Slime Molds

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Have you seen anything like this in your mulch beds this summer? Collectively, these are called slime molds. Even though they can be strange or gross to look at, slime molds are completely harmless to humans, pets, and the plants in your flower beds. The type of slime mold that I have received the most calls about is called Fuligo septica aka Dog’s vomit. An accurate common name, since it does look like a dog threw up in the middle of your mulch bed. 

image of creeping slime mold

Creeping slime mold

image of Wolf's milk slime mold

Wolf’s milk slime mold

image of dried dog vomit slime mold in mulch

Dried dog vomit slime mold

image of dog vomit slime mold on tree bark

Dog vomit slime mold

Slime molds are fungi-like organisms and like fungi, they are decomposers. They love to feed on the bacteria of dead plant materials, like your mulch. They are spread by spores, so they can move very easily. They lay dormant until conditions are right in summer to show back up again. There are chemical fungicides that help control slime molds like products containing the active ingredient mancozeb. However, since it is no harm to anyone or anything, I always recommend just removing it with a pitchfork and giving it a toss to the woods or compost bin. You can also just spray it with a water hose if it creeps onto the base of your plants. 

They are kind of weird looking, but they are kind of cool as well so don’t hate on the slime molds too much this summer, or blame your dog!