Tough to Cover Up

The battle between algae and turf could go deeper than many superintendents think.

Used by permission from GIE Media

Originally Printed in Golf Industry magazine, July 8, 2016

Algae are common in golf course ponds and lakes, but they also thrive on putting greens and short-cut turfgrasses, particularly ones that are wet, shady, disease-prone or -infested, exposed or highly fertilized—or some hole-in-one concoction of these or other factors. Superintendents often tend to view algae as byproducts of turf conditions gone awry, but they can serve as root causes of numerous issues on course turf that require specific management techniques.

“That’s the way people think of algae most commonly, as sort of a secondary issue,” says Syngenta senior technical representative Dr. Lane Tredway. “I tend to believe, though, that algae can be more of a primary issue as well, in terms of competing with the turf for air and nutrients, perhaps even forming a layer in the thatch that inhibits the movement of water and air down through the soil profile.”

Algae that contain cyanobacteria, often termed blue-green algae, can produce toxins, Tredway says. These cyanobacteria have contaminated water systems and drinking water sources, so the potential exists that they could directly harm turf, he says.

Toxic cyanobacteria can also cause discoloration and negatively affect shoot and root impact, says West Bishop, algae scientist and water quality research manager at SePRO. “Aesthetics is another factor,” Bishop adds. “It looks bad, it feels bad, certainly it impacts how the ball can roll. Also, having the algae on the turfgrass could smother it, impede light penetration. Additionally, having that extra organic matter, depending on the type of algae you have, can impact infiltration of water, can cause more of that black layer, that anoxic zone as well, for water drainage.”

The application of chemicals that effectively control algae on turf, has shown turf quality improvement that surpasses the expected results of just killing the algae, Tredway says. “When we consistently apply a fungicide or another product to control algae, we consistently see improved turf quality, above and beyond what we can explain by control of other diseases or whatever other effects that product may have,” he says.

Products containing the active ingredients of either chlorothalonil or mancozeb are effective against turfgrass algae, says Dr. James A. Murphy, specialist in turf management at Rutgers University’s Department of Plant Biology and Pathology. Between the two chemicals, chlorothalonil has stronger suppressing characteristics, he says. Neither will completely rid turf of algae, but they will help suppress them and prevent them from worsening, he says.

The Bear Trace’s most successful treatment against the algae was not a chemical treatment, but rather to hose them off with a 1-inch syringe hose with a fire nozzle, and then to take a roller across them, Carter says. “Once we took our water hose and peeled the algae and the sand and the mat and everything and got that layer of sand and just funk, out of the top half-inch, three quarter-inch of the green, then they started draining right away,” he says.

East Lake Golf Club in Atlanta, Ga., also had issues on one green with algae and organic matter buildup resulting from a lack of drainage, says superintendent Ralph Kepple, who informed Carter about the hose method. After taking largely unsuccessful measures plugging and cutting out turf, Kepple and his crew contended with a “dam” that had formed at the bottom of the problematic green. “We had to lower that lip of the green so the water would drain off better,” he says.

Superintendents often have to improve drainage to fight turfgrass algae, Bishop says. “If you can find that balance of keeping the grass there and healthy and not having too many wet areas, too much water on it, to improving the drainage, for example, can help prevent proliferation of some of those turf algae,” he says.

When combatting algae, superintendents should follow a number of cultural practices, Tredway says. “Superintendents just want to make sure that they’re using those hollow tine and solid tine aerifications on a regular basis as needed—sand topdressing as well—to maintain good air and water exchange in the soil profile and also to minimize soil compaction,” he says.

East Lake’s MiniVerde Bermudagrass greens develop a significant amount of organic matter, so Kepple and crew frequently verticut for control. In the process, however, the turf canopy becomes exposed. “If you just happen to have verticut and then maybe get a week of cloudy, wet weather, something like that, then there’s tendency to get algae just because you’ve got an open canopy and that’s a good place for it to get started,” Kepple says.

