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Straw to pervent algae

David Robinson wrote:

>I ran across an interesting snippet in the May/June issue of
>Organic Gardening today.  

>  British researchers recently published several reports
>confirming that straw reduces algae growth in ponds.  They
>concluded that *barley* straw works the best for some reason.
>  For severe algae problems, use 3 ounces of barley straw for
>every square yard of water surface.  


>Has anybody heard of this or know what is going on here?
>Does anyone have more details?  Off the top of my head, I'm
>guessing that barley straw colors the water and helps cut
>out the light.... but its only a guess.  It could also
>stimulate massive infusoria and daphnia growth which would
>help keep the water clear.  

This is not the first time this has been mentioned on the list.  I think if
you check the archives, you'll find the earlier conversation.  I think at
that ppoint we discussed the two possibilities, that either the straw
encouraged a growth of infusoria that ate the algae, or that there was some
direct allellopathic benefit from the straw.  I don't think any real answer
was reached.  I know it's pretty well known among pond people that at least
under pond conditions, it _does_ work.