What are those tiny black dots all over my house and fence?

Artillery Fungus Spores (a.k.a. Shotgun Fungus)

Artillery Fungus on home siding
Scientist say scraping them off into your mulch beds is basically planting the seeds

High pressure spray tips in addition to chemicals WILL NOT “Successfully” REMOVE most cases of artillery fungus spores. High pressure water will often times damage the paint and/or exterior substrate before removing the spores. Yet one can easily scrape them off with your fingernail?

Artillery fungus typically grows in organic mulch beds. These black spores end up all over your home, fence, cars, gutters, and even your windows.

How do I remove them?

As I strive to be the best exterior mobile contract cleaner. I hate leaving any blemish behind. I have spent countless hours researching the best methods for safely removing this fungus. If there was a chemical that could safely remove this unsightly fungus I would have it on my truck at all times. Unfortunately I keep coming up with “ZERO”.

Artillery fungus spores are covered in a sticky substance and if neglected, will stay on your siding indefinitely. These black spots will require one physically scraping them off with your fingernail.  Use of a tool to remove these spores can be effective, however you will most likely end up damaging your finish. I’ve read that Magic Erasers are good at removing the remaining stains left behind after scraping off the spores. Unfortunately I do not recommend using magic erasers on you homes exterior.

No natural mulch can resist artillery fungus. Penn State Plant Pathology department has tested 27 different kinds of mulch and found that with enough time all of the mulches were supporting the spore-shooting mushroom. Taken from what I could find the most resistant mulch to this fungus is LARGE Pine bark nuggets and Cypress (do your research as there are some environmental, non-sustainable reasons for not using cypress.)

The only way to ensure that artillery fungus never comes back is to remove all your mulch completely and replace it with stone, artificial mulch, or plants. The key to preventing the artillery spores from sprouting is to dig out all of your old mulch regularly and replace it with new mulch. Who out there ever really does that?

In conclusion no organic mulch is completely safe from the artillery fungus. If shotgun fungus has spread around your home then it might be time to switch over to large Pine Bark or rock mulch. Some HOA’s will not allow stone so be sure to check first. Replacing your mulch every year would be the second best thing to do.

Artillery Fungus Mushrooms
Artillery fungus (a.k.a shotgun fungus)