When you apply hardwood bark mulch to your landscape, immediately the landscape has a sharp, crisp look to it. The mulch also helps to maintain a uniform soil temperature and holds in moisture. But sometimes mulch can create an unsuspected problem that many people don’t even realize they have. During the hot, humid weeks in the dog days of summer it’s not unusual for fungi to grow in the mulch around your home. Most of these fungi are harmless to you and your plants. But there is one fungus that can literally splatter your house with little tiny brown spots!
Shotgun fungus (AKA Artillery fungus) is best know for the way in which it spreads. It forms tiny pin-head size bulbs that collect water and other matter. These bulbs are sensitive to light and once the bulbs have fully formed, they explode in the direction of the light spreading the fungus in many different directions.
In a good wind these bulbs can explode and reach as far as twenty feet! The picture above shows the fungus on the side of a house.
This type of fungus is very hard to remove from the objects it adheres to. Sometimes soap, water and a little elbow grease does the trick but it’s very difficult to completely remove it.
The fungus typically grows and forms in wood mulch which is generally why it ends up on your house. At this time there isn’t any fungicide to apply to the mulch to prevent shotgun fungus from forming. What I do to control fungi in the mulch around my house is to simply disturb the fungus as soon as I see it appear. Sometimes I flip it over so the air can get to the underside of it, or if I suspect it’s shotgun fungus I’ll just place a layer of mulch over top of it to prevent the explosive action.
Granted fungi grow quickly in mulch and before I see them the damage might already be done. I wish I could give you better news.
Try to clean the fungus from your house as soon as you notice it to prevent any further damage.