So you’ve set up a functioning compost system in your backyard. First things first, congratulations! But how do you know if your compost is healthy and thriving? Mold and fungi are actually a sign of a functioning compost pile, but not all kinds of mold are good. Check out the list below to see if your compost mold is normal or something you should be concerned about.
As far as compost mold goes, yellow mold is nothing to be concerned about. This mold, also called Fuligo septica, is generally spongy and bright yellow in color when it’s blooming. When not in bloom, it is usually translucent and slimy. This mold is a sign that your compost pile is working as it should and can also come in white, gray, purple-brown colors.
If your compost pile has green mold, it’s not the end of the world, but it does mean your pile is too moist. Address this issue by watering it less, adding more dry material to the mix, and covering your pile before big rains.
That white powdery material on your compost pile is most likely not mold, but actually a bacteria called Actinomycetes. These form as heat builds up in your pile, and can extend down through your pile in spider-web-like forms. These are a sign of a healthy compost pile, so enjoy them!
How to handle molds
Most molds are harmless for compost piles, but they can be dangerous for humans and pets. For this reason, it’s a good idea to keep pets away from your compost pile and avoid turning your compost on windy days. Additionally, you may want to wear a mask when handling your compost, especially if you have allergies or increased sensitivity to airborne particles.