The Bear Trace is a public course, which requires it to stay open more often than many private courses, so weekly verticutting and topdressing applications are not always met with typical aerification practices, Carter says. “At this golf course we’re open every day but Christmas and New Year’s,” he says. “We’re going 363 days out of the year.”

The course’s top inch of soil has bound up with more than 6 percent organic matter, more than twice the amount it should, he says. The sand, fine grasses and very fine grasses are over the USGA recommended rate, he says.

Algae always remain in the thatch layer of turf, Tredway says. “And really, a lot of our turf management practices create an ideal environment for algae to persist, with the routine irrigation, the regular fertilization, with nutrients like nitrogen and phosphorus,” he says. “We’re, to some extent, growing algae as well as growing turf.”

Using more labor is often a more effective treatment against algae than using less, Tredway says. Turf growth needs to outcompete that of algae, which is possible through both product application and practices such as improving drainage, avoiding overirrigation and maintaining good and balanced soil fertility, he says.

Now that The Bear Trace crew have removed much of the thatch and sand from the turf through improved drainage and spraying, firmness of the greens has increased, Carter says. “They’re good and firm right now,” he says. “They roll pretty good.”

The few remaining weak areas will continue to improve — as long as the weather does the same.

Patrick Williams is GCI’s contributing editor.


BioSafe visits Anaheim, California for the 2016 CAPCA Conference October 16-18 Booth 617

Another year has flown by and we are looking forward to another great CAPCA show to see some old industry friends and partners. We are excited about this one; not only are we presenting at the label update meetings, we are one of the main sponsors of the entire show!

We’ve got plenty to talk about if you visit booth 617, we have important news about our OxiDate 2.0 and closed mixing system requirements (spoiler alert: no longer needed in California); Asian Citrus Psyllids and our Insecticide: Azaguard and many more things!

Oh by the way, we are also giving away a Yeti Cooler, but you don’t have to tell us you’re stopping by just for that

BioSafe to Exhibit at 2016 PMA Fresh Summit October 15 -16 Orlando, Florida

Each year BioSafe looks forward to the PMA Fresh Summit and no, not only for the abundant amount of delicious food that’s everywhere we turn, but to see what’s new in Food Safety and to share and learn about what’s happening in the fast paced and ever changing life of FSMA; It’s a whole new world and we are proud to be spinning with it.

This year, we are bringing our beautiful new SaniDate MDS display to booth 3058. Make your past all the wonderful fruit and snacks to see the demo and learn about all of the cost savings SaniDate and the MDS and bring to your facility. Or simply stop by and register to win a Yeti Cooler!

Either way, we’ll be glad you visited.

Get to know these pesky root, leaf and bract poinsettia pests and how to keep them at bay

Protect your poinsettias

Get to know these pesky root, leaf and bract poinsettia pests and how to keep them at bay.

Article used by permission from GIE Media. Retrieved 9/18/2016

July 28, 2016
Raymond Cloyd
Poinsettias (Euphorbia pulcherrima) are widely grown in greenhouses throughout the U.S., and like many greenhouse-grown horticultural crops, they are susceptible to a number of insect and mite pests. Therefore, it is imperative to maintain low numbers of insect and mite pests, especially before bract formation because there are very few insecticides and miticides that are labeled for poinsettia when in bract. The insect and mite pests of poinsettia can be grouped based on the plant location where they feed:

  • Roots: fungus gnat larvae
  • Leaves (and stems): whiteflies, western flower thrips, broad mite, Lewis mite and mealybugs
  • Bracts: western flower thrips

This article provides a brief description of the damage to poinsettia plants associated with each insect and mite pest and the plant protection strategies that need to be implemented in order to alleviate problems with these pests.


Fungus gnats

Fungus gnat (Bradysia spp.) larvae feed on root hairs and small roots, thus inhibiting the ability of poinsettia plants to obtain water and nutrients. Fungus gnats are more problematic under propagation when low numbers can kill cuttings or young plants.

Control and scouting methods


  • Avoid keeping the growing medium excessively moist.
  • Remove weeds and “old growing medium” from around the production area.
  • Use either pasteurized or bagged growing medium.


