After rain…comes moss
Moss and algae are associated with conditions where excess soil and surface moisture occur. As moss doesn’t have roots, nutrient and water uptake is by absorption through its leaves.
Moss prevention - taking a natural approach
Any practices which alleviate excess moisture in the soil lead to less favourable conditions for the moss and algae to take hold. Practices can include:
- Improved drainage
- Appropriate irrigation practices
Effective Chemical Treatment
A range of chemicals and other products can be used for moss and algae control. Products containing copper or iron, some lime products, fungicides and herbicides are all suitable.
While they are used extensively overseas for moss and algae management in turf, it is important to check the details on Australian labels and follow appropriate directions for use.
Moss and Algae become more prevalent when conditions are favourable for these organisms. While neither of these organisms directly attack plants, they can certainly affect the quality of sports turf playing surfaces. Jyri Kaapro Bayer’s Turf Consulting Manager
Recently, golf courses in Sydney reported a gelatinous organism which looks like algae. These have been identified as cyanobacteria called Nostoc commune which is sometimes called “common snot”.
The Nostoc bacteria are different as they are capable of fixing nitrogen from the air. Geologically speaking, they play a major role in soil development and the conversion of atmospheric nitrogen for other organisms.
Nostoc commune is most commonly seen on newly cleared soil after rain. It’s unknown what conditions encourage its development in turf. Certainly excess rain or irrigation is a factor. When it dries out, it breaks up and the fragments disappear into the soil.
The bacteria are so large on greens they grow beyond mowing height and affect the smoothness of the turf’s surface, as well as making green preparation difficult. Reproduction involves tiny propagules which are probably moved by water, wind and on mowers.
Management of this problem has been difficult. Sometimes, the larger masses can be raked and manually removed. To date, various chemicals have provided inconsistent control results. Some fungicides appear to be helping alleviate the problem.