With every spring season, polished cars and groomed yards are on many to-do lists. Mulch is a popular choice for many homeowners but it does come with a potential downside that I would like to share with you and hopefully save you some time and money.
Sphaerobolus Fungi or more commonly called “shotgun fungus” or “artillery fungus” is a round sticky reddish-brown ball that jumps up to twenty feet and attaches itself to house siding, downspouts, windows, and cars. The fungus thrives in spring and fall when the temperatures are between 50 and 70 degrees. These little balls of fungi can become a real nuisance and extremely difficult to remove.
Artillery fungus is easiest to remove in the first three weeks of occurrence because in most cases has not completely embedded itself into the car’s surfaces and an aggressive hot water power washing and car wash will remove most or all of the fungi. Artillery fungus that is now left on the car’s surface usually needs to be carefully removed individually because they have left a stain in the vehicle’s paint / clear coat. After fungi removal is complete polishing and paint protection is recommended to restore the painted surfaces.
Solutions to eliminate or curb the threat of artillery fungus
Use rot-resistant mulches such as cedar, redwood, or cypress. Switch to a non-organic ground cover such as stone, gravel or river rock or similar products. Remove the old mulch and add a new layer. Avoid using mulches made of wood chips or ground-up pallets. Keeping the area dry by raking and turning the mulch will help to retard the growth. Treat the area with an EPA-approved fungicide. Remove rotting wood and animal dropping as they create optimum conditions for the fungus to grow