More Common Aquatic Weeds - GCI

     The article "Common Aquatic Weeds" was originally published on May 10, 2016, on GCI.com. Available here. Sponsored by SePRO


Pesky aquatic weeds come in all shapes and sizes. Some, such as duckweed and watermeal, float up to the surface of ponds "like a bobber when you're fishing," says Steve Kammerer, director of USGA Green Section Southeast Region. Others, such as hydrilla, dig further into the ground, says Dr. Rob Richardson, assistant professor of crop science at North Carolina State University. Here, experts provide insight on common aquatic weeds how to best treat them.

Duckweed

Duckweed - Description, Range and Treatments.

Description: Duckweed forms a surface film, but depending on the region of the country, it can often be more difficult to control than a submersed plant, Richardson says.

Range: One of the most common aquatic weeds, duckweed outbreaks are documented across the country. Rock Barn Golf & Spa in Conover, N.C., gets it once or twice a year in one of the course's 14 lakes, says superintendent Curtis Macemore. "I think last year I had duckweed one time, just in one lake, that was brought in," he says. "I happened to see it on the duck that day."

Aggressiveness: On a scale from 1 to 10, with 10 being the most aggressive aquatic weeds, duckweed varies anywhere from a 3 to an 8, Richardson says. Duckweed sits along the shorelines, Kammerer says. It thrives in warm, shallow, still and fertile waters, he adds.

Management: While Macemore uses a contact herbicie in his non-irrigation ponds, Gary Roush, semi-retired superintendent of Riverside Golf Club in Mason, W. Va., uses Sonar in his. The SePRO product SonarOne, a contact herbicide, or a different Sonar product are recommended by Scott Shuler, invasive weeds management portfolio at SePRO. SonarOne, a systemic herbicide, should be applied on seasonally irrigated ponds with caution in the fall, Shuler says.

Hydrilla

Hydrilla - Description, Range, Aggressiveness and Treatment.

Description: Hydrilla forms tubers in the sediment which Richardson says makes it so persistent. "Hydrilla has more lance-shaped leaves and whorls of anywhere from four to six or seven, typically," he says. "It doesn't have a bract that comes up above the water surface, but it will release really tiny flowers that can float right at the water surface."

Range: Hydrilla is the most widespread in the Southeast. Hydrilla and other weeds thrive in the South largely because the ponds, lakes and waterways are shallower, warmer, higher in nutrients and sunlight can reach them in more growing months than in the North, Kammerer says.

Aggressiveness: "Hydrilla would be a 10 because there's nothing else as aggressive as hydrilla, really, in the situations where it can grow well," Richardson says. "There are some invasive plants that can grow on the water surface and atop it, but not much else that can compete in the water with hydrilla," he says.

Management: For irrigated ponds in the golf season, use up to 60 pounds per acre of Komeen Crystal, Shuler says. For irrigated ponds in the golf season and for non-irrigated ponds in the spring, Shuler recommends using up to 10 pounds per acre of SonarOne.

Watermeal

Watermeal Description, Range, Aggressiveness and Treatment.

Description: Often confused with duckweed, watermeal is actually smaller, Kammerer says. Watermeal doesn't contain a small root like duckweed does. "This looks like a really large, nasty pollen grain," he says.

Range: Watermeal is more prevalent in the South than in the North. The growing season for watermeal is longer in states like Georgia and Alabama in states like Ohio. Two or three applications per season might be necessary in the South, where just one will often suffice in the North, Kammerer says.

Aggressiveness: Watermeal can range between a seven and eight, and it's often harder to control than duckweed, Kammerer says. "The reason why that one is actually more problematic it's much smaller, more difficult to contact with herbicides; less herbicides are active on it," he says. "It can actually get through screens and clog up the irrigation heads."

Management: Copper compounds with less copper cation, or elemental copper, per surface acre than copper sulfate, such as Komeen, can be better alternatives, said Kammerer. Many factors determine how much chemical to apply, when to apply it and how often, he says. Such factors include water flow, temperature and turbidity, he says.

Watermilfoil

Watermilfoil Description, Range, Aggressiveness and Treatment.

