Can arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi be used to control the undesirable grass Poa annua on golf courses?

Published online
16 Mar 2000
Content type
Journal article
Journal title
Journal of Applied Ecology

Gange, A. C. & Lindsay, D. E. & Ellis, L. S.

Publication language


A study was conducted on golf putting greens in Surrey, UK to determine whether arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) fungi have any potential for the reduction of P. annua in fine turf. All 18 greens on three golf courses were sampled, and in two courses a negative relation between AM fungi and P. annua abundance was found, upholding previous results. In greens where AM fungi were relatively common (as measured by root colonization), P. annua was rare, and vice versa. Furthermore, when the fungi were common, abundance of the desirable turfgrass Agrostis stolonifera was greater. Two explanations are suggested for these relations, a competitive one, in which AM fungi alter the balance of competition between the two grasses, and an antagonistic one, in which the fungi may directly reduce the growth of P. annua. In a manipulative experiment, where mycorrhizal inoculum was added to a golf green, the colonization level of A. stolonifera roots was enhanced, as was the abundance of this grass. Furthermore, there was a suggestion that adding inoculum could decrease the abundance of P. annua. It was concluded that AM fungi have the potential to be a much more environmentally sound method of P. annua control in sports turf than the currently used chemicals.

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