Our wet and humid summer may not have been the best for your garden, but these conditions have been quite hospitable for plant fungal and disease issues. Even as we begin to dry out and get a break from the constant rain, we are still seeing signs left behind in the garden from our saturated summer. One seemingly alarming problem that might pop up in your lawn is slime mold. While this is usually a widespread issue in late spring and early summer in Alabama, it can be seen sporadically throughout the year, and has recently been spotted in Mobile County. Slime mold slowly spreads up onto the turfgrass leaves when wet conditions persist. At this stage, slime mold might look like oil or dog vomit, depending on which type you have. Once on the grass, the slime mold produces spores that dry up into a gray or white crust, making for easy spore dispersal. Sounds spooky, but slime molds are not harmful to plants, us or our pets. Be sure you have good drainage throughout your lawn area and keep thatch build-up to a minimum (mow once or twice per week in growing season) as slime mold feeds on decaying organic matter. Slime mold can easily be taken care of by hosing off your lawn or through mowing or light raking when it has already formed the crusty fruiting bodies. Or, you can embrace your slime mold and work it into your Halloween decorations… it can be pretty scary-looking!
Photo: Crusty gray fruiting bodies of slime mold seen on turf in Mobile County.
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