PACE Turf - Turfgrass Information Center

Cyanobacteria (A.K.A. blue-green algae): WANTED for causing serious damage to turf

There are three widely shared misconceptions about the small, photosynthetic microbes that produce dark crusts and slime layers on putting green soils and foliage. The first is that all of these organisms are algae, when in fact many of them are cyanobacteria - microscopic organisms that are very different from true algae. The second misconception is that these organisms don't cause direct damage to turf, but are instead only secondary problems that result after turf has been stressed by disease, too much shade, poor drainage, or other factors. But in our diagnostic work we consistently find the opposite to be true. That is, cyanobacteria are frequently the direct cause of turf damage - resulting in mottled, yellowed and thinning turf on many cool season and warm season greens throughout the U.S. Thirdly, it is generally believed that algae or cyanobacteria are only problems in shady, wet areas. But we see many problems from sunny and relatively dry locations as well. From the standpoint of control, preliminary results indicate that although eradication is an unrealistic goal, several weekly treatments with chlorothalonil (Concorde, Daconil, Echo, Manicure, Thalonil) usually improves turfgrass quality by reducing cyanobacteria populations.

Full print version: PACE Insights 2000 Vol. 6 No. 8

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