There is some foamy yellow stuff growing on the wood chip mulch in my landscape. What is it and how can I remove it?

June 24, 2010 Print Friendly and PDF
Several slime molds (Myxomycetes) may be found in mulched areas, particularly after moist periods or where mulch is regularly wetted. Native to forested areas where wood is always being decomposed on the forest floor, slime molds are NOT harmful to garden plants and represent an unusual episode of biology in action. In the foamy or gelatinous stage, some have called them "dog-barf fungus." During this stage, they move slowly over the wood chip substrate, feeding on decaying organic materials. In this plasmodium stage, they are more like a primitive animal. Later, they dry up, change color and produce dry, brown-red spores that easily become airborne; in this reproductive stage of their life they more closely resemble fungi. Break up gelatinous masses in the "dog-barf" or plasmodium stage with a rake, or scoop slime mold and some underlying mulch with a shovel and place in a drier spot.

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This work is supported by the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture, New Technologies for Ag Extension project.