It can be quite surprising to find slime mould on a lawn, especially if it is brightly coloured! You may initially want to reach for the chemicals but there isn’t really much to worry about, slime moulds are generally harmless and actually rather interesting! Here’s what you need to know about slime moulds…
What is it?
You would be forgiven for thinking that slime moulds were fungi but in fact, they are single-celled animals. Most of the time, they live as individual cells, invisibly feeding on bacteria, fungi and decaying matter (including thatch!). Occasionally though, they gather together in a big group to reproduce en mass or take advantage of a really good food source, this is when you see them. They can be different colours depending on the species, the most common being yellow or grey/black.
Why does it appear in lawns?
Slime moulds are most visibly active in the autumn when the weather is warm and wet. They are most likely to thrive in lawns with plenty of thatch and especially those suffering from red thread disease. They do not necessarily indicate poor soil or lawn health, in fact, for most of the year they are beneficial and help to digest thatch.
How do I treat slime mould?
Although they look sinister, slime moulds are harmless and do not pose a threat to the long-term health of the lawn. There are no available chemical treatments, the structures will usually disappear within days and should leave little to no trace of their existence. If the slime mould really must go then they can easily be dispersed by a quick blast of water from a garden hose.