Slime Molds

Slime Molds are found on all cool and warm season turfgrasses. Slime molds may literally appear overnight and expand in size. The fungi that cause slime mold are primitive and some are not even considered fungi but in the class called Protista. Slime mold fungi produce a saclike structure called the sporangia that contains a large number of spores.

Photograph 1 and 2. Masses of sporangia the size of a pin head are produced on the leaf blade

Symptoms appear as an irregular shaped patch that may vary in size from a few centimeters to a meter or more in diameter. The patches vary in appearance from a white to purplish-red color. Environmental condition favorable for slime mold development is prolonged periods of wetness, which promote the spread of the spores. The slime molds are considered saprophytes, which are organisms that obtain their food solely from decaying organic matter. Turf high in organic matter or thatch tend to be more prone to slime mold development.

Control

Slime molds are not considered parasitic to plants. They may cause turf plants to become yellow or slightly off colored due to the shading effect of the fungus. One of the best ways to remove the slime mold from the turf is to use a stream of water from a hose for example to wash the leaves. The stream of water should only be used once the plants are dry. If the turf is wet, the application of water may enhance the spread of the slime mold. Given that slime molds are not pathogenic, chemical control is not normally recommended.

Figure 3 and 4. Slime molds may appear in various colors including white or purplish-red
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The Ohio State University Plant Science Online Certificates

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