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Why do frogs/toads make so much noise? | Pond & Lakes Q&A

Why do frogs/toads make so much noise?

Why do frogs/toads make so much noise?
Stephanie – Pasadena, TX

With the official start of spring come and gone we are not the only ones excited about the rising temperatures. You will soon be serenaded by the assembly of frogs and toads that set up camp at your pond and lake. These frogs and toads can get quite boisterous as they let out calls that can be heard from miles away.

It is not the warm weather or a particularly good day that makes frogs and toads sing however. When toads and frogs call out they are actually trying to attract a mate. Both frogs and toads are capable of croaking but calls vary between each species allowing their mates to distinguish who’s who amongst the gathering of suitors. It is the male who calls out to potential female mates in an attempt to present itself as the best possible option as it is competing against a long line of bachelors. The size and health of each particular frog or toad, along with temperature can dictate the strength, pitch and carry of its call.

While most people enjoy the ambience provided by these calls, the impressive noise a chorus of frogs can produce can become problematic. If you find the noise troublesome you can try to encourage frogs and toads to move elsewhere by discouraging their habitat. Using tools like a Pond Rake and Weed Cutter you can cut and pull away plant debris and growth from around the shoreline of the pond. Without the protection from predators these frogs and toads will not be as inclined to call your pond home.

Pond Talk: Do frogs and toads tend to use your pond as a serenading staging ground? Have you taken steps to eliminate the noise or do you enjoy it?

Lake Rake/Weed Cutter

There are some weeds in the pond but do I need to add anything else for my fish? | Pond & Lake Q&A

There are some weeds in the pond but do I need to add anything else for my fish?

There are some weeds in the pond but do I need to add anything else for my fish?
Kyle – Portland, ME

The fish in your farm pond or lake will definitely use weeds as a source of food and shelter but providing additional habitat is key for pond owners looking for a balanced fish population with large game fish.

Using pond weeds as a source of habitat for your fish population is an at times be a double edged sword to pond owners. While your fish will have somewhere to eat, hide and spawn you may not exactly enjoy seeing weeds taking over and greening up your pond. Snagged fishing hooks, expensive chemical treatments and a downright ugly pond can ruin any pond owner or fishermen’s day.

Porcupine Fish Attractors are constantly growing in popularity as they provide excellent structure for your fish population without the headaches caused by an abundance of aquatic weeds. Unlike pine trees and pallets these Fish Attractors will not bio-degrade or promote algae and weed growth. The PVC spines are easy to fish within and do not snag lures or tangle fishing line. While they are essentially a simple concept these plastic spheres go a long way in maintaining a healthy stock of fish. Simply use PVC Primer and Glue to secure ½” PVC pipe within the Porcupine Fish Attractor Spheres and you have an instant fish habitat. The Fish Attractor structures sink to the bottom of your pond on their own but can be secured to weights using the pre-drilled hole in each plastic sphere for areas with wake or strong currents. When placed in small groups the fish attractor spheres create hiding places for both large and small game fish. Smaller fish can maneuver closer to the center of each sphere while larger fish can utilize the outer portions. Minnows and fry hide within the hollow interior of the PVC tubes. Providing an adequate amount of fish habitat gives your smaller species an opportunity to grow and reproduce.

If an unbalanced fish population is a concern click over to our Pond Stocking Blog for some tips on what to look for when stocking your pond and how to select the right types of fish for your pond. You can also read more on natural fish habitats versus their man-made counterparts another of our Fish Habitat Blogs.

Pond Talk: Have you tried the Porcupine Fish Attractor Spheres? What do you use to create fish habitat?

Fish Attractor

How do weeds like Cattails and Phragmites survive the winter? – Ponds & Lakes Q & A

How do weeds like Cattails and Phragmites survive the winter?

How do weeds like Cattails and Phragmites survive the winter?
Bryce – Grand Rapids, MN

Your gamefish and frogs aren’t the only ones hiding from the cold winter weather. Even your emergent weeds have developed a defense mechanism to survive over the winter. Being perennial plants, they may appear to die when the weather cools down but they are really just buying time until the spring thaw when they will return in all of their glory. Whether or not this is good news depends on how you feel about the presence of these particular plants in your pond.

Plants like Cattails tend to disperse their seeds as fall approaches. As the weather continues to cool the leaves and the stalk of the plant wilt and die only to decompose and become fertilizer for the roots, or rhizomes, of the plant come spring. While the exposed areas of the plant are dying off, the roots of the plant begin pulling in nutrients to store before going into dormancy for the winter. As these roots can be considered the heart of the plant, cutting down Cattail and Phragmite reeds will not discourage new plant growth in the spring.

If you like having Cattails or Phragmites around your pond then nothing is needed to help them through the winter as they are naturally prepared to make a comeback. If you are not a fan of these emergent plants you can make it harder for them to grow back by physically removing the plant roots or by using pond care products to remove their food source and kill the plants including the roots. Applying aquatic herbicides like Avocet PLX while Cattails and Phragmites are still active is infinitely easier than trying to pull their extensive root system from the pond. Avocet PLX is absorbed by the plant and carried to its roots effectively killing the entire weed. Since you don’t want to encourage new growth you will want to remove any potential “fertilizers” in the form of plant decay and muck. Once dead cut and drag any dead reeds and leaves away from the pond and burn or compost them. Using a Rake and Weed Cutter will make short work of these shoreline cleanups and give you the advantage for next season.

