A+ Pro Blog 

What are these black specks on my house siding and windows?

Artillery fungus – Common name:

artillery fungus

Scientific name:

species of Sphaerobolus

Artilliery fungus spore masses Shallotte
Artilliery fungus spore masses on vinyl siding

A+ Pro Services, Inc has competed with Artillery Fungus for several years. It seems to be an epidemic in some communities. Because this organic material sticks to house siding and windows, we are confronted with finding a means of removal, because that what we do. Scraping the fungus off the surface is the only effective means of removal, though we have discovered a non abrasive scrub pad (Honey Comb Pad) that dies the trick. Naturally, this is labor intensive but we are in the business to help.  We are excited to introduce some research that remedies your fungus problem and is sustainable to the earth! Please read below what can be done. If we work together, we can get rid of this “shooting problem”!

What do artillery fungi look like?

Artillery fungus Shallotte
Fruiting bodies of the artillery fungus

They resemble a tiny, cream or orange-brown cup with one black egg. The cup is approximately 1/4 inch in diameter. Areas of mulch with artillery fungi may appear matted and lighter in color than the surrounding mulch. Are they a problem? They may be a problem. The fruiting body of this fungus orients itself toward bright surfaces, such as light-colored houses or parked automobiles. The artillery fungus “shoots” its black, sticky spore mass, which can be windblown as high as the second story of a house. The spore mass sticks to the side of a building or automobile, resembling a small speck of tar. You may also find them on the undersides of leaves on plants growing in mulched areas. Once in place, the spore mass is very difficult to remove without damaging the surface to which it is attached. If removed, it leaves a stain. A few of these spots are barely noticeable, but as they accumulate, they may become very unsightly on houses or cars.

What can be done?

Penn State researchers have discovered that blending 40 percent used mushroom compost with landscape mulch greatly suppresses the artillery fungus. Mushroom compost, or mushroom soil, is the pasteurized material on which mushrooms are grown. After the final crops of mushrooms are picked, the used compost is pasteurized a second time and removed from the mushroom house. This valuable by-product (sometimes called “black gold”) is often made available to gardeners and homeowners. Used mushroom compost has physical and chemical characteristics that make it ideal for blending with landscape mulch to enhance growth of horticultural plants. In addition, mushroom compost contains beneficial microbes that compete with, or actually destroy, nuisance fungi such as the artillery fungus and bird’s nest fungi. Homeowners are increasingly interested in controlling nuisance fungi without the use of chemicals. Blending used mushroom compost with landscape mulch offers a “green” and environmentally friendly solution to reducing the harmful effects of the artillery fungus.

Prepared by Elizabeth A. Brantley, Penn State Mont Alto; Donald D. Davis, Department of Plant Pathology; and Larry J. Kuhns, Department of Horticulture, retired.

Call A+ Pro Window Services today for help with getting rid of this pest on your windows and siding.

A+ Pro Services Inc.
Shallotte, NC 28470
(910) 754-2263

Myrtle Beach, SC 29577

Cities Served in Brunswick County:
Boiling Spring Lakes, Northwest, Southport, Belville, Bolivia, Calabash, Carolina Shores, Caswell Beach, Holden Beach, Leland, Winnabow, Navassa, Oak Island, Ocean Isle Beach, Sandy Creek, St. James, Sunset Beach, Varnamtown, Lockwood Folly, Northwest, Shallotte, Smithville Township, Town Creek, Waccamaw, Antioch, Ash, Batarora, Bell Swamp, Bishop, Biven, Bonaparte Landing, Boone’s Neck, Bowensville, Brunswick Station, Camp Branch, Cedar Grove, Civietown, Clairmont, Clarendon, Coolvale, Doe Creek, Eastbrook, Easy Hill, Longwood, Maco, Piney Grove, Red Bug, Sunset Harbor, Supply, Thomasboro, Winnabow

Cities Served – South Carolina
North Myrtle Beach, Cherry Grove, Little Rive, Longs, Loris, Myrtle Beach Surfside Beach, Conway, Carolina Forest