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

Grubworms in Austin Flower Bed
March 09, 2011 - How do I get rid of grubworms in my flower beds?
view the full question and answer

Mexican oak and red oak not looking healthy
August 02, 2014 - I purchased a Mexican oak tree and I believe a red oak tree from your center about 1 year ago. Recently I've noticed that they don't look as healthy as they have been, and I just looked at the leave...
view the full question and answer

Trimming of Escarpment Oak from Austin
May 18, 2014 - We have a 2-year-old quercus fusiformis in our front yard and have been advised by some people that we need to remove the bottom branches and trim the ends of the branches that are hanging far down. ...
view the full question and answer

What is wrong with my Weeping Willow?
June 15, 2009 - I have a weeping willow tree for about 7 years. It's about 50 feet high and the bark is separating and it starting to drip and collect on trunk bottom a suds type substance. Looks like soap suds. T...
view the full question and answer

Ash tree dying back to lower sprouts in Kempner TX
June 19, 2010 - My 2 year old ash tree leaves dropped, appears dead, branches dying. New growth near base of tree. Do I cut upper trunk or remove entire tree? My other ash is doing well.
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