Description: Variable watermilfoil are often brownish, while Eurasion watermilfoil are typically bright green in color, Richardson says. "The milfoils have feather-like leaves and whorls," he says. "They'll also have a short flowering bract that shoots above the water, but the flowers are really reduced, so it's hard to see the flowers. There will be a small segment of the plant that pops above the water surface."

Range: Watermilfoil is found primarily in the North and survives better in cool water than most aquatic weeds, Kammerer says. "That is the biggest northern aquatic weed issue, bar none," he says.

Aggressiveness: On a scale from one to 10, watermilfoil would be about seven, Richardson says. Like Hydrilla, watermilfoil is an invasive species, so it's often more difficult to control than native species, Shuler says.

Management: Between 40 to 60 pounds of Komeen Crystal applied throughout the season would take care of watermilfoil, Shuler says. Between 6 and 10 pounds of SonarOne applied at the end of irrigation season for an irrigated pond or in the early spring for a non-irrigated pond would do the same, he says.

Patrick Williams is a contributing editor for Golf Course Industry.

When to Start Algae Control - GCI

The article "When to Start Algae Control" was originally published on May 10, 2016, on GCI.com. Available here. Sponsored by SePRO.


   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.

 

Pre and Post-treatment images of a water body treated with SeClear.

Pre and Post-treatment images of a water body treated with SeClear.

     Reid Pickering took over about two months ago as superintendent of Amana Colonies Golf Club in Amana, Iowa, the spot formerly held by Ken Ellenson. Pickering says he has treated the algae in the club’s three ponds once this year with copper sulfate and pond dye.

     “We had a lot (of algae) right away, but it’s been pretty good ever since,” he says. It hasn’t taken a lot of time or resources to combat the algae, which is common in the Amana area, he says.                                                                                                                                                     
     Sarah Miller, algae and water quality portfolio leader at SePRO, says it’s best to take a preventative approach against algae. Because many scenic ponds don’t have buffer areas around them, fertilizer and other nutrient runoff can accumulate and fuel algae blooms.

     “One of the things that we recommend is to get started early with monitoring, looking at the water chemistry and looking at the nutrient concentration and being a little more proactive,” Miller says.

     SePRO manufactures and represents a copper product called SeClear Algaecide & Water Quality Enhancer, which contains copper sulfate and Miller says helps strip out unwanted nutrients to avoid large algae blooms that could manifest later in the season.

     “We’ll typically have folks go out and start treating anywhere from a month or six weeks earlier than has historically been treated, because usually by the time you see the problem and it’s visible to the eye, it’s been there for a while--it’s been building,” she says.

     For superintendents who have problems with major algal blooms despite previous treatment, or if they are starting treatment later in the year, SePRO sells a pure algaecide called Captain XTR, which contains chelated copper and Miller says works well on “nastier algae.” Once the algae noticeably subside, superintendents should then switch over to the tamer SeClear, she says.

     Superintendents should mix each of these products with water in a sprayer, Miller says. In order to get better coverage, they can spray floating and filamentous mats directly, she says. Each of the products has a mix rate chart that crew members can follow based on the size of the area they’re treating.

     Richardson says to apply chemicals carefully. “It is important to know the amount of water that you have out there so you put the right amount of product out and don’t just dump product in or toss bags of copper sulfate in,” he says. “With copper you can kill fish if you’re not careful, so you need to be sure you get the right rate.”

     The schedule for treatment should be based on specific course conditions, Miller says. “Typically with algae you’re on a maintenance-type schedule and how often you treat, whether it’s once a month, whether it’s biweekly, that really just depends on the season and multiple factors and which region of the country you’re in,” she says.

     Algae types differ around the country, Richardson says. Golden algae, for instance, grows in dry climates but is rare in other climates, he says.

     Different species of algae take different forms, he says. Filamentous algae form clumps and other structures, while planktonic algae are less visual and sheen-like and macro algae look like vascular plants with a stem and reduced leaves.

     “From a golf course standpoint the surface films and filamentous algae would probably be the most problematic because they’re so visual,” he says. “The filamentous may also interfere with irrigation from time to time, but generally it’s going to be an aesthetic issue.”

     That’s why for some of Riverside’s ponds and lakes that are nearer to the green, Roush treats them twice. “Some of them where it’s not really in the play or in sight where people watch or notice that much, I don’t pay it much attention,” he says.

Patrick Williams is a GCI contributing editor.