Different types of fungus may show up in your garden from time to time. Fungi usually show up when you overwater the plants that do not get proper sunlight and are always wet. Most of the fungi can be eliminated from the garden in their early stages itself. However, a particular variety of fungi known as stinkhorn fungus pops up suddenly and emits a very foul odor—hence the name “stinkhorn.”
When fully developed, stinkhorn fungus covers itself with a slimy substance and emits unbearable stench. These fungi adopt this ingenious tactic to attract insects to spread their spores. Resembling a finger, stinkhorn fungi spreads very quickly, and if not contained early, it may the fill the entire neighborhood with smell similar to rotten flesh.
Step 1 – Locate the Stinkhorn
Finding stinkhorns is very easy; in fact your sense of smell will guide you to where the infection site. Whether there are just one or two stinkhorns or a whole colony, you will typically be able to find them without any problems. Stinkhorns usually grow on decaying plant materials such as leaves or rotting branches or barks.
Step 2 – Remove the Stinkhorn
Wear your protective gloves and gently remove the egg-like portion of stinkhorn and place it in a plastic bag. The rest of the portion is non-smelly and non-reproductive and can be discarded along with other yard waste.
Then, pick the soil or growth material lying in the immediate vicinity to inhibit further growth of stinkhorns. Alternatively, you can also mix bleach in boiling water and pour the hot mixture over the stinkhorn and affected area. This needs to be done repeatedly until the entire area is cleared.
Precautions and Tips
- Take ample care that you do not touch the slime of stinkhorn while removing the fungus because the odor is difficult to remove from skin
- It is very important that you dispose the egg-like portion of stinkhorns properly because they will continue growing, creating more problems for you or your neighbors.
- Once you have removed the stinkhorns, make sure the affected area is getting plenty of sunlight so that it dries up quickly and does not allow any more fungi to flourish.
- Make sure the plastic bags in which the stinkhorn is being disposed are not torn as this may allow the insects to find its way inside the bag, which may again lead to the growth of this fungus in the surrounding area
If none of the abovementioned methods work, then you will have to resort to fungicides. Use of environment-friendly chemicals is recommended. If you are unable to lay your hands on them, try using a copper-based fungicide