Slime Molds

Slime molds have been appearing, causing concern among some gardeners. Slime molds can be common on mulch or on low-lying vegetation, especially after rains or after watering plants in warm, humid weather.

These primitive organisms start out bright and slimy, usually yellow or orange, and take up an area from several inches to more than a foot. The slimy stage eventually dries and the slime mold organism develops into a colorful structure filled with dark, dusty spores.

Slime molds are not plant disease-causing organisms. They get their food from decaying organic matter and other organisms found in the soil. Slime molds might be classified as a curiosity or a temporary nuisance.

Chemical controls are not necessary. Slime molds can be left to run their course. If their appearance is bothersome, the fruiting bodies can be collected and thrown away, or you can simply break them up with a vigorous raking.

This article originally appeared in the July 13, 2001 issue, p. 85.

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