Pond Talk: How do your emergent plants react to the cold winter weather?

Keep your pond healthy all winter long!

How do I get rid of cattails and phragmites? – Pond & Lake Q & A

How do I get rid of cattails and phragmites?

How do I get rid of cattails and phragmites? Fran – Disco, TN

Rough Around the Edges?

As you’ve enjoyed your pond over the spring and summer, all of a sudden you begin to see that our pond have built what seems to be an impenetrable wall of Cattails and Phragmites. No worries! Emergent weeds won’t ruin your summer fun. Here are the right tools to get even!

Treating emergent weeds in your pond is a two step process. You will want to focus on dealing with your existing growth first. You can kill Cattails and shoreline grasses down to the root by spraying them directly with Avocet PLX. If you are dealing more with Phragmites, Primrose or Loosestrife then you will see better results using Kraken mixed with Cide-Kick. Make sure you are spraying the plants when they are alive and actively growing so that the aquatic herbicide is carried throughout the plant’s root system. A Tank Sprayer is a great way to apply these aquatic herbicides. Also note if the emergent weed growth is very thick, a couple applications may be needed to gain complete control. Once you see all of the target weeds brown and wilt you can cut them down and drag them away with a Weed Cutter and Pond & Beach Rake.

Once the weeds are cleared away from the edge of the pond you will want to focus on keeping them from growing back. While you can not keep every cattail seed from blowing into your pond, you can extinguish their food sources to deter then from making a repeat performance. Apply some MuckAway pelletized bacteria around the shallow areas of your pond to help digest any nutrient-rich slime that has accumulated on the bottom of the pond over time. This layer of muck acts as fertilizer for new weed growth, smells bad, and as if you needed another reason, it feels terrible between your toes when you are swimming in the pond. Aquatic weeds can also use sunlight as a means to grow so you can benefit from using Pond Dye to shade the pond as well. Not only will you reduce the amount of sun exposure your pond receives you can also choose a color that accents your pond and improves the appearance of the water body.

Some people enjoy the look and coverage that emergent weeds like Cattails provide. If you have considered keeping a few around for aesthetic purposes rest assured it is absolutely harmless to do so. You can still control and maintain these areas of growth using Avocet and Kraken, just be sure to mark off boundaries to keep the weeds from slowly creeping their way back out into the pond and out of control.

POND TALK: Has a wall formed between you and your pond? How did you gain the upper hand over Cattails, Phragmites or other emergent weeds?

Kill unwanted weeds with ease!

Are there any tips for treating my pond in the hot summer months? – Pond & Lake Q & A

Are there any tips for treating my pond in the hot summer months?

Are there any tips for treating my pond in the hot summer months? George – Horace, ND

A lot of our summer activities revolve around our pond. The warm sunny seasons see us hosting parties, swimming, fishing, or just unwinding at the end of the day lounging around outside. Regardless of how you enjoy your down time, you expect your pond to be in pristine condition when having guests at your home or before you decide jump in for a swim. Frustratingly enough, it is the warmer seasons that encourage weed and algae growth that can throw the proverbial wrench in the works. By laying out a few key points on pond maintenance you should be able to keep your pond in excellent condition by knowing what to expect when things go a bit south.

Know It’s Role
When you start to notice growth in your pond, properly identifying it will be the first step to effective treatment. We offer a great Weed ID Guide online that can help you pinpoint exactly what is trying to invade your space. If you are still unsure you can always e-mail pictures to us at mrwig@thepondguy.com or mail us a sample of the weed.

Plan Ahead
Having a party? Keep in mind that it may take up to a week or more to receive full results from a pond treatment depending on what you are treating. Waiting until the day before could result in swimming restrictions or floating growth that has yet to die off. Always read the labels on aquatic algaecides and herbicides for application instructions, dosage rates, and any water use restrictions that they may carry. You don’t want to buy a product that carries a 30 day irrigation restriction of you plan on watering your garden and lawn with your pond water.

Use Aeration Ahead of Time and Keep it Going
Customers who use Bottom Plate Aeration Systems typically run them all day every day to keep the pond circulating and infused with oxygen. Those of you who use a fountain or surface aerator may only run it when you are home and leave it off at night or when you are away. When treating with algaecides and herbicides make sure you keep your aeration running continuously for at least a few days after application regardless. This allows an influx of oxygen during this crucial time when the kill off process robs the water column of the majority of its dissolved oxygen. No aeration yet? If you are going to install an aeration system you will want to introduce it at least a week before you treat, running it in gradually extended increments as to avoid manually turning over your pond by rapidly mixing the bottom oxygen deficient water with the upper oxygen rich layers.

