Honey! What Are These Black Spots?

Honey! What Are These Black Spots?

Have you become a victim of artillery fungus?


You are all set for your weekend gardening and thought it was going to be a simple job. Upon removing your existing mulch or soil, trimming down or removing any floral bushes, a new problem presents itself.

Splatters of tiny dots are all over the exterior wall of the home. You whip out that handy brush just to find it still does not alleviate the problem. You then either go online to research what is this new headache or snap a picture and go down to your local home improvement store demanding answers.

Either way, the conclusion is the same. Those tiny black dots peppering the sides of your home are artillery fungus. If you have moist wood mulch, you created a home for the decaying wood fungus spores. It is the spores that spit out these terribly sticky black excrements. If you are able to remove while they are fresh, you will get the best results.

Vinyl or Aluminum Siding

If you have vinyl or aluminum siding, it is nearly impossible to remove. Some recommendations include a scraper, steel wool, applying mouthwash or bleach, and using an abrasive cleaner like Mr. Clean’s Magic Eraser. These methods do not always work though.

Wood Exterior

If your home is a wood exterior, simply sand down the area, re-stain or repaint to seal the wood.

Last month we talked about the risk of termites and wood mulch. This month we are bringing awareness of a possible fungus issue. If wood mulch is more appealing to you, it is recommended to replace the mulch regularly to prevent new or additional growth of the fungus spores.

For those who have had this unfortunate incident and do not prefer to lay down a new layer of the money-draining mulch, there are three options. For each of these options though, it is important to remove all of the existing wooden mulch and possibly any affected soil. Some would even go to some lengths as to lay down a weed fabric barrier. If future plants are your plans for this affected area, the barrier could hinder their growth.

Xeriscaping is done with stone. Pictured above is a replication with rubber mulch.

Xeriscaping is done with stone. Pictured above is a replication with rubber mulch.


Option one is to lay down stone with soil to create more of a xeriscape look. This type of landscape is most common in the drier states such as the Southwestern region. It provides you the ability to still plant your perennials, but they may not grow as deeply and as full because of the stone.

Artificial Mulch

There are three kinds of artificial mulches: rubber, glass and plastic.

Of the three common varieties, rubber mulch is widely available. Rubber mulch also allows more soil penetration of water because it does not absorb water. The colors and pellet sizes available for rubber mulch can mimic wooden mulch or give your yard a completely different aesthetic not achieved with any other landscaping method.

shutterstock_155648909Natural Soil and Ground-Cover Plants

The last option is to remove all of the affected wood mulch and soil. Use a new soil that is optimal for ground-cover plants. This will help fill your gardening pad and reduce the amount of re-soiling you may need to do. The fullness of some ground-cover plants can also help cover up those peppery black spots in case none of the above methods work.

Artillery fungus is not something you would wish on your neighbor’s ill will. While it does not cause destruction like termites do, it still is a sign of weakness to your home. Be careful with the use of wood mulch.

Direct Rubber Mulch distributes rubber mulch as an alternative to wood mulch. Our rubber mulch products as well as rubber mats and rubber borders are sold throughout the U.S. To find out what benefits our rubber mulch can do for you, contact us!


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