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Shotgun Fungus - What is it and will house washing or pressure washing remove it?

Top Care Cleaning’s experts are able to successfully clean the toughest stains and other dirt from the outside of your home. However, Shotgun Fungus is one of the toughest things to deal with. 

 

Our pressure washing techs can clean just about any stain from the outside of your house, roof, deck, or fence. One of the toughest stains to try to clean, however, is those little black dots that you often see on homes with vinyl siding. If you’ve found these black dots on the siding of your home, then you’ve probably tried scraping them off yourself, but with no success. If you’ve tried and found yourself having to walk away unsuccessful and annoyed, then you’re not alone. These dots are Shotgun Fungus, and the best advice we can give for dealing with it is to prevent the fungus from attaching and spreading in the first place.

What Is Shotgun Fungus?

Shotgun fungus (Sphaerobolus Stellatus), or Artillery Fungus as it is sometimes known, originates in the mulch that is often found in flower beds around the house. The name of the fungus comes from the Greek word for spear thrower, due to the way the black spores that you see as propelled from the ground onto the siding of your home. This launch is able to spray up to 20 feet high. The spores are incredibly adhesive and will stick to just about any surface. The spores themselves aren’t actually harmful, but they are unsightly and are incredibly difficult to remove once they’ve stuck. The black dots left behind are thought to resemble a shotgun blast or artillery spray.

What Causes Shotgun Fungus?

Shotgun fungus and the mess it creates come straight from mulch that has been infected. Many people think that more expensive mulch will be fungus-free and that cheaper mulch will be a lot more prone to having the fungus, but this is actually a common misconception and is untrue. 

 

Shotgun fungus can infect any organic mulch, and under the right conditions, it will be able to flourish and cause you an irritating problem. It thrives best in cool, moist, and shady areas, exactly where you often find mulch. If you do find the telltale black dots of the fungus on your home’s siding, then you will usually notice that they are above areas that are mulched, where the fungus has shot their spores. Until you take action, the dots will just accumulate, getting worse every year.

What Is The Solution For Artillery Fungus?

Unfortunately, even with all our expertise and knowledge in cleaning siding, Top Care Cleaning is not currently able to recommend an effective cleaning for the removal of the fungus spores and their black dots. However, we can offer advice to help you to stop these dots from getting worse. Unfortunately, even very powerful pressing washing is not able to remove the spores, although some homeowners have had some luck in getting rid of them by scrubbing their siding hard with an abrasive cleaning sponge. 

 

The first step to prevent the problem from getting worse is to remove any infected mulch by raking it up and disposing of it. The next step is to replace the organic mulch with an inorganic material, like rubber mulch or stone. This is the only thing you can do to make sure that the infected mulch has been completely removed. Some people have also had good results by smothering the fungus with plastic or adding more mulch on top of the old mulch. However, this is not a method we would recommend, as the chance of success is small.

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