Artillery Fungus (Scientifically known as Sphaerobolus stellatus) are a frequent housing issue but commonly mistaken for tar spots because of their tiny size. These fungi generally grow over light-colored exterior surfaces surrounded by mulch beds.
The temporarily visible (but rather difficult to notice) little black specks are the telltale sign of fungus infiltration in your mulch—and ongoing reproduction. You can identify this problem by looking closely and with all your attention at your windows, sidings, and plant leaves. The little specks can also appear in your car. Fungus spotting is time-consuming but worth it for the maintenance of your property.
In this article, we’re going to explore why and where Shotgun Fungus appears, how to prevent its infiltration, and the do’s and don’ts if you’ve already seen it in your house or office.
Why Artillery Fungus appears on my siding?
As it can happen with food, fungi are attracted to certain light, moisture, and temperature conditions that are commonly found in mulch beds. If temperature ranges between 50°F and 68°F in a naturally humid mulch bed, fungi find the perfect environment to produce their fruiting bodies, leading to the black specks that you notice on surfaces.
The tiny size of these spots (an average diameter of 1/10 inch) makes them difficult to recognize if you don’t take the time to look at the objects closely.
As the fungi continues to reproduce, they remain active for a couple of weeks. Is this seasonal? Not really. However, Shotgun Fungus appears more heavily in spring and fall.
How to prevent Shotgun Fungus or keep it at bay
The best scenario here is, as with anything in the housing arena, prevention. So, if you’re adding mulch, first you should remove any old mulch that could be contaminated with fungi.
Another safe measure is taking the time to talk to your provider so you can buy mulch varieties that don’t carry Shotgun Fungus or, at the very least, minimize the likelihood of their infiltration. Some of these are:
- southern pine needles
- pine bark nuggets
- pea gravel
- tire bits
- cocoa shells (yes!)
What should I do if I already have Artillery Fungus?
Nobody wants fungi in their house or workplace. However, if you’ve already found Artillery Fungus, you must avoid power washing, which is an effective technique to deal with other problems, but not with this type of spores.
You may have also tried to wipe them out manually (and accidentally got rid of the oxidized coloring on your surface). This commonly happens when you apply excessive manual pressure or make a wrong choice of cleaning products and dosage.
To conclude, when it comes to Artillery Fungus, remember to:
- Take the time to observe your property, plants, and vehicles
- Remove old mulch before adding any new
- Buy safe mulch varieties
- Avoid power washing
- Avoid intense manual cleaning
Feeling lost? The Pressure Washing Guy can help you control your Artillery Fungus with proven pressure washing methods that won’t damage your surfaces.