Golf Course Management

OCT 2018

Golf Course Management magazine is dedicated to advancing the golf course superintendent profession and helping GCSAA members achieve career success.

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54 GOLF COURSE MANAGEMENT 10.18 AT THE TURN (ponds) Patrick Simmsgeiger A freshwater pond is a complex ecosystem that includes a number of organisms, from plants and large fish to microscopic bacteria. Illustration courtesy of Lake Access Put your pond on steroids Adding bacteria and enzymes can boost the health of the freshwater ecosystem in your pond. Freshwater ecosystems are incredibly complex habitats that depend on delicate balances shift- ing from season to season. e organisms that make up these environments range in size from microscopic bacteria to massive fish. While every organism plays a role in nature, microorgan- isms arguably are the most important. In fresh water, these microorganisms are mostly things like phytoplankton, zooplankton and bacteria. While all of these exist in numbers that people struggle to visualize, bacteria are the most numerous. Bacteria inhabit all parts of water, but they are most concentrated in what is known as benthic sediment — the bottom of the body of water. ese benthic bacteria are responsible for decomposing organic matter as it sinks to the bottom, and they also perform vital chemical reactions such as nitrogen fixation and nutrient consumption. eir presence cuts down on excessive sediment accumulation and helps prevent unhealthy nutrient buildup that leads to rapid algae and plant growth. Because they perform so many vital roles, if bacterial populations suffer, the entire ecosystem suffers. What can be done to help water if bacterial populations are overworked or failing? Many professionals who manage freshwater systems recommend adding bacteria, as well as enzymes, to make digesting matter easier. However, others say added bacteria and enzymes are a waste of time that do not assist the native bacteria population. is is an ongoing debate in the aquatic management industry — and one that does not have a definitive right or wrong answer. Like many things involving fresh water, the best approach depends on the specific body If bacterial populations suffer, the entire ecosystem suffers.

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