The Strange "Mushroom" That Looks Like Dog Vomit

What's that weird, foamy blob that just appeared on your mulch or lawn overnight? No, it's not from a cat puking in your yard, and despite its common name of dog vomit fungus, it's neither dog vomit nor a fungus.

The unusual mass is known as a slime mold, and while it's unsightly, it's completely harmless to humans, animals, and plants. It's also an excellent decomposer in your garden!

Here's what you need to know about slime mold (Fuligo septicai) and how to get rid of it (or why you'd want to keep it around).

What is dog vomit fungus?

Slime mold is the casual name given for a soil-dwelling, single-celled primitive organism that combines with other cells to form a plasmodium—essentially, a blob (kind of like an amoeba).

The plasmodium, which varies greatly in size depending on the species, moves around in a creeping or crawling manner as the cells multiply, consuming the bacteria in organic matter as it goes.

What causes dog vomit fungus?

Like true fungi, slime mold is spread by spores through the air. After it goes through the slimy stage, it begins to crust over and turn brown. 

How to get rid of dog vomit fungus in your yard

The most effective way to get rid of dog vomit fungus in your yard is to remove it while it still looks like slime.

Using any tool to pick up the dog vomit fungus will stick the spores to your tool, meaning you’ll have to spend time cleaning your tool to make sure it doesn’t spread to other areas of the garden.

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