gardeners. It’s early for the disgusting but harmless slime mold to rear its ugly head in Burke County landscapes but it is here. Slime mold (Fuligo septicai) is a fungus that appears in mulched areas usually in late summer. This organism feeds on bacteria found in decaying plant material. When trees are cut and dragged through the forest they pick up the fungus from the forest floor. When the trees are turned into mulch and spread in your garden beds the spores of the fungus lay in wait until weather conditions are just right and then they quickly grow into a nasty looking mass of yellowish goo that many people mistake for dog vomit. Hence, the common name for this fungus is dog vomit fungus or even sometimes scrambled egg fungus.

But even though it sounds awful and looks even worse, slime mold is completely harmless. There are over 900 species of the fungus throughout the world and it is found on every continent-anywhere moist mulched areas exist. There is no chemical control for this late summer nuisance but it can be lifted out of the mulch with a pitchfork and deposited in a plastic bag to be thrown in the trash. It might come back and even grow up around landscape plants but it does no harm. If it grows around desirable plants just wash it away with the water hose. When weather conditions turn drier the problem usually goes away.

So, my best advice to area gardeners is don’t accuse our fuzzy friends of throwing up in your landscape and I definitely would not entice the neighborhood canines with any Pepto-Bismol-coated dog biscuits!YellowSlimeMold

Written By

Photo of Donna Teasley, N.C. Cooperative ExtensionDonna TeasleyExtension Agent, Agriculture - Horticulture (828) 439-4460 Donna_Teasley@ncsu.eduBurke County, North Carolina
Posted on May 13, 2015
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