The Q&A Archives: Slime Mold on Roses?

Question: I have used your library to identify (I believe) slime mold. The weather has been very hot and humid and your description fit the mass I found on top of the leftover mulch pile. However, I found a mass completely covering the base of a small rose bush. I also found another mass at the base of a large tree but it was also slighty on top of the mulch, unlike the one on the rose bush, which was barely touching any mulch at all. I am a novice garderner who has enthusiastically taken over the gardens of the previous owners of our new home. Any help you can give me will be greatly appreciated.

Answer: There are many varieties of "growths" like the slime molds and assorted lichens and so on and as a rule they are simply a normal part of the decay process or basically harmless. As long as they are growing on dead material such as mulch they should not present a problem. If however they are growing on a live plant such as the rose canes themselves, then it is possible that it is something other than a relatively benign occurrence, but unfortunately I am unable to identify it for you on the basis of your description. You might wish to take a photograph or a sample to your County Extension (885-8985) for help in identifying it. Enjoy your "new" garden adventure!

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