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What is the difference between algae and Chara and how should I treat them? | Pond & Lakes Q&A


What is the difference between algae and Chara and how should I treat them?

What is the difference between algae and Chara and how should I treat them?
Veronica – Savannah, GA

To an entomologist, the differences between a cockroach and a termite may be a subject of profound fascination. However, to a homeowner, they’re both insect problems. If you have them, you sure as heck want to get rid of them – and the sooner the better.

Likewise, when the seasoned water biologist sees filamentous algae floating on the surface of a pond, he can probably identify the strain — Spirogyra, Oscillatoria, Pithophora, Anabaena or perhaps some combination thereof. Just beneath the surface, he might point out the gray-green, cylindrical branches of Chara, another form of algae that is often mistaken for a submerged flowering plant, except it has no flower and no defined root system.

Most of you would probably find this at least mildly interesting, unless, of course, the biologist is talking about your pond. Where he sees variations of filamentous algae, you see ‘pond scum’:what he identifies as Chara, you know as ‘skunkweed’ or ‘muskgrass.’ Suddenly, what it is, matters a whole lot less to you than how to get rid of it.

Well, fortunately, we’ve got some great options for you. One gallon of Algae Defense®, mixed with water and Treatment Booster™ PLUS , can treat up to 8,000 square feet of pond surface. It’s best applied with an pond sprayer. It should come as no surprise that the sooner you address an algae issue with Algae Defense®, the quicker and more effective the results. Algae Defense® is best used to eliminate algae on or just below the surface of your pond. For bottom forming algae, like Chara, we suggest Cutrine®-Plus Granular – 12 pounds can treat 8,700 square feet.

If you find that the algae in your pond has graduated from ‘issue’ to ‘problem,’ you may find that multiple applications of Algae Defense® and Cutrine®-Plus Granular are necessary. Make sure you treat your pond in small sections waiting a week between treatments, and have sufficient aeration when treating during the hot summer months. We also recommend following up treatments with the use of PondLogic® PondClear™ and PondLogic® MuckAway™, which use environmentally friendly bacteria to break down the dead algae.

When it comes to the health of your pond, knowing what goes on is important, but knowing how to deal with it is essential.

Pond Talk: Have you learned any tips or tricks to treating algae in you pond?

2 Responses

  1. I treated my chara with Cutrine granular. It seemed to knock things down a bit. I waited a couple of weeks, then added some beneficial bacteria, in the hopes of keeping the chara and some of my other algae under control.

    The chara is back, and even more abundant than before (the recent heat wave has not helped on that score).

    Any suggestions? I do have an aerator which runs continuously, and use pond dye as well (I was a bit late getting the dye in this year.)

    • It’s no doubt that the recent heat waves have helped algae grow out of control. As always, running an aerator is highly recommended and will help to reduce growth. The type of algae you are combating changes the type of treatment. If the algae are more submerged Cutrine Plus Granular makes the best algaecide allowing granules to settle on the algae and immediately begin attacking algae growth. Ideally, you would treat half of the pond’s surface, wait 10-14 days and treat the other half. Ensuring use of the proper dosage (2.7 lbs per 2,000 sq. ft.) will also help ensure products abilities. Once the algae is dead you can rake out the dead matter in order to reduce the amount of accumulation of muck in the bottom of the pond. Muck is a major food source for algae. After the final treatment of Cutrine Plus Granular, wait 72 hours and resume use of the beneficial bacteria.

      -Missy

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