Have you experienced black specks on your house or car and wondered where they came from? Well, it may come from a fungus growing in your mulch called artillery or shotgun fungus. The fungus produces a sticky mass of spores that when conditions are right they will shoot into the air. They have been known to shoot the spores as high as the second floor of a building. The problem that they create is that they like to aim at shiny or light materials. Once these masses hit their mark, they are very difficult to remove even with the best of cleaners.
Studies are currently going on to learn more about the fungus and how we can control it. Currently, the recommendation to prevent the artillery fungus is to either remove the current mulch and replace it with non-organic mulch like pea gravel, or brick chips or with a mulch that is made from cypress, cedar, redwood, or pine bark as these will not support fungus growth. If you present hardwood mulch, then you need to replace or at least replenish the mulch each year. The fungus does not grow on fresh mulch because the heating process kills the spores. Older mulch can grow it because its aged mulch and the spores can be produced in either the spring or the fall. There are no fungicides labeled to control artillery fungus. (submitted by Dave Kochman)
According to Meteorologist Brent Watts from wdbj7 in Virginia – Explains how he discovered the black dots on his car.
HOW TO REMOVE THE FUNGUS
While there are many things you could try, you’ll want to be careful as to not remove the paint from your vehicle. Using warm, soapy water or an auto soap is an option. Others have taken a credit card to scrape them off.
Keeping your car out of the 25-foot radius of mulch or rotting wood will help keep them off your vehicle. Covering your vehicle is another option, but may not be a practical solution.
There is no fungicide registered as an artillery fungus treatment. There is research to suggest that blending mushroom compost at a rate of 40% with landscape mulch can suppress the spores. Also, the use of gravel or plastic mulch will not cause the formation of the spores. To kill the spores in lighter areas, cover the zone with black plastic and allow the sun to cook the spores out of the bark.
Credit to wdbj7 in Virginia