Q: How do I know if my pond is covered in pollen or algae?
John – Noblesville, IN
A: Get on your sleuthing hat. Now that summer has arrived, the warm days can trigger both algae blooms and pollen bursts from flowering plants—both of which obscure the clean, sparkling water in your pond or lake. In order to clear things up, you need to first figure out whether it’s algae or pollen. Here are two clues to follow …
Run your hand over the water surface and see what happens. Does the discoloration break apart at the surface or does it go deeper?
Algae that forms in ponds comes in two types—planktonic and filamentous. Planktonic algae is suspended in the water column, giving the water a pea-soup like appearance. Filamentous algae looks like long threads that grow from the bottom up and intertwine to form mats, commonly referred to as pond scum. When you run your fingers through the water, neither type of algae breaks apart.
Pollen, however, will break apart when agitated. It simply settles on the pond’s surface, giving it an oil slick-like appearance, and does not sink into the water column unless a heavy rain comes through.
Next, take a close look at the color of what’s floating on your pond. Pollen, planktonic algae and filamentous algae can give a lake’s surface an off-colored hue.
The planktonic algae, which are microscopic plants, and the filamentous algae strings and mats color the water different shades of green, blue-green, brown or variations in between.
The pollen, however, often tints the water lighter green, yellow or white depending on what plants are releasing pollen spores into the air. Your deducing process can become complicated, however, if you have a combination of pollen sitting on top of a layer of algae!
Whether you’ve decided it’s algae or pollen, we have a solution for you: aeration.
A subsurface Airmax® Aeration System keeps pond and lake water circulating, which prevents the algae from forming and the pollen from coalescing into an unsightly slick. It also pumps oxygen into the water, which keeps your plants and fish happy and healthy.
Above the water, a Kasco Decorative Fountain will keep pollen at bay by spraying wet stuff up and over the pond’s surface, causing ripples that prevent the slicks from forming. Plus, they add movement and drama to your pond.
Pond Talk: How do you break up the pollen that forms on your pond or lake?