Ever find the siding of your house (or your car) PLASTERED with tiny black spots – that won’t come off?! The source of your newly found, labor intensive chore is Artillery Fungus which, in nature, shoots spores toward the sunlight to aid in its dispersal. When conditions are right and sunlight is not available, it takes aim at light-colored, reflective surfaces like vinyl siding and cars. What exactly you are up against? A ‘frequently asked questions’ website managed by one of the nations leading experts on Artillery Fungus, Penn State’s Dr. Donald D. Davis that provides a wide discussion about the fungus. Several ‘reader suggestion’ sites offer their collective experience in trying to remove the indelible, sticky spores and this one seems to have a few successes. Mouthwash has been an effective “out of the box” solution to use as well. Cornell University has brief, but interesting, plant-microbe biology facts about Artillery Fungus. If you were curious to read through the links, you will note that decaying wood is the perfect host for the fungus. Awesome – when the life cycle of Artillery Fungus occurs in the middle of the woods, but why is this fungus appearing on our houses and cars? Inadvertantly, the ‘perfect host’ for Artillery Fungus has been brought right into our yards by choice. Homeowners are increasingly using ‘bark mulch’ in the landscape for both aesthetic and maintenance purposes. However, you may have incedently purchased wood mulch dyed to look pretty or chosen it for monetary reasons. Other reasons to steer clear of wood mulch is often times its sourced from demolition/construction sites or ground up pallets. Decaying wood also attracts carpenter ants. The extended severe drought and now humid conditions has raised consideration of a couple of important benefits our naturally aged dark bark mulch offers. It qualifies as a low fire hazard risk due to the fact carbon ( which colors woodchips black) is not an additive and its compost-y structure holds onto moisture. Finally, bark mulch is not a host for artillery fungus.
*Pictured is ‘Bird’s Nest Fungus’ which is often confused with Artillery Fungus.