Mysterious white growth has a garden owner baffled

Gardening is a great way to get some fresh air and watch your hard work bloom before your eyes.

But what would you do when a strange, furry, white growth pops up in your garden overnight?

A Canberra gardener was perplexed to see a slime mould reappearing in their garden and decided to turn to the internet for help.

The gardener noticed the peculiar-looking growth in their backyard and took to her social media to ask what it could be.

'I got rid of it, and more seems to have come back, any ideas, it seems to just appear overnight,’ the confused gardener said.

Other locals commented on the post and believed that the moulds were fungus.

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A Canberra local was baffled about a white, furry mould growing in her garden. Credit: Facebook

However, according to medical chemist and expert Doctor Kylie Agnew-Francis, the mysterious matter is likely Fuglio septica, commonly known as ‘dog vomit’ slime mould. Despite the name, this slimy substance is neither plant nor animal but an amoeba—a single-celled organism.

'They start off bright yellow but turn white, and then brown over time. It’s generally harmless to animals, so while it may be a little ugly, it won’t hurt anything in your garden,’ she said.

Dog vomit slime moulds disappear fast as they appear in the garden and are harmless to animals.

‘So while a little ugly (to some at least), they won’t hurt anything,’ Dr Agnew-Francis said.

Some locals in the comments said that this slime mould in the garden is a sign of ‘great soil health’. She confirmed this statement.

'They are saprophytic, (meaning they feed mainly on dead or decomposing material rather than live plants), [so] I would say they are actually beneficial and a good indication of soil health.'

‘You want a thriving microbial community full of decomposers like these to keep the soil healthy and full of nutrients.’

This ‘good, living soil’ helps attract beneficial insects, controlling pest species and enticing other animals, such as frogs. Gardeners don’t need fertilisers to keep their plants healthy when this slime mould is in their garden.

However, overusing fertilisers, chemical pesticides, or herbicides can harm the soil in the long term, killing the microbial community and soil insects.

‘Use of lawn grub killer is one of the big reasons why you don’t see Christmas beetles anymore, for example,’ Dr Agnew-Francis explained.

‘So seeing mushrooms or slime moulds pop up is a good sign in my books!’

We should take note that microbes are just part of nature whether they’re harmful or not.

In a previous story, each colour of mould that we see commonly has specific meanings. You can check out the story here to learn more.

Key Takeaways
  • A Canberra gardener has found a recurring white, furry growth, known as slime mould, in their garden and sought advice on social media.
  • Medicinal chemist and expert Doctor Kylie Agnew-Francis identified the growth as 'dog vomit' slime mould, an amoeba that is neither plant nor animal.
  • The slime mould is harmless and disappears almost as fast as it appears, plus it's a good indication of soil health.
  • Dr Agnew-Francis also emphasised that overuse of fertiliser or chemical pesticides tends to be harmful to the soil and kills off a lot of the microbial community.

Members, have you seen dog vomit slime moulds in your garden? Are there other fungi or slime moulds in your garden? Let us know in the comments below!

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