KC Gardens

Mushrooms in the lawn

Slime mold called dog vomit

Tip of the Week

Heavy rains over the past few weeks have resulted in the appearance of mushrooms and slime molds in the lawn. Although these organisms are often spectacular in color and size, most of them are harmless to plant life.

Many different types of mushrooms can appear in the lawn. They often appear overnight without any warning. The extent of the damage is ruffing up the sod layer, which causes no lasting damage. The worst offense is the look.

These mushrooms are associated with either live or dead tree roots in the soil. They can also be feeding on buried wood from home construction. Since some of these mushrooms are beneficial, they do not need to be controlled. Most of the fungus is below ground and inaccessible to chemical control.

If the mushrooms are a nuisance in the landscape simply pick them and discard as soon as they appear. To help decrease mushrooms growing in the lawn remove the source of large organic debris from the soil.

Another problem associated with the rainy period is a fungal growth known as slime mold. Slime molds are primitive microorganisms that can produce white, purple, or black blobs and patches of fungus-like material known as sporangia. They can cover grass and other plant materials. Slime mold spores when mature are powdery and break apart into a dust that can cover shoes or mowers.

The spores of the slime mold survive in soil or organic debris and germinate during wet weather. Slime molds can actually move or flow across soil or plant surfaces seeming to engulf the area. The most common type seen this season is a black slime found growing on the blades of grass.

Another form of slime mold can be found growing on the mulch in landscape beds. These fungal growths have great names such as scrambled eggs, cat vomit or dog vomit to name a few. They are simply feeding on the decomposing wood mulch. There is no control so just let them run their course. If you must control rake the infected areas to help dry out to area or wash away.

These organisms are not harmful to living plant material although unsightly. Frequent mowing, raking or brushing of the spore masses is usually sufficient to control the problem.

The appearances of these growths are seasonal depending on the temperature and soil moisture. Late spring and fall are the normal season for development. The bottom line is these growths cause no real harm. They just look odd, so sit back and relax; the lawn and landscape will be fine.

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