The Q&A Archives: Fungus On Garden Beds

Question: Last year, I had a problem with some sort of fungus growing (and spreading) across my mulched flower beds. It first appeared looking like someone had spilled bright yellow paint on the woodchips. After several days, the color dulled, but the "paint" puffed up, looking like an off-white, congealed popcorn. In that stage, whenever it was touched, by hand or by water, it would release clouds of black spores. I found it difficult to remove without causing it to spread further. What is it, how do I prevent it, and once I have it, how do I remove it or kill it?

Answer: Actually, apart from being unsightly, the growth is not harmful and does not require control. It is one of the natural methods of breaking down the mulch to help feed the soil over time. However, the best control would be to avoid wetting it and keep the mulch surface "fluffed up" so that it dries quickly. If you see it beginning, remove it immediately before it has time to develop the spores.

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