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What is dog vomit slime mold?
Despite its unpleasant appearance, and equally unpleasant name, slime mold isn’t anything to be too concerned about. There are more than 700 different varieties of slime mold that are most commonly found in warm and moist climates. Slime mold, such as the aptly named dog vomit slime mold (Fuligo septica), doesn’t harm plants or the environment. It’s also not actually mold; nor is it a fungus. Rather, slime mold is a primitive type of organism that survives by feeding on decaying or dead organic matter.
If you see something that looks like a yellow fungus on mulch in your yard, it might be slime mold. Slime mold is commonly found on hardwood mulch, especially in shaded locations. However, it can also appear on grass or other plants in a yard. In addition to the more common yellow and orange colors, slime mold may also be gray or black. While slime mold is pretty harmless, it still is unsightly and likely not something you want to keep around in your yard or garden area. Continue reading to learn the easy steps you can take to get rid of it.
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BEFORE YOU BEGIN
It is important to emphasize that slime mold is not harmful to people, pets, plants, or the environment. When you’re trying to eliminate yellow mold growing in your yard, you want to avoid using any chemicals. The chemicals will likely do more harm than good by killing the grass or plants in the area and harming the environment.
STEP 1: Rake over the slime mold and surrounding area.
The solution for eradicating slime mold on your property may be easier than you think. Slime mold grows in moist areas, such as piles of mulch, and exposing it to more air to dry it out can stop it from growing. Raking over slime mold will break it up and incorporate more air that will dry it out more quickly. This will help stop it from growing and leave the area in your yard clean.
STEP 2: Adjust irrigation to reduce wetness.
Because slime mold is most commonly found in moist areas, reducing the moisture in your yard can help prevent it from growing on your mulch, grass, and plants. If you have an irrigation system or water your grass or garden, consider reducing the frequency with which you do so. Maintaining a drier space and eliminating excess water is important for controlling slime mold growth.
STEP 3: Hose off large patches of unsightly slime mold.
If you see a large patch of what looks like yellow vomit on your mulch or plants, you also can get rid of it using a hose. Spraying the slime mold will break it up and stop it from taking over your space. However, remember that slime mold thrives in wet areas, so after you spray it down you’ll want to dry the area out some. To do this, use a rake to add more air to the mulch or plants to help ensure the slime mold dries out.
STEP 4: Prune shade trees to introduce more sunlight.
In addition to thriving in moist areas, slime mold grows best in the shade, which dries more slowly than sunny spots. If the areas where you are finding slime mold are located beneath large trees in your yard, consider pruning the trees (or hiring a professional) to allow more sunlight to reach the ground. Decreasing the amount of shade in your yard will create less-desirable growing conditions and can reduce the prevalence of slime mold.
While it isn’t dangerous to people, pets, plants, or the environment, dog vomit slime mold in mulch or gardens can look pretty gross. The steps shared above can help you eliminate slime mold from your property quickly. You also can just wait it out, and it should go away on its own. Remember, since slime mold isn’t dangerous, you don’t want to use toxic chemicals that could pose a threat to children, pets, plants, or the environment.
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