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Moss, root rots, and Snoop Dogg



Hello from a chilly Manhattan,

I was unable to attend the turf agronomy meetings this week due to some other travel. The conference was in Long Beach, CA. Until I have some proof showing me otherwise, I am going to assume that Frank, Jim, Jon, and Lane spent their time in CA doing a re-make of California Gurls (yes, apparently it's gurls, not girls). I'm not sure which one was Katy Perry, though I vote Lane for Snoop Dogg.


I was bummed to miss the research presentations and I am hoping that the other guys can fill us in. A student, Cole Thompson, that I am co-advising with Dr. Jack Fry, presented some of his work on control of silvery thread moss. In some prior research at KSU, in conjunction with Derek Settle in Chicago, we observed some promising moss control with spot-sprays of baking soda (sodium bicarbonate). However spot sprays can be labor-intensive. And, there was a little bit of tip-burn.
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So, in a follow-up study on 2009-2010 we looked at some different rates of baking soda in addition to a potassium bicarbonate product. The idea was to try to tweak the rates and application methods to get moss control without the phyto, and maybe with less labor. As a standard we included Quicksilver, and then we also included MossBuster which is an oil-based product.

In 2009 we had some control with Quicksilver, MossBuster, and the high rate spot sprays of both bicarbonate products. In 2010 nothing reduced moss compared to the untreated.

The turf quality aspects were interesting. MossBuster and the bicarbonate treatments caused some reductions in turf quality due to phytotoxicity, and the MossBuster plots sometimes took 2 weeks or more to return to acceptable quality. Quicksilver did not cause any phyto either year.


Speaking of moss...

I talked about moss during a seminar last week and a colleague (from Minnesota) said with a smile, "You did not mention the most important moss, and that is Randy Moss."


That got me thinking, and I did a quick search. Though these headlines/quotes are about Randy, I prefer to think of them in the context of silvery-thread moss:



Moss does not have a great deal of respect for male authority


Moss' talents should be a better fit with what Titans need


With Moss gone, Vikings receivers in the spotlight


Joe Biddle wonders if Moss is the boost needed for a Super Bowl run or a recipe for disaster.


The Titans think Moss can put them over the top, says Thomas George.


Alex Marvez rates Moss as the NFL’s biggest baby.


Vikings receivers had a lot of praise for Moss.


A Team Gathers No Moss



The ultimate root rot experience

I received some basil plants the other day. I know, basil is not turf or ornamental, but the process I’m going to describe is relevant to other kinds of plants. Click the images for a closer look.

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The top parts of the plants looked fine, nice and green:

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But, if you look close, you can see some discoloration around the crown. When I washed the soil off it was clear that something was very wrong with the roots.

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There weren’t any! Well, there weren’t many, and the ones that were there were dark and mushy, with the outer tissue sloughing off:

When I see this, I usually think of Pythium.

I made a slide:

And in the microscope I found two types of Pythium spores. The one below shows a structure called a sporangium that is starting to form a vesicle (the bubble on the end):

In addition, we have a test kit for Pythium. I cut up some tissue at the transition of the healthy and symptomatic areas:

Then, I ground it up in some buffer that comes with the test kit. After that, I placed a few drops onto the indicator strip:

… and then waited a few minutes. The C-line below stands for control, and it shows that the kit is working. If no C-line shows up the test is not valid. The T (“test”) line also turned color, indicating a positive result.

Out of curiosity, I also tested for Phytophthora. Pythium and Phytophthora are fairly closely related, and I was wondering if there might be any cross reaction. You can see in the photo that on the Phytophthora test, only the C-line turned positive.

Pythium (and Phytophthora) root rots are usually associated with overly wet conditions, and this particular operation did have some potential water management problems that they will now address.

In the landscape, like in a greenhouse, if you have a Pythium root rot that usually means that the underlying problem is really a moisture problem.

2 Responses to “Moss, root rots, and Snoop Dogg”

Jason said...

I am at a golf course in Massachusetts and we have been dealing with moss for over 3 years now. I have seen extremely good results with Quicksilver. I typically apply 2 -3 apps in the spring and then one app in the fall. We also pay very close attention to water management, fertility management, and topdressing. All of these things combined have helped us almost completely eradicate it. Thanks to the universities for all of your research. Without it, us Superintendents would not have proper data to follow!

Megan said...

Thanks for your comment on Quicksilver and the cultural practices that have worked well at your site. Quicksilver has worked, for the most part, in our trials. No phytotoxicity, as I mentioned in the post. It's great to hear back from you guys in the "real world."

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