  • Use yellow sticky cards for fungus gnat adults.
  • Use potato wedges for fungus gnat larvae.

There are a number of insecticides commercially available that will suppress fungus gnat larval populations in the growing medium, including: insect growth regulators [e.g. pyriproxyfen (Distance/Fulcrum)], contact insecticides [e.g. chlorfenapyr (Pylon)] and microbials [Bacillus thuringiensissubsp. israelensis (Gnatrol)]. In addition, there are three natural enemies (biological control agents) that are effective against fungus gnat larvae, including: Dalotia coriaria (rove beetle), Stratiolaelaps scimitus(predatory mite), and Steinernema feltiae (beneficial nematode). These natural enemies must be released preventatively, that is, before fungus gnat larval populations reach damaging levels.



Whiteflies, including the sweetpotato whitefly (Bemisia tabaci), are still the primary insect pest of poinsettia, feeding within the vascular system (phloem sieve tubes) and subsequently removing plant fluids. In addition, the nymphs produce or exude honeydew, which is a clear, sticky liquid that serves as a substrate for black sooty mold. Whiteflies typically feed on the underside of poinsettia leaves .

Control and scouting methods


  • Remove weeds from within and around the greenhouse.
  • Avoid over-fertilizing poinsettia plants with water-soluble nitrogen-based fertilizers.
  • Remove leaf debris from production areas.


  • Use yellow sticky cards to monitor for whitefly adults.
  • Perform visual inspections to monitor for eggs, nymphs, and pupae.

Contact insecticides [e.g. cyfluthrin], insect growth regulators [e.g. pyriproxyfen], selective feeding blockers [e.g. pymetrozine ], and systemic insecticides [e.g. dinotefuran ] can be used to suppress whitefly populations.

In addition, parasitoids like Eretmocerus eremicus can be released early in the production cycle to regulate whitefly populations. Furthermore, entomopathogenic (beneficial) fungi, including: Beauveria bassiana , and Isaria fumosoroseus  are effective against whiteflies when applications are made early in the crop production cycle. However, be sure to thoroughly cover leaf undersides with spray applications where all the life stages (eggs, nymphs and adults) are located.

Western flower thrips

The larvae and adults of the western flower thrips (Frankliniella occidentalis) cause direct damage to the leaves and bracts of poinsettia plants; resulting in leaf scarring and distortion.

Control and scouting methods


  • Remove heavily infested or damaged plants.
  • Screen greenhouse openings if feasible.
  • Remove all weeds from within the greenhouse.


  • Use yellow sticky cards to monitor adult populations.
  • Shake leaves over a white sheet of paper (8.5 x 11 inches) to detect the presence of both larvae and adults.

There are a number of insecticides that may be used on poinsettia (prior to bract formation) to suppress populations of western flower thrips; such as, spinosad , chlorfenapyr , pyridalyl  and abamectin. Additional insecticides that are registered for use on poinsettia include:Beauveria bassiana, Isaria fumosoroseus  and spirotetramat . Be sure to apply insecticides early in the crop production cycle and conduct multiple applications if warranted based on information obtained from scouting.

Broad mite

The broad mite (Polyphagotarsonemus latus) is 1/100 inches long and eggs have bumps or protrusions on the surface. A 10 or 16X hand-lens is required to actually see the mites. Broad mite feeding causes distortion or deformation of the terminal leaves of poinsettia. If you suspect that broad mites are responsible for the damage observed on poinsettia plants then send samples to a diagnostic clinic for verification.

Control and scouting methods


  • Immediately remove all plants that are suspected to be or are exhibiting damage caused by broad mites.


  • Routinely inspect plants for any visible damage as well as the presence of broad mites.

There are pesticides commercially available with miticidal activity registered for use against broad mites, including: abamectin (Avid), bifenazate + abamectin (Sirocco), chlorfenapyr (Pylon), fenpyroximate (Akari), pyridaben (Sanmite), spiromesifen (Judo), and spirotetramat (Kontos). However, these materials must be applied before damage is noticed because once damage is observed, it is generally too late.

