Mulch is designed to protect your plant’s roots while reducing weed growth. But while mulch can keep the soil moist, this high humidity can also lead to excessive fungal growth.
These fungi can wreak havoc on your plants, which is why it’s essential to know how to get rid of fungus in mulch.
This mulch fungus guide will offer some valuable tips and tricks, helping you keep your plants in tip-top condition!
What Is Mulch Fungus?
Mulch fungus refers to any mold that typically grows in mulch. These include moisture-loving molds that consume organic matter like wood.
Some of the most common types of fungi found in mulch include:
- Powdery mildew
- Slime mold
These fungi may not affect the health of your plants (slime mold), or they can significantly harm your plants (powdery mildew).
But one of the best ways to prevent fungal growth in your mulch is to understand why it happens in the first place!
Why Does Fungus Grow in Mulch?
Fungi are some of the most ancient organisms that still thrive on this planet. This diverse Fungi Kingdom is about a billion years old, making it much older than all plants and animals on Earth.
But how have fungi managed to stick around for so long? The answer to their longevity is likely their adaptability.
Fungal spores can spread via the wind and take up residence in almost any place. Still, most fungi prefer damp, dark areas where they can grow undisturbed.
Mulch provides a barrier between the soil and the air, trapping moisture and providing a dark environment that keeps roots safe from harsh sunlight. As you might have guessed, this habitat is ideal for fungi.
To put it bluntly, fungus grows in mulch because mulch provides the perfect environment for fungal spores to flourish. But getting rid of fungus in mulch doesn’t mean keeping your mulch out of the rain.
How to Get Rid of Fungus in Mulch
There are a few tried-and-true methods of preventing and eliminating mulch fungus. You can divide these anti-fungi steps into two categories:
- Soil-based fungal prevention, and
- Mulch-based fungal prevention
If you’re placing soil into a garden bed that you intend to cover with mulch, you’ll likely want to treat the ground first. One of the best ways to do this is to spray to soil with a mixture of baking soda and water.
The highly alkaline nature of baking soda reduces soil acidity. Notably, many fungi prefer living in acidic environments, so making the soil slightly alkaline can reduce a ton of fungal growth.
You can also treat the mulch to help prevent fungal growth.
Using a mixture of baking soda and water also works with mulch, including wood mulch! Just be sure never to soak your mulch entirely, or you might be inviting rapid mold growth.
You may also want to remove moldy mulch and replace it with a new, dry batch. Fortunately, mulch is relatively inexpensive, and you can buy mulch online right now.
Enjoy Healthier Plants Today
Know you know how to get rid of fungus in mulch! You can lay down new mulch with confidence, knowing that pesky fungus won’t rot your outdoor plant’s roots.
Remember, healthy roots make for a healthy plant. So minimizing fungal growth in your outdoor mulch is crucial.
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