Gardens

Spotting and Removing Black Mold in Soil

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One thing you hope you never see in your garden soil or flower beds is black mold. The mold creates black patches on the soil which are easily recognized, and can pose serious health threats. If it is not treated and removed, it will spread quickly. It is possible to treat the mold yourself, as long as it has not been allowed to get out of control. If you suspect that the mold is too wide spread for you to handle on your own, you will need to call professional with experience in treating black mold.

There are two ways you can deal with black mold, and the method you choose will most likely be based on the amount of mold you have. Before you take any steps to remove the mold, dry the area out. Do not water anywhere near the mold, as this will only make it spread more quickly and make it harder to treat.

Tools and Materials

  • Shovel
  • Thin clear plastic
  • Heat resistant adhesive
  • Spade or tiller

Step 1--Physically Remove the Mold

If you have spotted just a few patches here and there, you can easily dig up the mold using a shovel. Dig several inches below the surface spot to make sure you get all of it. Replace the soil with healthy, well draining soil. When you have removed all of the patches, do daily checks for more signs of mold. If you find any, remove it right away.

Step 2--Solarize the Area

The second method involves using solarization to kill the fungus. This is only a solution if the area to be treated receives a lot of full sun. As you did in step 1, remove any visible signs of the mold. Then, work the soil well using a spade or a tiller. Manually remove any mold you find. When the soil has been worked well, smooth the surface with a rake. Dig a trench around the area to be treated. Your trench will need to be 1 foot deep and 6 inches wide. Then water the area well. You want the ground to be very saturated. When the ground is well watered, cover the area with a thin, clear plastic. If  you have to use more than one sheet to cover the area, use a heat resistant adhesive to glue the sheets together. When you have the plastic in place, start at one corner and begin burying the plastic in the trench. You want the area to be as airtight as possible. You may need to work from side to side instead of moving around the area in order to make sure the plastic stays tight. Make sure to pack the soil in around the plastic tightly.

Step 3--Remove the Plastic

After the area has been covered for two months, you can remove the plastic and the area should be mold free. If the treatment period was not extremely sunny and warm, you may want to leave the plastic over the area for longer.

You may have to postpone your growing season when you are dealing with black mold, because you never want to plant anything where the mold lives.

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 Photo copyright Wikimedia Commons (http://commons.wikimedia.org)