Lewis mite

The Lewis mite (Eotetranychus lewisi) is not a common poinsettia pest problem but greenhouse growers should be aware of this mite pest. Lewis mite looks very similar to the more common twospotted spider mite (Tetranychus urticae), but is smaller. Lewis mites feed on the lower leaves and the damage they cause on poinsettia may resemble a nutritional deficiency.

Control and scouting methods


  • Remove all weeds from within the greenhouse that serve as an alternative host plant for Lewis mites.
  • Avoid over-fertilizing plants with water-soluble, nitrogen-based fertilizers.


  • Visually inspect plants for the presence of Lewis mites by focusing primarily on leaf undersides.
  • Shake leaves over a white, 8.5 x 11-inch sheet of paper to determine if Lewis mites are present.

There are miticides with contact or translaminar activity (material penetrates leaf tissues and forms a reservoir of active ingredient within the leaf that provides residual activity after spray residues have dissipated) that are labeled for use against Lewis mite, as well as, certain natural enemies, including: predatory mites and the predatory midge, Feltiella acarisuga. Check miticide labels to determine those that are registered for use against Lewis mite. Furthermore, consult with your biological control supplier to determine which predatory mites should be released against the Lewis mite.


Initially, mealybugs were not considered a major pest of poinsettia. However, recently they have become more of a problem. One possible reason, based on our research in the Department of Entomology at Kansas State University (Manhattan, Kan.), is that systemic insecticides may not be effective against mealybugs on poinsettia. Therefore, populations may build up and potentially displace other insect pests that are sensitive to systemic insecticides, such as whiteflies.

Mealybugs feed on the leaf underside, on the plant stem and near the base of the petioles. Similar to whiteflies, mealybugs feed within the vascular system, removing plant fluids. Mealybugs cause leaf distortion, plant stunting and wilting. In addition, they exude copious amounts of honeydew, a clear, sticky liquid that serves as a substrate for black sooty mold.

Control and scouting methods


  • Immediately remove heavily infested plants
  • Avoid over-fertilizing plants with water-soluble, nitrogen-based fertilizers.


  • Visually inspect plants to monitor for all life stages, including crawlers (nymphs) and egg-laying females.

Mealybug populations can be suppressed using contact insecticides [e.g. mineral oil ] and insect growth regulators [e.g. buprofezin ]. However, multiple applications will be required and thorough coverage of leaf undersides and plant stems is important.


Shore flies

Shore flies are not a major insect of poinsettia because the larvae and adults do not directly cause plant damage. However, the presence of high numbers of adults can detract from overall plant appearance. In fact, shipments may be rejected that contain a horde of shore fly adults. High populations of shore flies are indicative of excessively moist conditions and abundant algae growth.

Control and scouting methods


  • Avoid overwatering plants.
  • Eliminate algae growth throughout the greenhouse.


  • Position yellow sticky cards just above the crop canopy and check for adults on a weekly basis.
  • Visually inspect plants and the growing medium for adults. Shore fly adults can be easily seen “resting” on poinsettia leaves.

There are a number of insect and mite pests that attack poinsettia crops during the growing season. However, greenhouse growers can alleviate problems with these pests by implementing a multitude of plant protection strategies, including: cultural control, scouting, pesticidal and biological control. Furthermore, a strategy used by many greenhouse growers is placing yellow sticky tape (e.g. Pestrip) among a poinsettia crop, which will capture adult fungus gnats, whiteflies, western flower thrips and shore flies. The use of yellow sticky tape may be helpful in reducing insect pest populations. Always be proactive in your approach to dealing with any insect or mite pest that attacks poinsettia, which is especially critical before bract formation as the options become limited at that point.

Raymond is a professor and extension specialist in horticultural entomology/plant protection in the Department of Entomology at Kansas State University. His research and extension program involves plant protection in greenhouses, nurseries, landscapes, conservatories and vegetables and fruits.

