Are you seeing something yucky in your mulch? Does it look like a baby puked? Or maybe a dog barfed? OR MAYBE AN ALIEN??? (sorry)
or... Maybe you have some unidentified black spots on your siding or car that seem to have come out of nowhere?
These are reminders that as long as we live in nature there will be fungus among us. Most fungus species are harmless, some are delicious, and nearly all have an incredible usefulness in nature.
Fungi do some amazing things that scientists are learning more and more about every day. If you wanna read something really cool check out http://www.bbc.com/earth/story/20150202-six-bizarre-things-about-fungi:
But.... what about the dog-puke looking stuff in my yard? Well - when weather conditions are just right, organic matter plus moisture combines with fungal spores that are just about everywhere in the environment, and….we start to get a few calls about what looks like dog puke in mulch beds. The technical name is Fuligo septics. Dog vomit slime-mold is a well-accepted common name. It typically dries up within a few days and the appearance is “less yucky”. To keep it from spreading, however, you can scrape it up and trash it, top dress mulch to cover the fungus, use a coarser mulch, or cross your fingers and pray it doesn't stay so moist. You could also remove the organic mulch and replace with stone mulch - but before doing so read our wonderful blogpost "Why stone mulch is the worst."
When faced with this issue it’s probably best to remember the newly-coined Aspen proverb "Sometimes life gives you lemons, and sometimes it looks like a dog puked in your mulch." or… you could read this link: https://wimastergardener.org/article/dog-vomit-slime-mold-fuligo-septica/
Another funky fungus is called Artillery Fungus. It’s something we’ve seen more of in recent (moist) years. The most noticeable aspect of this isn’t the fruiting body itself, but the black spots that are “catapulted” throughout the area. They are especially noticeable on light colored siding - and they really stay stuck! For more info check this out http://rayhaluchinc.com/getting-rid-of-artillery-fungus/
For all of the anatomy fans out there, another “fun” fungus looks kinda sorta exactly like a gross phallus….So much so that I overheard someone calling it a “yucky dick-looking thing.” We won’t get into too much detail but they look especially gross when rotting. We’re a bit leery of linking to info on this on “the inter-webs” but feel free to google away such terms as “phallus mushroom,” “wiener fungus,” or whatever you like. You may, however, want to take care to not do this at work.
…Or, just keep your eyes open for a penis-looking ‘shroom near your petunias.… I saw one within a hundred feet of St Mary’s Hospital. It made me do a double-take.