Slime mold

A reader recently wrote to ask about the identity of a "foamy yellow substance" that appeared on top of some mulched areas in a shrub border. Slime molds (Fuligo septica) have mystified many a gardener, popping up suddenly and often forming large patches. The fungus-like organism, sometimes called "dog vomit slime mold," dries to form a yellow or orange crusty material. Slime molds are benign and usually short-lived. They can be raked up or dispersed with a spray of water.

Hort Shorts

Add a few drops of dishwashing liquid to your watering can when watering overly dry plants in outdoor containers. The soap will act as a wetting agent to better moisten the soil.

Trim back petunias, begonias and impatiens when they become leggy. This will reshape them and encourage

new blooms.

Wear long pants, long-sleeved shirt, gloves and boots when working in or around poison ivy. Afterward, wipe boots (and other unwashables) thoroughly with rubbing alcohol and launder all clothing.

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