I love mulched beds. Although mulch suppresses the weeds and holds in moisture for our plants, it has its ugly side too. In the middle of summer, dog vomit slime mold (Fuligo septica.) shows up. You know what I am talking about. It look like your neighbor’s dog threw up in your garden beds. It can be yellow, orange or white. So, what is a weed hater to do?
What is Dog Vomit Fungus?
Dog vomit slime gives me the willies. But it is quite harmless. According to the Chicago Gardner:
“We see it in just part of its life cycle, as a plasmodium, which essentially is one giant cell with millions of nucleii. It is formed when two spores come together in something a little bit like sex and begin dividing into a large creeping blob of protoplasm surrounded by a single membrane. The plasmodium moves by slowly flowing or streaming, gradually engulfing and consuming fungi and bacteria that are present on decaying plant matter.”
In fact, some native Mexicans gather it and scramble it like eggs. The fungus is generally found in mulch especially in gardens and parks where the beds are watered.
Aw, the perfect fungus storm.
Can’t Live With the Throw Up?
But honestly, if you can’t live with the throw-up, here are some ideas of how to prevent or remove it.
1. Switching to pine bark, pine straw or cedar mulch will lessen the possibility of the fungus. (Note, we will be discussing artillery fungus spores later, so be sure to check out which mulches are best to prevent those spores. Artillery fungus spore appear on light colored houses and cars. Lovely. And, yes, I have them on my house. )
2. According to Iowa State University Extension, the slime needs moisture to thrive. Simply rake the mulch (or grass.) Raking introduces air which helps dry out the slime.
3. See if you are watering that area of your garden too much. Slime loves moisture. (See here how to determine how much to water your plants.)
4. Don’t spray the slime with water to remove it. You will be adding fuel to the fire. Slime loves moisture.
5. If you are pro-active, Garden Guides suggests raking the mulch every few days during the times of year when there is high humidity. This may prevent the dog slime.
6. Time is on your side. The mold will dry up and then disappear.
Click here to Tweet ===> How to Prevent or Reduce Dog Slime Vomit on Your Mulch.
Talking about mulch, be sure to read my how to mulch your trees properly. Let’s not smother them to death.
Join the Conversation:
- Do you get dog vomit slime on your mulch or grass?
- How do you deal with the slime?
- Are you using pine bark, pine straw or cedar mulch and if so, do you get dog slime?
Photo by Doug Beckers