Friday, July 1, 2022

DIY Get Rid of Dog Vomit Fungus in Mulch Bed

Have you ever seen what looks like dog vomit or scrambled eggs show up in your mulch bed on a hot summer day after a heavy rain or watering your lawn at night? I watered at night and ended up with this fungus that looks like my dog ate something and barfed right in the mulch. Turns out this stuff is actually called dog vomit slime mold, and it's a protist not a fungus technically. If the vomit looking part matures it releases clouds of brown spores in order to spread to new areas. It's virtually impossible to get rid of, but I found a DIY way to control it that is easy to do and inexpensive. 

Dog vomit slime mold in mulch bed
Dog vomit slime mold in mulch bed

If you see the dog vomit slime mold looking like this when it is still yellow, like scrambled eggs, then it is not too late to treat it. If it already has a hard dry outer shell then the inside is already packed with brown spores. The spores are hydrophobic meaning they repel water, so spraying it with the hose actually causes the spores to spread even more. 

spray bottle with vinegar treat dog vomit fungus

If you catch it early while it is still yellow like this, spray it with white vinegar. This is a mild acid, and I wouldn't recommend doing it right next to a sensitive plant. But I did it next to some bushes and it was fine. I sprayed the dog vomit slime mold with vinegar and saw the tops start to melt away. Take that!

spray dog vomit slime mold with vinegar
Dog vomit fungus melting away with vinegar

24 hours later the parts I sprayed were melted brown slime that dried up without producing spores. Spraying it with vinegar was so much easier than trying to dig it up and move it or throwing out a whole layer of mulch. This seems to do the trick, but I'm not a scientist I just tried different things to see what works. 

before and after get rid of dog vomit fungus
24 hours later

The thing sent out some extra yellow piles that I also sprayed and they dissolved the same as before. Again, this will definitely add some acid to your mulch bed but it didn't take that much to treat the dog vomit and so far so good I haven't had any damage to my plants.