Sunday, July 08, 2012

Artillery Fungus

A morning dog walk provided a chance to do some garden detective work. I was talking to a neighbor when I noticed tiny black spots on her car. She had been wondering how they got there.
Closer up, they look like tiny specs of tar.
A few years back another neighbor, after finding tiny black spots accumulating on house siding, traced the culprit back to something growing in the woodchip mulch used around foundation plantings.

I checked the other side of the car. Almost no spots at all.
The side with the spots is always parked next to a flower bed mulched with woodchip mulch, which makes good habitat for artillery fungus, so-called because it can shoot spore sacs more than 15 feet. In areas of the garden close to houses or parking, it may help to use bark mulch rather than woodchips, or use the well-composted woodchip mulch available to Princeton residents at the Lawrenceville Ecological Center. Below is one of many sources of more information.

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