“Dog Vomit” Slime Mold

Have you noticed any slimy mold in your mulch this summer?  We have had a bumper crop of  Fuligo Septica, the “Dog-vomit” slime mold in the mulches this summer. Despite the unpleasant name, it is completely harmless to humans, animals and plants.

According to the North Carolina Cooperative Extension, slime molds consists of amoeboid cells or inconspicuous plasmodia that will slowly invade mulch areas or leaf litter. It eats bacteria, spores and organic matter, eventually moving to the top layer of  mulch, leaf litter, or pinestraw.  Sometimes it can even be found on a low growing plant or the foundation of a building. Once it has settled in a more exposed area, it will stop moving and become a fruiting (spore-producing) body.  The bright yellow, frothy mass of Fuligo septica is first noticed at this point. The size can be just a few inches to up to a foot in diameter. The color will change to a dull orange quickly, then to a light tan as it dries out. In just a few days, it will break apart and the spores ,which are dark-colored, will be released and blow away to start new life cycles. After a week, all that will be left will be bits of a grayish/yellowish crust and a dusting of leftover spores.

There isn’t any point in trying to control Fuligo septica.  It will not harm your plants, but if the sight is intolerable to you, you can remove it by hand or rinse it off with a hose.  Most likely it will reappear this year, but probably not next year unless you apply new mulch.

Planting to Grow,

Jeff

Angelonia Angustifolia – Angelface

What is that flower?

Have you notice the awesome color beds Denise Hill and her Landscape Services team have planted at the Ole Miss campus entry gates this summer?  I have gotten more calls on this one plant than any other in recent years.  What is it?  Angelonia Angustifolia, common name Angelface and also known as the summer snapdragon.

After a couple years of experimenting with this tough hardy season color, the decision was made to “Wow” the entrance gates with Angelonia Angustifolia’s beautiful grace and appearance.  No dead heading required, flowers most of the summer, it does take a slight break from flowering during the high heat, but not much.  Normal watering and fertilizing is needed.  It comes in white, pink and blue tones.  Denise has found it to be very low maintenance which gives it a top rating in our Ole Miss book.

After talking with our team I asked them if they ever sheared them during the summer.  They said they did because they can get a little tall and spindly, but they quickly recover and come back thicker and with more flowers in just a few weeks.  Consider this one for the summer seasonal color bed and pots.  I think you’ll enjoy the results.

 Planting to Grow,

Jeff

P.S. I heard some of the big box stores are carrying Angelonia, but always check the local garden stores first, they may can order for you.

Tree Bark Damage

Recently I had my driveway paved and the asphalt crew did a wonderful job.  In the process they bumped two trees with their equipment leaving exposed areas.  Will I lose these trees or will they be okay?

The short answer is, the trees should be okay.  The bark provides protection for vesicular system that gives the tree the ability to survive and thrive.  It is a big deal when the bark is damaged, especially if it’s damaged around the entire trunk of the tree.  Most likely if the bark is removed around the entire tree, the tree will die.  In my case, there is a chance a fungus could set in the damaged area and some experts recommend treating it with a fungicide.  I did not treat the tree damage and fully expect the trees to recover.  It is thought that taping any loose bark back on the tree with duct tape in the exact location it was prior to the damage will allow the bark a chance to heal over the wound.  I have never done this, but it sounds like it would work.  Some even recommend spraying the wound with pruning paint to help the healing process, but I don’t do this.  I find the wound paint is more for the person who owns the tree and does not help in the recovery process.  I like to clean the damaged wound with a brush and trim off any loose pieces of the bark.  This allows for the tree to do what it does naturally, heal itself.  Over the next couple of years I fully expect the wounds to be healed over with new bark.

Planting to Grow,

Jeff