Slime molds belong to a "primitive" class of fungi referred to as Myxomycetes. That is a tiny group of organisms with only 700 varieties known worldwide. They are organisms that achieve their nutrients from dead or disc matter and also are many prevalent following extended periods of wetness. Slime molds deserve to be uncovered in lawns, flower beds, gardens, and anywhere organic matter is present. Spores germinate right into structures that eventually merge together and form a huge plasmodium, otherwise recognize as "the blob" (Fig 1). A plasmodium is a shapeless cultivation mass that might reach two feet in diameter. In Georgia, slime molds different from blue-gray in color to yellow, orange or black.

You are watching: Is moss a fungus or mold

Slime molds "creep" along slowly but may travel up to number of feet a day. Slime molds execute not cause any direct injury to plants but may inhibit photosynthesis if the plasmodium is thick and also persistent. As weather problems dry, the plasmodium develops spore-producing structures and spores room blown by the wind to brand-new locations to start the bike over. This spore masses can appear as gray to black color dusts top top grasses or other plant materials.

Slime molds are basically harmless and are only thought about a nuisance. Regulate does no require any chemicals and also simply mowing over the lawn gets rid of them indigenous view. Top top mulch, raking or mental the slime mold through forceful water sprays is all that is needed.

Figure 3. Moss only supplies a tree because that protection and also support.
Figure 4. Long, slender stems supplied to record water and nutrients flourish from the bark.

Spanish Moss

Spanish moss (Tillandsia usneoides) is an epiphytic tree found growing mainly ~ above hardwoods transparent the Southeast. It is no a tree parasite and also only supplies the tree for support and also protection (Fig 3). Instead, it renders its own food. Spanish moss has actually long slim stems that wrap approximately the tree allowing it to cave in the waiting (Fig 4).

Tiny scale-like cups on the stems record water and also nutrients native the air thereby permitting the moss to undergo photosynthesis. The Spanish moss" water-catching capability allows it to it is in drought-resistant and survive excessive dry spells. Spanish moss does need sunlight and also can be found on tree in decline or trees with small openings in the canopy. Even though Spanish moss does not directly influence trees, abundant expansion may inhibit tree foliation and also reduce photosynthesis.

Spanish moss is fairly harmless to trees; however, if extreme growth is occurring, one might manually remove the moss and also increase tree vigor with ideal fertility and irrigation to increase foliation thereby avoiding much required sunlight for moss photosynthesis.


Figure 5. Lichens acquire water and also nutrients from air and the microbes ~ above bark.
Figure 6. Lichen top top a decreasing tree.

Lichens room composite, symbiotic organisms consisted of from members of as many as three organic kingdoms . The lichen fungi cultivate partners that manufacture food through photosynthesis. Periodically the partners are algae, various other times cyanobacterium, formerly referred to as blue-green algae. Part enterprising fungi make use of both in ~ once.

The alga or cyanobacterium counter sunlight and carbon dioxide to food because that the lichen fungus and in return the lichen fungus protects the alga/cyanobacterium from drying out. The fungus obtains water and minerals from the air and the product it is farming on (Fig 5). The alga gives carbohydrates and vitamins. Part blue-green algae settle nitrogen that is offered by both the alga and also the fungus. Nitrogen is also obtained indigenous bird excrement, organic debris, or plant leachate . It has been stated that lichens are fungi the have found agriculture.

Lichens are found on rocks, tortoise shells, window panes, and plants. Together plants are stressed and begin come decline, the lessened canopy enables sunlight to enter and support photosynthesis for the lichen. The visibility of lichens are often an indicator of poor plant health however it is never ever the cause (Fig 6). Lichens are harmless to tree and, if as whole plant health and wellness is improved, the colorful canopy must inhibit any sunlight easily accessible for lichen photosynthesis.

Figure 7. Mistletoe germianting with bark.
Figure 8. heavy mistletoe infestation top top a tree.


Mistletoe is one evergreen helminth plant uncovered on a vast host range including alder, birch, cottonwood, maple, oak, and also zelkova among others. Mistletoe obtains water and also minerals native the host yet it is not completely dependent. Leaves of the mistletoe contain chlorophyll and also are qualified of making their own food native carbon dioxide and also water like other plants. Birds feed on the berry produced and excrete castle to brand-new hosts. As soon as the seeds germinate, that grows with the bark and also into the vascular mechanism of the hold where the obtains water and also minerals (Fig 7).

On younger plants, the older leaves will certainly curve downward and also droop. The bases of the affected stems enlarge, and the vascular mechanism becomes brown. On larger plants, symptom are obvious from blossoming to fruit maturation. The an initial symptom is chlorosis of the enlarge leaves, commonly on only one next of the plant. A browning the the vascular tissue extends up the stem while the pith remains healthy and balanced (Figure 3). Gradually, the yellowing affects all of the plant, causing it to wilt during hot temperatures. Ultimately the plants will die.

The mistletoe grows gradually at an initial and it may be years prior to seeds space produced. Healthy trees room able to tolerate tiny mistletoe infestations, but individual branches may be compromised and susceptible to wind or cold injuries. Heavy infestations may reduce the in its entirety plant wellness or kill a tree especially if the tree is already stressed native environmental determinants (Fig 8).

Since mistletoe takes numerous years to create seed merely removing it will carry out some protection. Mistletoe may likewise be pruned out one foot below the suggest of attachment. If the mistletoe is situated on a key limb or trunk, remove the peak of the mistletoe and also wrapping the cut with an opaque plastic to avoid sunlight may be beneficial. In addition to these mechanical controls, the expansion regulator ethephon may be used when the organize is dormant.


Cornell University

Bertrand, B., and also Hadden, J.F. 1992. Slime Molds, Spanish Moss, Lichens, & Mistletoe.

The university of Georgia participating Service. Bulletin 999.

Forestry Images

Perry, E.J., and also Elmore, C.L. 2002. Mistletoe . University of California insect Notes. Publishing 7437.

See more: How Long Is A 2 Liter Bottle At Thomas Scientific, How Many Ounces Are In A 2

Rimelspach, J., and also Boehm, M. 1995. Slime Molds ~ above Turfgrass . Ohio State university Bulletin HYG-3074-96.

University the Florida

Status and also Revision History published on Aug 15, 2005Published top top Feb 10, 2009Published on might 05, 2009Published with full Review on Jun 22, 2012

Mila J. Pearce IPM HOMEOWNER, tree Pathology Jean Williams-Woodward Plant pathologist - Ornamentals, Forestry, Christmas Trees, Legume Forages, tree Pathology