BioSafe Systems Hires Horticulture Sales Rep


BioSafe Systems announces new hire Eric Smith as a Horticulture Technical Sales Representative. He will spearhead sales goals to establish consistent, direct communication with strategic distribution partners, growers/packers and market influencers.

In his role, Smith will work to increase market penetration and sales of BioSafe Systems products. He will focus his efforts on establishing a strong, lasting rapport with distributors and providing technical support to our loyal customers while establishing relationships with new customers.

He brings with him experience in both the Agricultural and Horticultural segments. Smith’s background includes a bachelor’s degree in Environmental Management in Agriculture and Natural

Resources from the University of Florida, as well as work experience with crop production, quality control, sales, and procurement and logistics for established wholesale farms.

For more information, contact BioSafe Systems toll-free at 888-273-3088.

BioSafe Systems Hires New Agriculture Sales Rep 

BioSafe Systems announces new hire Amelia Jordan as the Pacific Northwest Territory’s Technical Sales Representative for Agriculture. She will spearhead sales goals to establish consistent, direct communication with strategic distribution partners, growers/packers and market influencers.

In her role, Jordan will work to increase market penetration and sales of BioSafe Systems’ crop protection, water treatment and food safety solutions. She will focus her efforts on establishing a strong, lasting rapport with distributors and providing technical support to our loyal customers while establishing relationships with new customers.

Jordan brings with her a solid working knowledge along with a bachelor’s degree in Biology and a master’s degree in Entomology.

For more information, contact BioSafe Systems toll-free at 888-273-3088.

BioSafe Systems Receives Now Approved for OLR and OFLR Poultry Applications

BioSafe Systems’ SaniDateFD peroxyacetic acid has been approved for on and offline poultry reprocessing. Details outlined in the letter from USDA representatives state, “the aqueous solution may be applied at up to 2,000 ppm of peroxyacetic acid.”

SaniDateFD is an FDA approved antimicrobial for process water and ice used in the production and preparation of poultry, eggs, beef, pork, fish and seafood. (FCN 1501).  When used as directed, SaniDateFD will control microorganisms including salmonella, campylobacter, e.coli and listeria.

BioSafe Systems manufactures peroxyacetic acid in GA, IL and NV and will be opening a fourth production plant in MI in 2017. SaniDateFD is available for bulk delivery and in totes and drums.


For more information about SaniDateFD, please call our home office at 888-273-3088 or visit


FSIS: Food Safety Data Sharing to Help Consumers Make Informed Choices

Published by permission from Food Safety Magazine c/o The Target Group, Inc. Originally posted on 7/11/2016.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA’s) Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) has plans to begin sharing new levels of food safety data specific to slaughter and processing facilities in the United States, on This move will allow consumers to make more informed choices, motivate individual establishments to improve performance, and lead to industry-wide improvements in food safety by providing better insights into strengths and weaknesses of different practices.

“FSIS’ food safety inspectors collect vast amounts of data at food producing facilities every day, which we analyze on an ongoing basis to detect emerging public health risks and create better policies to prevent foodborne illness,” says USDA Deputy Under Secretary for Food Safety Al Almanza. “Consumers want more information about the foods they are purchasing, and sharing these details can give them better insight into food production and inspection, and help them make informed purchasing decisions.”

The new datasets will begin to publish on on a quarterly basis starting 90 days after publication in the Federal Register. Initially, FSIS will share information on the processes used at each facility, giving more detail than is currently listed in the searchable establishment directory, as well as a code for each facility that will make it easier to sort and combine future datasets by facility. Additionally, FSIS will release results for Listeria monocytogenes and Salmonella in ready-to-eat products and processed egg products.

On a quarterly basis, FSIS will then begin to share other datasets, including results for Shiga Toxin-producing Escherichia coli and Salmonella in raw, nonintact beef products; results for Salmonella and Campylobacter in young chickens and young turkeys, comminuted poultry, and chicken parts; routine chemical residue testing data in meat and poultry products; and advanced meat recovery testing data.

