How to Remove Artillery Fungus
If you’re a homeowner, you’ve probably seen those dark little specs all over your siding or on your windows. This is Artillery Fungus. In this article we explain what it is, where to find it and how to remove it.
What is it?
Many people see artillery fungus on their homes, but don’t actually know what it is. Artillery fungus thrives in mulch and uses an interesting (and annoying) mechanism to disperse its spores. These spores are in packets called peridioles and they sit on top of specialized, cup-shaped cells that accumulate water and cell contents. When enough liquid is collected, these cupped cells invert, propelling the peridioles as high as 6 meters where they can adhere to new surfaces. These “shotgun spores” are dark, disk-shaped spots of about 1-2 millimeters and can be found on nearly any surface. This is thanks to a very sticky substance that covers the peridiole and allows for superb adhesion. Also, this fugus is extremely sensitive to light. This is why they are frequently spotted on lightly-colored surfaces (vinyl siding of homes, white cars, ect.) or other bright, light-reflecting surfaces.
Is it Dangerous?
No, Artillery fungus is not dangerous. While it is definitely unwelcome, it will cause no real harm to its environment. The spores released by Artillery fungus will not hurt your pets or cause any significant damage to your home or garden. We get asked all the time here at Elite Pro Painting if these spores will eat through vinyl or wood siding. The answer is no, in fact most of the time they will dry up and fall off if you wait long enough. When it comes to painting your home, Artillery fungus may seem like a hurdle. The truth is, there is no real harm in painting over Artillery fungus spores. Aside from the 2 mm bump that remains, it’s harmless. At the end of the day, Artillery fungus is considered a very low threat to your home.
Killing Artillery Fungus
We deal with Artillery fungus every day, and the most common question we are asked is how to get rid of it. This is an extremely difficult question to answer. There is no “sure cure” way to remove Artillery fungus. However, certain measures can be taken to reduce or suppress its spread.
Power-wash the infected area with a strong chemical like outdoor bleach. Let the chemicals sit on the fungus for about 10-15 minutes. This has been known to kill the fungus, but not always. Again, Artillery fungus is tough, but bleach may keep it from spreading quickly. Make sure to rinse the area off with clean water to protect the rest of your garden.
To remove the existing spores on your home, you can scrub or scrape the infected area. This is effective, though it will require a lot of elbow grease. At Elite Pro Painting we like to use a scraper, though some people have used methods like mouthwash and a magic erasers to get rid of their spores. Artillery fungus spores also leave behind a stain where they were attached, but this can be scrubbed away.
Replace it with a Good Fungus
Mix in 40% mushroom compost into your mulch. This is a great product that has been proven to suppress Artillery fungus. Mushroom compost or mushroom soil is very “green” and environmentally friendly as well. This is the preferred option for people who want to avoid chemicals or intense scrubbing.
Use Your Fingernail
If you notice these spores on your vehicle, the safest option is to scratch the spore off with your thumbnail or something similar. Be extremely careful not to damage the finish on your vehicle. Car wax can then be used to remove the residue left behind from removing the spore. A magic eraser will also work, but this can damage the paint if scrubbed too much.
There is No Cure for Artillery Fungus
While the solutions listed above will never hurt, there is no permanent way to remove Artillery fungus from your home. However, the main takeaway here is that Artillery fungus isn’t all that dangerous. In fact, you’ll find it on just about every home in your neighborhood. The most anyone can really do is stop it from spreading!