Shot Gun Fungus – what is it and how to prevent it

shot gun fungus on siding Charlotte

Share this article

As a leading pressure washing company in Charlotte, we get to wash off a lot of contaminants from exterior surfaces. Mildew, mold, algae, lichens, moss, rust, red clay, oil and grease stains, efflorescence…are all typical culprits and we can remove them all without too much problems and with some minor limitations. However, there is another type of surface contaminant that can be much more problematic – shot gun fungus

On close examination, you might have discovered some tar-like black specks on your siding and exterior surfaces like railing, windows and trims that look like insect droppings. As you further investigate and try to scratch the black specks off the surface, you soon realize that they are nearly impossible to remove. What are those back dots exactly? They are called shot gun fungus or artillery fungus (sphaerobulus stellatus). It’s a type of fungus that is quite common in the Southeast and the Charlotte area. Inconspicuous at first, once you notice those specks, you can’t really unsee them and unfortunately, there is not much we and you can do to remove them. 

Where do shot gun fungus come from?

It might surprise you to know that shot gun fungus lives in wood mulch. It thrives in rotten wood and moist environment. Cannonball fungus, another term to describe shot gun fungus, as it matures, gets filled with water until it bursts, ejecting spores into the air in the process. Those spores attach to all surfaces they land including siding, plants, windows, doors, etc…Suprisingly, those spores can shoot up to 20 feet, far enough to reach exterior walls 2-story high. The spores are attracted to light and prefer light-color surfaces on which to attach.  While you might not have had issues with this pesky invader before, the new mulch you recently applied to your flower and plant beds might be the culprit. On the positive side, shot gun fungus is not bad for your health nor your vegetation and does not lead to structural damage. However, if you have enough spores attached to your siding, it can ruin your siding’s appearance and if you want to get rid of it, you will have to act fast.

shot gun fungus Charlotte

How to remove shot gun fungus

Removing artillery fungus is not as simple as removing mildew and algae with a house wash. The active ingredients in house wash solutions, sodium hypochlorite and surfactant won’t kill off or remove the spores. Applying high pressure to exterior surfaces is also not recommended unless its concrete or brick. On vinyl, fiber cement and wood, only soft washing is recommended to avoid oxidation removal, creating swirls from using too much pressure or even damaging building materials.

The best way to remove shot gun fungus is prevention and knowing before hand what it is before you have to deal with the consequence. Removing the black specks within 14 to 21 days yields the best chance to achieve acceptable results. The longer the spores stay on the surface, the more difficult they become to remove.  It is important to know that spores are only expelled during somewhat cooler temperatures (50 to 70° F) happening in the Spring and the Fall in the Charlotte region. To remove the spores safely without damaging the surface, scrubbing them off with a good brush, soap and hot water can yield some good results.

Preventing the occurrence of shot gun fungus

The best way to avoid getting shot gun fungus is to select the right mulch or floor covering for your flower and plant beds. Keep in mind that the fungus is only an issue when it is near visible surfaces on which it can attach and be noticeable. In the middle of your yard, shot gun fungus won’t be such a nuisance. 

If you’d like to stay with organic mulch for your flower beds, bark mulch and cedar mulch are a good choice since they resist shot gun fungus. Keeping the mulch dry in your bed will also hinder the growth of the fungus. You could also use rocks and pine needles for your beds.

If you live in or near Charlotte and are looking for a knowledgeable and professional pressure washing company to hand your exterior cleaning needs, call Bluewhale Powerwash today at (704) 272-4726.

Share this article

We're committed to excellence and deliver cleaning results that are guaranteed to impress
Fast Response Time
Bluewhale Powerwash won't keep you waiting if you need a quote to wash your home! We respond to all inquiries the same day they are received and are fast to schedule work.
Competitive Pricing
Pricing for our pressure washing services is highly competitive. Our work is thorough, high quality and the results we achieve are second to none.
Friendly Customer Service
We aim to provide our customers with the best experience possible. Our technicians are friendly, professional and respectful of our customers' property and your time.
Skilled Technicians
Our company-trained technicians are some of the best in the industry. They are background checked, have strong work ethics and excellent skills. We do not use subcontractors on our jobs.
Warrantied Service
Our workmanship, quality of work and results are second to none. All our services carry a 100% satisfaction guarantee.
Licensed & Insured
Bluewhale Powerwash LLC is a registered pressure washing company that is fully insured.
Bluewhale Powerwash service areas

Bluewhale Powerwash is proud to offer its professional pressure washing and soft washing services to homeowners and businesses in Charlotte and nearby areas. We also serve smaller towns located close to larger ones. If your town is not listed below, please contact Bluewhale Powerwash to find out if we can service your area.

Bluewhale Powerwash, LLC

317 Matthews Mint Hill Road
Ste 201
Matthews, NC 28105

Business Hours
Monday 8:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Tuesday 8:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Wednesday 8:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Thursday 8:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Friday 8:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Saturday 8:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Sunday Closed

Copyright 2022. Bluewhale Powerwash LLC. All Rights Reserved.