What is that growing in my flower bed?

contributed photo 

This particular slime mold is called dog vomit slime mold.

I finally had a chance to put fresh mulch around my landscape beds. And it made them look so nice! But after the rain we received the following week, something appeared. Something that looked kind of gross. Slime mold had sprung up over night! In fact, this particular slime mold is called dog vomit slime mold, if that gives you a hint of what it looked like.

The growth in my beds looked a light yellowish color, but it is not uncommon for slime molds to be white, cream, gray or purple. They also have a crusty appearance. The molds quickly appear overnight. They vary in sizes from a few inches wide to over a foot or more. Some become a foot or more in size. They can be found from April through October, usually following rainy weather.

Have you had similar problems pop up in your landscape? If so, there is nothing to worry about! It is not harmful to you, your pets, or plants.

Mulches are a great idea to use in your landscape. They protect the soil, conserve moisture, moderate temperature and limit weed growth. Most mulches are made from shredded wood or bark residue. The wood in mulch starts to decompose quickly. It is part of the natural process.

Bacteria and fungi are two of the most active decomposers that feed on the wood debris. The slime mold that I found was feeding on that bacteria and other organisms living in the mulch. Despite the name, slime molds themselves are not actually a fungus, though they are closely related.

Although they are not harmful, if you wish to get rid of them, simply rake them out of the mulch as they appear. As the structures dry out in hot weather, they become ash gray and break up easily when touched.

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