In the garden, mulch is one of the most commonly used materials. It’s beneficial for the soil’s fertility, helps weed control, and promotes a more aesthetic look for your garden. However, we sometimes find a layer of fungus growing in our mulch.
Some common types of mulch fungus include slime mold, stinkhorn fungus, bird’s nest fungus, and artillery fungus. The fungus in your mulch may appear as a yellow fungus, like slime mold, or even a harmless, unsightly nest fungus.
What Causes Fungus in Mulch?
Fungus growth in mulch is primarily due to the conditions that the mulch provides. Mulch creates a damp and cool environment ideal for fungal growth. The fungus prefers a damp environment, and hardwood mulch is more prone to fungus due to its higher ability to retain moisture. When the mulch doesn’t dry out, it becomes a perfect home for the fungi growing in it.
Is Mulch Fungus Harmful?
It’s important to know that most mulch fungus isn’t harmful. While it may look alarming, it’s often not a threat to your plants. However, they may disrupt the aesthetic appearance of your garden. Despite their harmless nature, you’d still want to eliminate the fungus.
How To Identify the Fungus in Mulch
It’s crucial to identify the fungus before you learn how to get rid of the fungus in mulch. This step will help you understand whether the fungus is non-toxic, harmless, or harmful and needs immediate attention. Different types of mulch fungi can be identified by their color, texture, and the pattern in which they grow in your mulch.
How To Get Rid Of Fungus In Mulch
One of the best ways to remove mulch fungus is to remove the affected mulch. By removing the top layer of mulch where the fungus is growing, you can reduce the spread of the fungus. Rake your mulch regularly to prevent fungus growth by allowing it to dry out. Soak the mulch with one gallon of water mixed with fungicide high enough to kill the fungus.
Manual Removal: When you see fungus growing in your mulch, immediate removal is vital. Remove the top layer of mulch where the fungus exists. You can dispose of it or turn it into a compost pile away from your main mulch bed.
Use of Fungicides:Commercial fungicides can help remove the fungus. Mix the fungicide with a gallon of water, following package instructions. Spray the mixture over the affected mulch.
Adjusting Soil pH
Fungi thrive in different pH ranges. Most types of mulch fungus prefer slightly acidic soil. If you regularly test the pH of your soil and find it acidic, consider using lime to raise the pH level, making it less hospitable for fungus.
Getting Rid of Mushrooms
Mushrooms are a common type of fungus in mulch. They can be manually removed. While they are not harmful, their presence indicates a moist environment ideal for fungal growth.
Preventing Fungus in Mulch
Preventing fungus in mulch can be as simple as raking the mulch. This act helps air circulate better around your mulch, promoting a drier environment unsuitable for fungus growth. Another way to prevent mulch fungus is to limit the layer of mulch to two inches. This thickness is enough to benefit from mulching without creating a damp environment for fungus to thrive.
Fungus in mulch can be an unsightly problem for any gardener. Whether it’s a bird’s nest fungus or a type of slime mold, getting rid of it can help keep your garden looking its best. By identifying the fungus, using a fungicide, or regularly raking and limiting the thickness of the mulch, you can get rid of the fungus in your mulch beds regularly.
Remember, while it may seem a nuisance, most fungus is harmless. So, while you rid your garden of fungi, take a moment to appreciate the complex ecosystem, even in a simple bed of mulch.