so, today, i'm going to rake every bit of red mulch out and throw it in the woods out back. i'll replace it with black mulch this week. this stuff is terrible especially if the area is damp and shady.
Snip/Q: So what mulch(es) appear to be best?
A: We tested 27 mulches in the field, and found that some supported more artillery fungus than others. In this study, two of the more resistant mulches were the large pine bark nuggets and shredded cypress (not finely ground) mulch. The large nuggets stay hard and dry, conditions that the artillery fungus does not like. The cypress probably contains some anti-fungal, anti-decay chemical(s).
This study also revealed that 100 percent spent mushroom compost greatly suppresses the artillery fungus. Click here for an article from the Journal of Enviromental Horticulture entitled “Artillery Fungus Sporulation on 27 Different Mulches- A Field Study.” We also have just finished a study that indicates that lower percentage of spent mushroom compost (also called spent mushroom substrate (SMS) and mushroom manure) mixed with landscape mulch suppresses the artillery fungus. Click here for an article from the Journal of Environmental Horitculture entitled “Use of Mushroom Compost to Suppress Artillery Fungus.”
Q: How about artificially colored mulches?
A: We have tested mulches of various colors, as well as the chemicals themselves used to color the mulches. The chemicals used in our tests, at the concentrations used, did not inhibit the artillery fungus.
Colored mulches appeared to very slightly, but only temporarily, inhibit the artillery fungus. We attribute this to the colored mulches being slightly more water repellent and therefore remain drier than the non-colored mulches, at least at first. As the colors faded due to rain and sunlight, the artillery fungus moved right in.
Q: Should I put down new mulch each year?
A: Interestingly, homeowners that put down new mulch each year seem to have less of the artillery fungus problem. But, we have not confirmed this practice. But it does seem to work. Don't miss a year! /Snip