What Is the Yellow Fungus on My Mulch? Should I Be Worried?

A common sight, especially when your mulch and soil are moist, is the presence of a yellow foamy and frothy mass. So, what’s the yellow mass on your mulch, and should you be worried?

Some homeowners refer to the yellow fungus on mulch as dog vomit because of how it looks when it starts decaying. Despite most people referring to it as fungus, this yellow substance is a mushroom. The proper name for this yellow mold in mulch is Fuligo Septica.

What Is Fuligo Septica?

Fuligo Septica, also called dog vomit slime or slime mold, is a primitive single-cell organism that grows in moist soil, garden mulch, or grass clippings. Slime mold appears in yellow/orange color and might grow to about 2 ft in height.

Slime mold is not harmful to animals or humans despite its displeasing appearance. It can be helpful to your mulch or soil since it eliminates bacteria and pathogens that might harm plants.

That said, yellow mulch mold might be problematic. When the mold grows and covers your plants, it can restrict sunlight from reaching the leaves, leading to yellowing.

Since dog vomit slime is a mold, it reproduces via spores. When the mass matures, it dries up and releases spores which can aggravate allergies in some people.

Homeowners dislike slime mold because of its appearance or because it stirs up their allergies. So, how does one remove it from their mulch or soil?

How To Eliminate Dog Vomit Slime

The easiest and best way to get rid of yellow slime mold is to rake the mulch growing area. Doing so exposes the mold to dry air, resulting in death. You can then scoop and discard it.

Alternatively, scoop the mulch fungus yellow substance, put it in a plastic bag, and seal it. It will die out and will not have the opportunity to disperse its spores.

Never spray chemicals to eliminate slime mold. Chemicals are not worth it since they leave behind trace elements that might harm your mulch, soil, and plants.

Even though some recommend you hose the mold when it climbs on plants, it is better to scoop. The reason is that when you hose the mold, you will help disperse its spores.

A practical way to prevent the growth of yellow fungus on mulch is by ensuring your mulch is not always moist. Organic mulch may increase the chances of fungal growth, especially if mulch is constantly moist.

If the yellow mold has grown in your mulches or garden before, it is recommended that you always try and aerate your mulch and garden soil. You can do this by turning the mulch now and then to ensure it is well aerated.

Other Types of Mulch Fungi

Mulch fungi come in different sizes, colors, and appearances. Apart from yellow fungus in mulch (slime mold), other fungi that can grow on mulch or in your garden include:

  • Toadstool mushrooms
  • Artillery fungus
  • Stinkhorn fungi

Toadstool Mushrooms

Most mushroom species that fall under the toadstool mushrooms classification can be poisonous when ingested. Toadstool mushrooms love growing in decomposing hardwood mulch. In fact, the mushrooms contribute to the decaying process of the mulch.

One distinction between this type of mulch fungi from most others is that they contain toxic poisons, which can be very dangerous if consumed.

Artillery Fungus

Artillery fungus, known as Sphaerobolus, is among the most common mulch fungi. The fungus has a fruiting structure that looks like tiny orange-brown or cream cups. It is a nuisance to most gardeners and landscapers that use organic mulches.

When the fruiting structures collect enough water, they cause the spores to be thrown very high up into the air. Since this type of fungi is phototropic, it will shoot the pores in the direction of any surfaces with white colors or light sources.

The dispersed pores have a black color and tend to look like tiny tar spots. They can stick to nearby surfaces and structures, including leaf surfaces, house sidings, cars, and downspouts. These pores are very hard to remove even with a high-pressure hose because they are highly adhesive.

Stinkhorn Fungi

The scientific name for the most common stinkhorn fungi is Phallus Impudicus. This mulch mainly grows on organic and decomposing hardwood mulch. Dog stinkhorn (Muinus Caninus) is another species that grows in garden mulches. It is much smaller, and its scent is not that strong.

This mulch mold mainly grows during wet periods and has a gelatinous and slimy body surface. It usually dries out and shrinks in a few days when the weather becomes dry. Stinkhorn fungi are not toxic to people, animals, or plants.

How To Get Rid of Fungus on Mulch

An effective way of removing any fungi on your mulch is to scoop it using a spade or shovel. Scoop the fungi with a fair bit of mulch or surrounding areas. Please put it in a bin, not the compost bin, since it can regrow or spread the pores.

Do not use fungicides on your mulch or garden when trying to get rid of fungi since it is easier and natural to remove them by hand.

Final Thoughts

The yellow dog vomit slime on your soil or mulch is Fuligo Septica. Yellow fungus on mulch is not harmful to plants, animals, or humans. However, other fungi mulch, like toadstool mushrooms, can be poisonous. No matter the fungi on your mulch, the best way to remove it is to scoop it using a shovel or spade and dump it in a bin.

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