Friday, April 4, 2008

Mystery Solved...

It's called slime mold, and yes, it is a fungus.

Here's what I learned...
"...It lives on wood and bark mulch, but doesn't really decay the wood. The most common form appears in the evening as a slimy yellow mass about 12" in diameter. (People describe it as looking like something that the dog coughed up.) Each mass is actually one large cell and has the ability to move across the mulch! There is no preventative measure for controlling these annoying growths. But they are most common on newly applied mulch. When they appear, simply scoop them up and throw them away. To avoid them in the future, use a different material for mulch. If you have pine bark, switch to hard wood and vice versa." Read more here

"Slime molds feed on microorganisms in decaying vegetable matter. They can be found in the soil, on lawns, and in the forest commonly on deciduous logs. They are also common on mulch or even in leaf mold which collects in gutters." The interesting stuff... "If one strand is carefully watched for about 50 seconds the cytoplasm can be seen to slow, stop, and then reverse direction. The streaming protoplasm within a plasmodial strand can reach speeds of up to 1.35 mm. per second which is the fastest rate recorded for any organism." Read more here

So... supposedly it's not harmful & there's not much that can be done about it aside from what we've been doing. It still gives me the heebie jeebies though!

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