What is this Gross stuff in my yard?
By Janis Norton
It can be a little unnerving to come across something that looks like vomit in your yard. I had to do some serious double checking the first few times I saw in my yard since I do not have any yard animals and researched this topic quite a bit. Here is what is happening…
Seeing something that looks like vomit appear overnight.
After a decent summer rain or irrigation, a type of mold called “dog vomit slime mold” (among other names) can appear in our yards – usually in the woodchips under our trees. This is not a toxic mold at all. It is a natural, organic occurrence. It most likely came from dormant spores in the woodchips which were activated by the heavy moisture, but can appear in any organic mulch setting.
It poses no danger to humans or pets, although anyone with high allergy sensitivities may experience additional amounts of their usual allergy symptoms. This is actually a beneficial organism that thrives on heat, moisture and decaying organic matter – and is helping breakdown the woodchips and create soil – Yay Nature!!
Molds and fungus perform important tasks in nature by breaking down elements into useful forms, and some varieties even break down heavy metals into inactive forms. As with all molds, toxic or otherwise, you should avoid inhaling the spores simply because we don’t need foreign organisms in our lungs. If it is disturbed by someone or some pet stepping on it or kicking it, it will release spores into the air. Don’t lean in to check it out unless you are wearing a mask.
Weird & Interesting fact about Dog Vomit Slime:
There are stories of some cultures who have snacked on the stuff. I cannot confirm this nor would I ever try it myself or suggest this as an option – YUCK!! And to each culture, their own I guess.
Unless you have some interest in an investigative biology experiment with a local science teacher (and if you do, please tell us about it), I suggest that you leave the ‘dog vomit’ be, and have comfort in the knowledge that there is an amazing ecosystem in your yard – it won’t be there for long. You can also look up ‘dog vomit slime mold’ and learn a lot more about this incredibly interesting organism.
Hope that helps!
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