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Artillery fungus research sheds light on mulch choice

Posted: October 25, 2004

Suggested Intro:

ARTILLERY FUNGUS HAS BEEN A PARTICULAR PROBLEM FOR HOMEOWNERS THE LAST TWO YEARS. BUT A RESEARCHER IN PENN STATE'S COLLEGE OF AGRICULTURAL SCIENCES SAYS THE RESULTS OF STUDIES ON LANDSCAPE MULCHES MIGHT OFFER SOME RELIEF. CHUCK GILL REPORTS:

Story:

(:10) ARTILLERY FUNGUS GROWS IN LANDSCAPE MULCH AND THRIVES IN COOL, WET WEATHER. SO IF YOU HAVE MULCH AROUND YOUR HOUSE, YOU MAY FIND A LOT OF SMALL, STICKY SPORES ON YOUR SIDING OR CAR THIS YEAR.

(:12) PENN STATE RESEARCHERS HAVE BEEN STUDYING DIFFERENT MULCHES, LOOKING FOR WAYS TO FIGHT THE FUNGUS' ASSAULT ON LIGHT-REFLECTING OBJECTS. PLANT PATHOLOGIST DON DAVIS SAYS HOMEOWNERS SHOULD CONSIDER MULCH MADE FROM LARGE PINE BARK NUGGETS OR CYPRESS:

Davis Actuality:
(:17) "LARGE PINE BARK NUGGETS STAY VERY HARD AND DRY -- THIS IS A MOISTURE-LOVING FUNGUS, SO IT JUST DOESN'T DO VERY WELL ON PINE BARK NUGGETS. ALSO, IT DIDN'T DO VERY WELL ON CYPRESS MULCH. CYPRESS TREES CONTAIN ANTI-FUNGAL CHEMICALS AND WE THINK THAT'S THE REASON."

(:14) RESEARCHERS ALSO HAVE FOUND THAT A MIX OF LANDSCAPE MULCH AND SPENT MUSHROOM COMPOST SUPPRESSES ARTILLERY FUNGUS. AND THAT COULD HELP SOLVE TWO PROBLEMS, SINCE SPENT COMPOST IS A DISPOSAL ISSUE FOR THE MUSHROOM INDUSTRY. FROM PENN STATE, I'M CHUCK GILL.

To learn more, follow these links:

Artillery Fungus - Frequently Asked Questions (compiled by Donald Davis, Penn State professor of plant pathology)

WHAT IS GROWING IN MY LANDSCAPE MULCH? (College of Agricultural Sciences fact sheet. Click here for PDF version.)