Efficacy of Trichoderma Fungal Biocontrol Agents for the Control of Snow Mould Disease in Turfgrass

Efficacy of Trichoderma fungal biocontrol agents for the control of snow mould disease in turf grass

Interim Report:
September 2020

Institute for Sustainable Horticulture
Kwantlen Polytechnic University
12666 72nd Ave., Surrey, BC, V3W 2M8

Deborah Henderson PhD
LEEF Regional Innovation Chair

Research Team:
Matilda Tabert, BSc
Michelle Franklin, PhD
Robyn Nakano, Student RA


Pink snow mould, caused by Microdochium nivale, is a major issue in Western Canada, causing reductions in revenue due to reduced turf quality on golf greens.  Interest in alternative control measures to chemical pesticides has increased over the last few decades due to pesticide bans and restrictions, and concern for protecting the environment.

One agent of keen interest is the beneficial fungal genus Trichoderma. Two local isolates of T. atroviride and T. harzianum from the Fraser Valley were investigated for potential control of M. nivale in a field trial and in laboratory assays.

In the field, turf grass plots were treated with liquid cultures of both isolates, spores of T. atroviride, Rootshield Plus and one bacterial product, Rhizovital, Bacillus amyloliquifaciens. Treatment application began in May 2020 and will be ongoing until October 2020. Percent damage due to M. nivale was assessed prior to treatment applications and after one month of applications.  Mean percent damage decreased one month after treatment application for all plots with no effect by treatment which was expected as disease symptoms appear in the cool wet conditions of spring.

A final analysis will be conducted at the end of the project, in February 2021.  In vitro assays showed that the strain of T. atroviride, TA-222, exhibited suppression in the growth of M. nivale of 31%-37% and was able to overgrow the pathogen and sporulate abundantly.  The T. harzianum strain reduced the growth of the pathogen by 25-28%.  This isolate was also able to overgrow the pathogen and sporulate as well.  When comparing the two isolates, T. atroviride caused greater suppression.