If you use mulch in your garden and you have noticed little brown spots appearing on your house, car, and other structures, then it is very likely that you have artillery fungus.
Many forms of fungus can be poisonous, as we well know, but is artillery fungus harmful to humans?
Luckily, although artillery fungus can spread its spores prolifically, it is not harmful to humans.
Having an infestation of artillery fungus can be frustrating and aesthetically unappealing, but fortunately, it can be dealt with simply and won’t harm your health.
This article is going to teach you a little about artillery fungus and help you determine if it is harmful to humans.
What is Artillery Fungus?
As usual, before we delve into the topic, we need to get to know our subject a little better.
Artillery fungus is a common fungus found in mulch, wood chips, decaying wood, and dung.
They are a tiny fungus with the fruiting body only measuring 1/10 inch, so it can be hard to spot them in your mulch. But there is one surefire way to tell that you have artillery fungus.
Homeowners usually complain about artillery fungus because of the black spots that it spreads across house siding, garden walls, and vehicles.
These black spots are called glebal masses or peridioles. They are clumps of spores around 2mm in diameter, and these are how the artillery spread their spores.
Artillery fungus gets its name from its ability to shoot these clumps of spores at large distances in order to spread them. At their furthest, the peridioles can be shot 6 feet high and 20 feet horizontally. This means that anything in their path is likely to get splattered with little black spots.
A mature fruiting body will shoot spores for 2-3 weeks. This means that they have the potential to shoot their messy spores over a large area relatively quickly if it is not dealt with.
You may find that artillery fungus has become more prevalent in the last five years, but this is due to the increase in people using mulch in their gardens rather than an upsurge in artillery fungus infestations
Is Artillery Fungus Harmful to Humans?
Despite being very annoying, artillery fungus is not harmful to humans.
It is also not harmful to animals or other plant life that is living around it. Since it is so small in size, it is unlikely that children or small animals will be able to consume them accidentally.
This is a huge relief due to how prolifically they spread their spores, which could be very risky is they were harmful to our health. Artillery fungus is not known to be harmful to those who have fungus allergies either.
While it is safe, it is still very frustrating and unsightly to deal with, so now we are going to get into how to get rid of it.
How to Get Rid of Artillery Fungus
If you have determined that your mulch has artillery fungus, the first step is to remove the infected mulch. We suggest placing it in a biodegradable bag and placing it in the garbage.
Unfortunately, artillery fungus is not responsive to chemicals, so you will have to get rid of it manually.
It is most likely that the artillery fungus is hiding in your mulch, even though it may be hard to see. We recommend regularly raking your mulch or wood chips to break up the fungus and disperse the fruiting bodies.
Raking the mulch will also increase the airflow within it, which will dry it out slightly to deter fungus from growing back.
To prevent artillery fungus from taking hold again, we suggest swapping out any wood chips with mulch that is 85% bark, as this is less hospitable to artillery fungus.
Frequently Asked Questions:
Can you paint over artillery fungus?
Due to the way artillery fungus spreads its spores, it is very common to see unsightly brown spots on the paintwork. Luckily, you can safely paint over it without it disturbing the paint from underneath.
We suggest trying to scrub or sand off the spots before painting to be sure that it is necessary. However, it will likely leave a stain behind.
Can artillery fungus grow indoors?
It is very uncommon to find artillery fungus indoors.
The only instances when it may find its way inside is if you use mulch for your houseplants or use potting soil with a high concentration of wood. These may contain spores of artillery fungus that can mature and spread their spores in your house.
To remove it, replace any mulch or woodchips in your indoor plants with fresh 85% bark mulch.
Can you power wash artillery fungus?
If you have access to a power washer, then getting rid of your artillery fungus gets really easy.
You can power wash your house, outdoor furniture, flooring, and vehicles to remove any signs of artillery fungus spores.
Smaller, more stubborn patches will need to be scrubbed or sanded off. Unfortunately, it is very prone to staining if it is not removed while it is still wet.
While artillery fungus can be very messy and frustrating; ultimately, it is not harmful to humans.
Although it flings its spores around with enthusiasm, the peridioles are completely safe for humans to touch. Luckily, you can easily get rid of artillery fungus by replacing your mulch and raking it on a regular basis.
We hope this has helped quell any of your worries and given you some tips on how to handle this spore flinging fungus.