En EspaŅol

Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

Help us grow by giving to the Plant Database Fund or by becoming a member

Did you know you can access the Native Plant Information Network with your web-enabled smartphone?

Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Search Smarty Plants
    
 
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions
Can't find the answer in our existing FAQs, submit a question to Mr. Smarty Plants.
Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.
 
rate this answer
2 ratings

Friday - June 22, 2007

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Diseases and Disorders
Title: Saprophytic fungus on mulch
Answered by: Joe Marcus

QUESTION:

I just did some major landscaping in my west Austin, TX backyard. I added many native plants and mulched all of the new beds. I did this just before the heavy rains in the past two weeks. I now notice a powdery white substance in the mulch (not on the plants). Is this powdery mildew? Whatever it is, do you have any suggestions regarding what to do about it? Thank you.

ANSWER:

Chances are the white powdery substance you describe is a saprophytic fungus growing on the mulch. Saprophytic fungi are those that live strictly on decaying organic matter. Most such fungi are incapable of doing harm to plants. It is very common to see blooms of fungal growth on shredded bark and other mulches after rainy spells.
 

More Diseases and Disorders Questions

Pale leaves and brown tips on Tecoma stans in Austin
November 12, 2008 - I have a Tecoma Stans planted in a large galvanized container in a sunny spot. It has grown very fast in the last few months and flowers regularly, but the leaves are pale and the tips are turning bro...
view the full question and answer

Red-backed bugs on mountain laurel (Sophoro secundiflora)
May 12, 2010 - I found red-backed bugs (in fact two end-to-end like the east Texas love bugs) on my mountain laurel which has been losing leaves. Are these bugs the culprit?
view the full question and answer

New growth on Amur Maple turning black in McPherson, Kansas.
June 29, 2010 - Re: Amur Maple bushes Approximately 2 yrs old, 4 ft tall. New growth at the end of some branches is turning black. Plants are mulched with grass clippings. We live in Kansas. Thanks for any info....
view the full question and answer

Something killing evergreens on Long Island from Baldwin NY
June 06, 2011 - What seems to be killing so many of the evergreens on Long Island - see more and more dying each day - doesn't seem to be a rhyme or reason - can it be helped? Many thanks.
view the full question and answer

White fungus-like growths on plants from Stephenville TX
May 25, 2013 - What is a white fungus-like growth on plants in a garden? It can be seen on the ground in ball-like shapes similar to puff balls or on plants
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants's Facebook profile Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.

Mr. Smarty Plants wants you to be his Facebook friend. Click the Facebook icon to add yourself to Mr. Smarty Plants list of friends.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP
© 2014 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center