It’s unpleasant, unattractive, some might even say icky. But it’s a common problem that can pop up in our yards. It’s slime mold.
Also known as “dog vomit fungus” or “scrambled egg fungus” this mold looks just about as bad as it sounds. But aesthetics are just one thing. The real question is, will this white stuff growing on your mulch harm your plants or trees?
Keep reading for everything you should know about dog vomit fungus on mulch.
Mix spring showers, warm weather and shady garden areas, and you’ve got the perfect environment for slime mold to rear its ugly head.
Fuligo septica, the scientific name for this species of mold, was affectionately nicknamed based on its look. Slime mold is easy to spot because it really does look like the result of a dog easing its upset stomach, or a serving of scrambled eggs spread throughout the garden.
Dog vomit fungus starts off as a bright yellow foam that spreads out, say, a few inches to a foot across a garden bed. Over time, the slimy mass dries up, turns brown and, in its last stage, turns a powdery white color.
Now that you’ve confirmed you’re dealing with dog vomit fungus and not a queasy pup, you’re probably wondering how the mold got there.
Well, it’s all about the right weather elements. Dog vomit fungus thrives in warm, moist areas. After lots of rainfall, a shaded garden is an ideal spot for the mold to develop.
But there’s good news: dog vomit fungus isn’t out to get your plants or trees. Actually, it’s completely harmless. The mold feeds on bacteria and other debris in the garden for a short time and then dissolves into the soil. It’ll only be visible to you for a few weeks, tops.
All that’s to say, you don’t need to remove the mold. But if it really irks you, scooping it up with a shovel and throwing it away will get rid of it.
Mulch mold development is a natural and fairly non-intrusive process. So you don’t need to stress about preventing future sightings. In fact, there aren’t any treatments to kill slime mold.
If you do want to take action, however, the best thing to do is cut down on the amount of moisture in your garden. Avoid unnecessarily watering shaded areas if the soil is already well-watered from the rain.