Properly caring for a fence to ensure it stays in good condition can be challenging or simple, depending on the fencing material. A wood, vinyl or metal fence may have issues with algae, which eventually may cause discoloration or even rot. You can make your own hydrogen peroxide solution to combat the algae and save your fence.
Some of the many forms of algae live in marine conditions, and others can grow aerially. Composed of a diverse group of organisms, algae need light and nutrients in order to grow or photosynthesize. Aerial algae are most commonly found on fences and are classified into four types: epiphyllophytes, epiphloephytes, epizoophytes and lithophytes. They also grow on tree trunks, walls, rocks and some animals.
About Hydrogen Peroxide
Hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) is an inorganic, odorless chemical that serves many purposes, including as a disinfectant and antiseptic. It is a strong oxidizing agent; when hydrogen peroxide contacts living microorganisms, such as algae, it breaks open and kills their cells. It often is used as an active ingredient in algaecides because it does not harm surfaces such as wood, vinyl and metal.
Preparation and Application
Hydrogen peroxide should be diluted with water before being sprayed on any fence with algae. In order to produce the best results, combine one part hydrogen peroxide with two parts filtered water. Hydrogen peroxide is reactive and will kill algae after contact. After you apply a hydrogen peroxide-water solution to the fence, use water and a scrub brush to clean the algae from the fence.
Other options for removing algae from fences and other hard surfaces include using a pressure washer and improving drainage. If you prefer to use a chemical-based option, then look for a product that contains acetic acid, ammonium or copper sulfate. Read the label of a product carefully before using the product because application guidelines vary.
- Cornell University: Resource Guide for Organic Insect and Disease Management, Second Edition
- Oilgae: Classification of Algae Based on Habitat
- University of Maryland Extension, TPM/IPM Weekly Report: Commercial Horticulture
- University of Florida IFAS Extension: Plant Management in Florida Waters, an Integrated Approach -- Algae
- University of Connecticut: Integrated Pest Management: Managing Algae in the Greenhouse
- Royal Horticultural Society: Algae, Lichens, Liverworts and Moss on Hard Surfaces
- Photo Credit Oli Scarff/Getty Images News/Getty Images