Artillery fungus is a fungus that thrives in wet landscape mulch. Artillery fungi use an interesting mechanism to disperse their spores. Dark brown spore packets called peridioles, sit on top of specialized cup-shaped cells which accumulate water and cell contents. When enough liquid is accumulated, the cupped cells invert causing the cells to burst and propel the peridioles as high as 6 meters where they can adhere to new surfaces. The fungi appear as yellow-brown to black disk-shaped spots of about 1-2 mm. They can be found nearly on any surface due to a very sticky substance (mother nature’s version of superglue) covering the peridiole that allows for good adherence. The fungi are very sensitive to light and the spores are projected towards them, so they are frequently located on white and light-colored surfaces (vinyl siding of homes, white cars, etc.) or other bright, light-reflecting surfaces.
If artillery fungus is left on a surface, it can become nearly impossible to completely remove the spots, making it beneficial to know where the fungus grows and how to clean artillery fungus. One of the worst parts about artillery fungus is that it can shoot spores up to 20 feet and usually aims toward the sun as the spores stick to light-colored surfaces.
Where Does Artillery Fungus Come From?
Artillery fungus, or shotgun fungus, is a wood-decay fungus that lives on moist landscape mulch, especially in bark and hardwood mulch. Unfortunately, no natural mulch can resist the fungus growth, which makes it even more important to be aware of possible spores sticking to your home or deck and clean the area as soon as possible. One of the best ways to prevent artillery mulch from spreading is to refresh your mulch each year. You can also add about three inches of fresh mulch on top of the existing to suffocate the spores and stop them from latching onto your siding. Even with new landscaping, it’s a good idea to have the proper cleaner for artillery mulch on hand to avoid mold-looking stains on your property.
How To Clean Artillery Fungus
If you’ve noticed the spores spotting your stuff – home, flower pots, garden hose – clean the areas immediately. Speed is the best defense against artillery fungus. When you’re cleaning your home or backyard décor, use a non-toxic cleaner to keep your family and pets safe. Once the spores have been set on a surface for an extended period of time, even pressure washing can be ineffective. Scrubbing the spots will be your best bet at removal. Use an ozone-safe cleaner and gently scrub the spots with a wire brush to remove the stain. If a faint mark remains after scrubbing, use the cleaner and a towel to remove the spot.
How To Prevent Artillery Fungus From Spreading
Because artillery fungus grows in every form of organic mulch, you won’t be able to completely stop the fungus from forming. However, you can cover your mulch with black plastic during the time when spores are most active to protect your property. In extreme cases, removing the mulch from your property completely and using an alternative – stone or non-wood mulch – may be the only permanent solution.
Making a habit of cleaning your home’s siding, flower pots, and outdoor furniture with a biodegradable cleaner will prevent the spores from staining the surfaces.
Is Artillery Fungus Dangerous?
While it’s annoying, requires a lot of elbow grease to remove, and is unsightly on your house and car, artillery fungus is not dangerous. The fungus is more bothersome than anything, so pets and flowers are safe.
Here are a few frequently asked questions we receive about this artillery fungi.
- What exactly is Artillery Fungus?
- The artillery fungus is a white-rotting, wood-decay fungus that likes to live on moist landscape mulch.
- Does the artillery fungus hurt pets?
- This fungus will not harm your pets.
- Are these spots alive? Will they damage my vinyl?
- Yes they are alive, but not in the sense that they can damage your home. They are dormant, or sleeping and pose no threat to your siding other than leaving a stain.
- Can I just paint over the spots?
- Yes you can.