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Algae Growth During the Winter – Water Garden Q & A

Algae Growing in a Water Garden During Winter.

Q: I shut my water garden down for the winter, but I still see some algae growth. Can algae grow in cooler temperatures?

A: In some cases, a pond that stays clean and clear through the summer can blow up into an algal nightmare in the fall. Shutting down your watergarden ceases the flow-through characteristics of the pond. This reduces the amount of filtration that occurs both mechanically (i.e. skimmers) and biologically (i.e. filterfalls). Since there is less flow, it is a good idea to bump up the amount of bacteria in the pond by adding Seasonal Defense® Bacteria with Barley. These bacteria operate in cooler conditions and will greatly reduce the amount of nutrients in the water, and also contains barley straw to naturally help with the algae. Using Oxy-Lift™ Defense® to scrub down your rocks will also help to remove any debris build up.

Algae Growth During the Winter – Pond & Lake Q & A

Picture of Algae in Ice.

Q: That isn’t algae growing under the ice, is it?

A: A common question that we receive in the winter pertains to winter algae and what to do with it. In the northern climates, there are strains of algae that do thrive in temperatures down to freezing. The good news is that typically these strains do not reach nuisance levels in ponds or lakes. They tend to hang out in warmer locations, usually around an inflow of water, where it is nice and sunny. In optimal growing conditions, these algae can generate enough biomass to put your fish at risk. A sudden die-off caused by a sudden swing in temperature, overcast weather, etc. can deplete the dissolved oxygen levels under the ice which leads to unnecessary fish stress.

Solutions: Nutrient management in your watershed as well as your pond will slow down the growth of any algae or plant all season. Typically phosphorus is the key nutrient for algal growth, so try switching to phosphorus free fertilizers if you fertilize your lawn. Our PondClear™ Packets and MuckAway™ Pellets eat away at the muck/nutrients found in the pond. Our EcoBoost™ bind up any excess nutrients flowing in from the watershed. These are things to do in the summer, but what about winter? With the pond frozen over, your options are limited. Dying the pond a deep blue with Pond Dye will reduce the amount of sunlight that passes through the water column. If you can safely do it, I would suggest adding an extra dose through the ice to slow down growth.

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