Many people see artillery fungus and think it stems from an insect. Most have no idea what it is.
Artillery fungus is a fungus that thrives in wet landscape mulch. Artillery fungi uses an interesting mechanism to disperse their spores. Dark brown spore packets called peridioles, sit on top of specialized cup-shaped cells which accumulate water and and cell contents. When enough liquid is accumulated, the cupped cells invert causing the cells to burst and propel the peridioles as high as 6 meters where they can adhere to new surfaces. The fungi appear as yellow-brown to black disk-shaped spots of about 1-2 mm. They can be found nearly on any surface due to a very sticky substance (mother nature’s version of super glue) covering the peridiole that allows for good adherence. The fungi are very sensitive to light and the spores are projected towards it, so they are frequently located on white and light-colored surfaces (vinyl siding of homes, white cars, ect.) or other bright, light-reflecting surfaces.
This artillery fungus does not normally structurally damage houses, cars, plants that they cover. Here are a few frequently asked questions we receive about this artillery fungi.
Q: What exactly is Artillery Fungus?
A: The artillery fungus is a white-rotting, wood-decay fungus that likes to live on moist landscape mulch.
Q: Does the artillery fungus hurt pets?
A: This fungus will not harm your pets.
Q: Are these spots alive? Will they damage my vinyl?
A: Yes they are alive, but not in the sense that they can damage your home. They are dormant, or sleeping and pose no threat to your siding other than leaving a stain.
Q: Can I just paint over the spots?
A: Yes you can.
These are just a few frequent questions we receive about this fungi. The most common question and one that is usually the first one asked is, “How can I get rid of the fungi”? This is an extremely difficult question to answer. There are no “sure cure” ways to remove the fungus. However, certain measures can be taken to reduce or suppress the fungus.
- Power-wash the infected area and use a chemical such as outdoor bleach on the area. Let the chemicals sit on the fungus for about 10-15 minutes. This allows the chemicals to soak on the fungus and kill it. This may not remove the specs on your vinyl, but will kill the fungus and keep it from spreading. Rinse the area off.
- Scrub or scrape the spores off the area infected. This will require a lot of “elbow grease”. Some people have used methods such as using mouthwash and a magic eraser to get rid of the stain left behind after scraping the spores off of the areas.
- Mix in 40% mushroom compost to your mulch, This is a great product and helps suppress the fungus. Mushroom compost or mushroom soil is very “green” and environment friendly.
- If you notice these spores on your vehicles you can scrape the spore off with your thumbnail or something else (be extremely careful not to damage the finish on your vehicle) and wax can be used to remove the residue left behind from removing the spore. Also a magic eraser will work BUT can damage the paint if rubbed too much.
There are no permanent solutions or easy solutions in removing this fungi off of your vinyl home or any other surfaces you may find these spores on. A lot of the cleansing methods are abrasives used with a lot of elbow grease.