Criteria such as data availability and possible impact on public health will be considered by FSIS to determine which datasets are best suited for future public release. User guides that provide context to the data will be included with each dataset.

Maintenance, the best way to prevent loss from drinker system issues

Published with permission from Poultry Times.  Originally printed on August 15, 2016.

Written by Katie Keiger

GAINESVILLE, Ga. — One of life’s most simple and necessary compounds, H2O, can become very complicated to maintain in a modern poultry broiler house. Water pressure, cleanliness and status of drinker lines are some of the main concerns to have when caring for thousands of birds.


According to Dr. Jacquie Jacob of the University of Kentucky, most poultry prefer water a little more acidic than normal but below six on the pH scale will harm chicken’s performance. When looking at the bird’s water supply be advised that cloudy, reddish brown or blue colors can signs of contaminate.

Bacteria and fungi are inevitably going to enter the water due from bird usage. The University of Georgia suggests that preforming regular high-pressure flushing will “remove residual contaminants and limit bacteria growth.” During droughts or after high rainfall, it is suggested to test water quality to check for changes. Sanitizing regularly also prevents high levels of bacteria, but it is important to read the instructions provided on the cleaning product as to not damage the water system pipes and equipment. For a list of safe and acceptable cleaning products, visit

Jacob warns that the best solution for high levels of bacteria is to locate an alternative water source. “Any disinfectant is likely to fail at some time and expose the birds to high levels of bacteria,” Jacob said.

Water Pressure

To ensure all the birds in all spaces get continuous, quality water, regular checks are required. The cleanliness of the water can affect the pressure because bacteria or other foreign pollution can clog pipes. Hardness of water or the amount of dissolved minerals in water, can cause build up which is difficult for soaps and disinfectants to effectively clean, according to Jacob.

UGA states that “the (water) system should be able to provide enough water for bird consumption and to meet evaporative cooling system requirements on the hottest day of the year with market age birds.”

Regular water system inspections are necessary to ensure all the birds are receiving water, even the ones farthest away from the source. Jess Campbell, Dennis Brothers, Jim Donald and Gene Simpson of the National Poultry Technology Center at Auburn University say that the pressure of the water is most critical in the summer when water consumption is high. Thousands of dollars can be lost in just a few days if water supply is limited by the system’s equipment being inadequate. According to the NPTC, undersized water meters and undersized main plumbing lines are two of the main culprits for lack of water pressure. The problem can be confirmed by either the water supplier or meter manufacturer. Clogged filters and regulators and kinked drinker supply hoses can also negatively affect the water. The good news about filters is that they are easy to fix, just replace them, the bad news is that they are easily forgotten. Regulators have the same problem as filters, and should be inspected once a year at a minimum. As far as the kinked drinker supply an issue, the NPTC suggests that even high quality hoses can become kinked and will need regular checks.

All these things do add up but the cost of maintenance is far less in the long run than losing birds or at the very least pounds of poultry due to water not reaching all areas of the farm.

Drinker Lines

Cutting right to the source or at least the source from the bird’s point of view, the drinker lines have special requirements to ensure birds of all sizes get their fill. The NPTC said that the chicks are of most concern when it comes to contaminated nipple drinkers because they cannot break the drinker pins free if they are stuck or clogged. It is important to ensure that each bird has the correct size nipple drinker.

To prevent waste and improve efficiency, Michael Czarick and Dr. Brian Fairchild with the University of Georgia’s Cooperative Extensions Service, state that high pressure water should be preserved for mature chickens and not chicks.

Air can get trapped in the lines and prevent chickens from getting water. This can be prevented with air vents/standpipes and no high points in the lines for air to get trapped in.

UGA emphasizes that the drinker lines should be at the chicken’s eye level so the birds only have to slightly lift their heads to get water.

“Un-level drinker lines can lead to air locks and reduce drinking opportunities for birds,” Czarick and Fairchild say. “This could result in restricting access for birds in areas where the drinker system is too high and result in water wastage where it is too low.”