Fungus in Mulch
"An ooze coming from my mulch."
"Something that looks like wet scrambled eggs."
"I think my cat vomited breakfast in my garden."
"I swear it's as if a dog has thrown up in my mulch."
you deal with shredded hardwood mulch in a landscape, sooner or later you're
going to have an incidence of slime mold. It normally starts as a wet-yellow
or wet-orange blob on the top of a mulched bed. In most cases, it then
hardens and turns tan and becomes a brownish pile of dust. While the wet stage only lasts 24-36 hours, the hardened, brown-spore
stage can last up to a month. In 1973, yellow, pulsating blobs of "scrambled
egg" slime plasmodia appeared in Dallas and caused a near panic. Although it may seem odd to some,
slime mold is fried and eaten in Veracruz, Mexico, as "caca de luna". In
the Austin area, it's almost always associated with shredded hardwood
mulches. It gets energy from organic matter below the soil line rather than
from the sun. It shows high levels of organic matter trying to do something.
You can control it by flipping it over before it gets to the
hardened stage and soak the area
with a fungicide like Consan. Another saprophytic fungus with which we are all
very familiar in our lawns is slime mold. It
shows up as a little area of grass that looks as if someone coated the
blades with oil and then sprinkled cigarette ashes or salt and pepper on the
blades. Consan put on the blades in that particular area will help to
suppress the mold.