Fungus on Mulch: Stinkhorn

Mulch can be the breeding ground for unsightly but harmless growths.
mulch-fungus

mulch-fungus

Stinkhorn (Mutinus caninus )

Similar Topics:

From time to time mulch can be the breeding ground for a variety of fungal growths. Gardeners are familiar with the slime molds that are yellow, orange or light brown and resemble foam. Shown on the left is another fungus that sometimes appears on mulch — the stinkhorn, or dog stinkhorn mushroom (Mutinus caninus), so called because the slime on the end of its fruiting body gives off an unpleasant odor.

The stinkhorn begins as a roundish structure; when the erect stalk appears, its tip is covered with a dark, slimy mass that contains spores. Flies and other insects are attracted to the putrid smell, light on it and end up disseminating the spores to other areas. The stinkhorn is not harmful to plants or to people, and the smell alone doesn't invite an up-close inspection.

There's not much you can do to rid yourself of the stinkhorn in the mulch bed. You might try raking the mulch to break off the stalk and shorten its life cycle. Stinkhorns tend to appear more frequently in hardwood mulches than in pine bark mulch.

Fungus grows on mulch occasionally as part of the natural decay process. The slime molds tend to appear more often in wet weather and will disappear when conditions no longer favor them or when the mulch breaks down sufficiently.

Next Up

White-Lined Sphinx Moth

The White-lined Sphinx Moth starts out as a caterpillar and uses soil to turn into an adult moth.

Mystery Critter: Scale

This quiet, immobile insect can wreak havoc on certain plants.

Collared Lizard

The outdoor experts at HGTV.com provide information about the collared lizard.

Spiny Elm Caterpillar

The spiny elm caterpillar is the larval stage of the mourning cloak butterfly.

Assassin Bug

Despite its unfriendly name, this critter is a friend to gardeners most of the time.

Crane Flies

These long-legged creatures are often mistaken for giant mosquitoes.

Eastern Tiger Swallowtail Butterfly

Learn more about the easter tiger swallowtail butterfly.

Don’t Waste Those Fall Leaves: Mulch Them!

Tips for turning those fall leaves into garden treasure.

Thwarting Raccoons in the Garden

Get tips for limiting the damage these marauders can do in your garden.

Slug Control

Slimy garden pests can be devastating; here are tips for reducing their numbers.

1,000+ Photos

Browse beautiful photos of our favorite outdoor spaces: decks, patios, porches and more.

On TV

Flea Market Flip

7:30am | 6:30c

Flea Market Flip

8:30am | 7:30c

Flea Market Flip

9:30am | 8:30c

Flea Market Flip

10:30am | 9:30c

Rehab Addict

11am | 10c

Rehab Addict

11:30am | 10:30c

Fixer Upper

12pm | 11c

Fixer Upper

1pm | 12c

Fixer Upper

2pm | 1c

Fixer Upper

3pm | 2c

Fixer Upper

4pm | 3c

Fixer Upper

5pm | 4c

Fixer Upper

6pm | 5c

Fixer Upper

7pm | 6c
Tonight
Tonight

Beachfront Bargain Hunt

8pm | 7c

Mexico Life

9pm | 8c

Mexico Life

9:30pm | 8:30c

Island Hunters

10:30pm | 9:30c

House Hunters

11pm | 10c

Mexico Life

12am | 11c

Mexico Life

12:30am | 11:30c

Island Hunters

1:30am | 12:30c

Follow Us Everywhere

Join the party! Don't miss HGTV in your favorite social media feeds.