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Slime on Bowls Green

Another enquiry that suffered from our email address problem on the web form was this one:

What causes small patches of black “slime” on our green and what are the short and long term fixes? The patches are slippery.

Now this is an easier one to fix than the myriad of problems being experienced by the bees!

Slime on the green surface is an indicator of acidic soil conditions. This is likely to be accompanied by dense thatch, compaction and a general lack of health and anaerobic conditions in the green and soil. The soil pH is likely to be very low.

The circle of decline fleshes this out comprehensively.

Tackling the root cause is of course the best way to proceed in the long term and just about anything you read on this site about green maintenance will point you in the right direction, with frequent aeration being the most beneficial practice to concentrate on.

In the short term you can get rid of the slime by adding a teacup full of farmers lime to a bucket of tepid water.  Stir this until it is fully dissolved and then make up to 20 litres with cold water.  Make sure that this is fully mixed before adding to a knapsack sprayer and spot treating the areas of slime.

Use the sprayer as you would for any other application i.e. by walking over the area and spraying as you pass; don’t stand still to spray individual areas as this will result in overdosing and possible damage to the grass.

Walk over the green in two directions, pulling the trigger each time you come to a patch of slime.

Final precautions: Don’t handle the lime without eye and skin protection and make sure that the sprayer is clear of all total weed-killer that it might have been used for previously. Don’t be tempted to use the lime in its powder form on the green.