Looking like something from a science fiction movie, what’s known as dog vomit slime mold may appear on your lawn or in your flowerbeds. It may give you the heebie-jeebies, but is it toxic? And should you keep children and pets away from it? Here’s what you need to know about dog vomit slime mold.
What is dog vomit slime mold?
Despite its yucky name, dog vomit slime mold (Fuligo septica) is not technically a mold or fungus. The curd-like yellow substance, which is also known as scrambled egg slime mold, is more closely related to amoebae. The mold consumes decaying organic matter such as bark, moist leaves and mulch and thrives in damp shady areas in warm climates. You’re most likely to find it growing on wood mulch in your flower beds, particularly in shady spots. Bedding mulch that stays continually wet in a shady area is the perfect environment for growth.
You may also see dog vomit slime mold on your compost pile. Heavy rainfall can feed growth on any deteriorating organic material, including a heavily thatched lawn.
Is it dangerous?
Dog vomit slime mold is unsightly, but it won’t harm people, pets or plants. Its presence means you need to dry out the affected area of your landscape and lessen the shade it gets.
How to remove
- Don’t treat dog vomit slime mold with chemicals, which could be harmful. You cannot completely eliminate the substance, but with a few simple steps, you can control it.
- First, use your rake to break up and spread the mold out from its location. You can also scoop up the mold and throw it in the trash. Placing it in compost that you will later use simply spreads the problem.
- Next, adjust your sprinkler system or curtail your manual watering to reduce moisture in the affected area. Don’t starve your plants of water; simply reduce hydration enough to reduce the mold growth.
- Finally, if possible, introduce more sunlight to affected areas by pruning bushes and trees. Admitting more light helps control moisture, plus direct sunlight helps eliminate the growth of slime molds.
Related – Mulch is a Gardener’s Best Friend