Lawn alerts tell you what the BGP Team are seeing right now on area lawns.
It’s a lump!
Wait, now it’s a fungus?
Bright yellow and maybe bad.
It’s a slime mold!
Despite its dangerous (and disgusting) neon appearance, this group of shape-shifting organisms doesn’t cause any turf diseases!
Often seen as a lumpy mass that moves extremely slow, slime molds eat bacteria, microorganisms, and other organic matter in dark moist places. In only a few hours, it can even transform into a fungus-like shape to release weather resistant spores that can germinate after heavy rainfall.
Slime molds can block other plants from getting the sunlight they need, but the good news is that the molds are easy to remove. Simply break up the lump and rake the affected surfaces to dry it out. You can even save a bit of it for an at-home experiment!
Fun Fact: Many experiments have compared slime mold growth to algorithms used for ideal road mapping and both find very similar solutions.
Mikaela Trexell is an aspiring entomologist who plans to study at UW-Madison this fall. When not sifting through the Dollar Store for hidden treasures, experimenting with slime mold, or enjoying the Waukesha Farmer’s Market, she works as an intern at Be Green Pro.
Joy, A., & Hudelson, B. (2004, April 25). Slime Molds. Retrieved July 28, 2020, from https://hort.extension.wisc.edu/articles/slime-molds/
Lisickis, R. (2020, January). Scientists Used Slime Mold To Create The Most Efficient Traffic Map For The United States. Retrieved July 28, 2020, from https://www.boredpanda.com/slime-mold-road-planning-study/?utm_source=google