Having maintained golf courses on and off for 40 years, Gary Roush, semi-retired superintendent of Riverside Golf Club in Mason, W.Va., says he tries to hit his pond algae by late April.
“When it gets too hot in the summer it takes just too much to try to take care of it, and it’s too expensive,” he says. “It grows a lot better in the summer than it does right now.”
Roush’s son, Mitchell Roush, now serves as Riverside’s superintendent, but the industry veteran says he still spends every day maintaining issues on and off the turf. For pond algae specifically, the elder Roush says he applies copper sulfate once or twice a year.
Algae present numerous problems for preserving the vitality of course ponds. There’s the obvious issue with appearance, but if blooms go unchecked, they could produce potentially harmful neurotoxins. Superintendents and industry professionals are trying to keep these problems in check, all while doing what they can to save courses money and labor in the process.
Dr. Rob Richardson, assistant professor of crop sciences at North Carolina State University, says that when treating algae, it’s usually best to take a preventative approach rather than a reactive one. You’re using more chemical and labor on the front end, but you’re saving money and time in the long run, he says.
“There may be some algaecides that work a little bit better in warmer water, but you’re generally better off treating when there’s less algae to control than when there’s more,” he says.