What is Artillery Fungus? Here Are The Top 5 Things You Should Know

Artillery Fungus/ Shotgun Mold

Artillery Fungus On White Vinyl Siding
Artillery Fungus On White Vinyl Siding

Have you ever noticed small, black spore masses on the side of your home? A type of fungus called artillery fungus causes these. Here is what you should know about this nuisance.  Artillery fungus is one of the most common fungi that people encounter. Though it is not harmful to humans, it can cause extensive damage to your home. Keep reading to learn more about this destructive fungus, and how to protect your home from it.

What is artillery fungus

Artillery Fungus, Sphaerobolus Stellatus, Shotgun Mold
Artillery Fungus, Sphaerobolus Stellatus, Shotgun Mold

Artillery fungus, a common saprophytic fungus, grows from decaying wood and other organic material. It has a few different names: Shotgun Fungus, Artillery Mold, or its scientific name, Sphaerobolus Stellatus.  Found throughout North America, these annoying fungi find themselves plastered onto homes, buildings, and vehicles. Unlike other organisms that slowly digest decaying wood as their primary food source, artillery fungus emit tiny sticky spore masses. 

Where Artillery Fungus Comes From

Artillery Fungus In Black Mulch

Artillery Fungus can usually found in non-composted mulch that has not gone through the burning process, which is usually what removes the fungus from the mulch. When the spores attach to your siding and dry, they are like a mix of super glue and tar. With its swift nature and tenacity left untreated, it can be difficult and almost impossible to remove these stains even with special scrubbing products specifically designed for the task.

How to get rid of artillery fungus

Preventing the fungus

Unfortunately, the most effective way is do not let the fungus attach to your house. Once the spores (the tiny black dots) have attached to your siding it is almost impossible to clean. Do not use a power washer; this is not the time or place for that. Although when you see artillery fungus on your house it is usually, a sign your home needs to be washed for other reasons like mold and algae buildup.

Manual Agitation

Use extreme caution when using an abrasive solution to remove it, start with a light mixture, and gradually increase strength for maximum efficacy. Your best chance of removing the spots is going to be with an abrasive cloth or something like a Mr. Clean Eraser. This will require lots of scrubbing and still has the potential to leave dark stains even though the spore is now gone from the surface. Brown residue is common post-removal, but do not worry – there is no harm done! Artillery Mold belongs in the same fungi family as mushrooms that are safe enough to eat. You have nothing else to fear from this annoying problem except its ugly stain on your beautiful siding.

Power Washing Artillery Fungus

Power Washing Artillery Fungus From Vinyl Siding
Never Use High Pressure Water On Vinyl Siding!

Beware of any power washing company that says they can easily remove artillery fungus without scrubbing. They are most likely thinking they will just blast the spots off with high-pressure water. Not only will this void the warranty on your siding, but also extremely dangerous. The high-pressure water could cause more damage to the siding and will force water to get behind it causing the potential for mold to start growing in your home. Then if that was not bad enough, if you have any oxidation on your siding it will remove that and leave your home looking streaky and blotchy.

How to prevent artillery fungus in the future

Using Rocks Instead Of Mulch For Landscaping Elkhart, In
Using Rocks Instead Of Mulch For Landscaping Elkhart, In

The best way to prevent artillery fungus is to keep it away from your home. Choose rock for your landscaping instead of mulch whenever you can. If you are only using mulch for your landscaping then choose light-colored mulch, and try to find one that has gone through the baking process to eliminate the fungus in the wood. Artillery fungus thrives in moist, warm environments, which is why it is important to ensure you are not overwatering your plants and shrubs and to make sure the mulch used is not too thick, as it can trap moisture underneath.

Spring Time House Washing

Mishawaka House Wash
Mishawaka, In Soft Wash House Washing

Periodically walk around your home to inspect your siding to make sure it is free from black dots. While you are walking around it is also a perfect time to look at your siding for the build-up of dirt, mold, mildew, & algae. We recommend scheduling a house wash every spring to remove and prevent the build-up of organic contaminants, dirt, & pollen. If left untreated these things can eventually lead to siding damage. Get your Free Estimate or call/ text 574-221-8400 for a House Wash today!