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Artillery Fungus Around Your Home: Causes, and Prevention

Artillery fungus, scientifically known as Sphaerobolus stellatus, is a unique and somewhat notorious fungus that thrives in moist, organic environments. Its common name, "shotgun fungus," derives from its explosive spore discharge mechanism. This fungus is most frequently found in wood-based mulch, where it plays a role in the decomposition process.

How Does Artillery Fungus Work?

Artillery fungus is distinguished by its ability to launch tiny, sticky spore masses over significant distances. These spores can travel up to 20 feet, adhering firmly to any surface they contact. This remarkable dispersal method allows the fungus to colonize new areas, but it also causes problems for homeowners. The spore masses appear as small black dots on siding, windows, cars, and other surfaces, making them unsightly and very difficult to remove.

Causes and Habitat

The primary cause of artillery fungus is the presence of moist, decaying organic material, particularly wood mulch. The conditions that favor its growth include:

  • High Moisture: The fungus thrives in damp environments.

  • Organic Material: It primarily grows on wood mulch and other decomposing plant materials.

  • Shade and Shelter: Shady areas with little direct sunlight provide an ideal environment.

Preventing Artillery Fungus

Preventing artillery fungus involves managing the conditions that support its growth. Here are several strategies:

  1. Mulch Selection: Use non-organic mulches such as stone, rubber, or synthetic alternatives, which do not support fungal growth. If organic mulch is preferred, opt for composted mulch, which is less conducive to the fungus.

  2. Moisture Control: Ensure good drainage around mulched areas and avoid excessive watering. Dry mulch is less likely to harbor the fungus.

  3. Regular Maintenance: Turn the mulch periodically to disrupt fungal growth and allow it to dry out more efficiently.

  4. Sunlight Exposure: If possible, increase sunlight exposure to the mulched areas to reduce moisture levels.

Removing Artillery Fungus? - “Next to Impossible” - Bayside Clean


Artillery fungus, while a fascinating natural phenomenon, can be a significant nuisance for homeowners. By understanding its causes and taking preventive measures, you can minimize its impact on your property.


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