Treat in Sections
In the hot summer months as the water column warms up it will naturally hold less oxygen. In addition to water temperature, dying algae and weeds will also reduce oxygen content. This could potentially add stress to your fish. Treat the pond in quarter sections and wait 10 to 14 days in between sections to allow the pond time to maintain an adequate oxygen level.

Keeping your pond properly maintained with Dye, Beneficial Bacteria and Aeration will give you the upper hand at keeping unwanted growth out of your pond and will drastically reduce the time, effort, and cost of combating weeds when they do decide to make an appearance. With this extra bit of knowledge you can skip out on some stress and effectively treat your pond by choosing the correct products and having a better understanding of the conditions you want to work within.

POND TALK: Are there any other tips you’ve found to help out when treating your pond?

Breathe life back into your pond and lake!

How can I control Naiad in my pond? – Pond & Lake Q & A

How can I control Naiad in my pond?

How can I control Naiad in my pond? Kristin – Modesto, CA

Do You Know Who You Are Dealing With?

When faced with an outbreak of weeds in their pond some pond owners tend to rush into buying aquatic herbicides and algaecides in an attempt to clear up the pond as fast as possible. While we agree with the idea that your weeds need to disappear on the double, you want to make sure you take some time out to identify your intruder. When you know what you are dealing with your can then chose a product to treat it that will give you the best bang for your buck. If you are having trouble identifying a particular weed you can e-mail a couple close up pictures to The Pond Guy at mrwig@thepondguy.com or check out our Weed ID Guide.

What’s The Difference?

Knowing is half the battle in your war against aquatic weeds. So what do you need to know about Naiad to correctly identify it in a line-up of other unruly pond perpetrators? Naiad is an annual plant that branches profusely and forms very dense stands of rooted submerged vegetation. Leaves are dark green to greenish-purple, ribbon-like, opposite or in a whorl of three, mostly less than 1/2 inch long and 1/8 inch wide. Single seeds are found encased in the leaf sheath. Southern naiad reproduces by seeds and fragmentation. Flowers are at the base of the leaves but so small that they can only be observed with magnification. While Naiad is often confused with Chara at first glance, Chara has a strong, unpleasant odor and a crunchy texture that sets it apart from its counterpart. Chara also is very easy to pull out since it has no attached root base.

Pick Your Pony

You will find a stable full of products available for treating Naiad each with their own application methods and water use restrictions. Hydrothol 191 for example is a granular that sinks to the bottom of the pond and is applied with a hand spreader. It carries water use restrictions such as a 3 day fish consumption restriction and a 25 day irrigation restriction. Pondweed Defense on the other hand is a liquid aquatic herbicide that is applied via a Tank Sprayer and carries no water use restrictions. Read each herbicides application instructions, water use restrictions and dosage rates to determine which product is best for you. In addition to Hydrothol and Pondweed Defense, WhiteCap and RedWing are also viable options for treating Naiad.

Revenge Is A Dish Best Served Warm

For optimal results you will want to treat your pond when your water temps are above 50 degrees. Waiting for warmer weather in late Spring and early Summer ensures that the weeds in your pond are actively growing and will eagerly take the chemical you add to the water. Once the weeds are killed it is then safe for you to rake them out of the pond using a Pond & Beach Rake or something similar. Keeping your ponds nutrient load in check with MuckAway and PondClear and proper Aeration will make sure you spend less time wrestling weeds in your pond and more time enjoying your ponding season.

POND TALK: Tell us about your experience with Naiad and/or Chara.

Control Naiad with Pond Logic® PondWeed Defense® & Cide-Kick™ Combo

How do I control floating and bottom-growing algae in my lake? – Pond & Lake Q & A

No Algae Here!

Pond & Lake Q & A

Q: How do I control floating and bottom-growing algae in my lake? – Tom in New York

A: Whether it’s floating or submerged, algae can turn a lake into a green mess in no time. It’s unsightly, it’s sometimes stinky and in extreme cases, it can cause a fish kill. The good news is that algae can be controlled no matter what time of year. It starts with controlling the population and ends with a long-term management plan.

Before we dive in, it’s important to understand the difference between algae and weeds. The term “algae” refers to a wide range of single and multi-celled organisms that live in the water and metabolize carbon dioxide into oxygen via photosynthesis, just like plants. They differ from plants or weeds in that they don’t have true leaves, roots or stems.

In lakes and ponds, the most common varieties of algae include: Green floating algae that creates a “pea soup” appearance; Chara or Stonewort, which are a bottom-growing, seaweed-looking type that can be mistaken for weeds, and string or filamentous algae, which are actually long strings of algae connected together.

Sometimes, pond and lake owners may mistake duckweed for floating algae, but if you look very closely, you’ll find that it’s actually duckweed or watermeal. Check out this blog entry to learn more about controlling this invasive weed.

Population Check

If your pond is coated in pea soup or the bottom is carpeted in Chara or string algae, you can knock back the population with a chemical herbicide like Algae Defense®. It provides quick results and it’s formulated to get a pond under control – especially during the hot summer months. Do not use if your pond or lake is stocked with koi or goldfish. If your pond has trout, check your carbonate hardness with a water hardness test kit, like the Laguna® Quick Dip Multi-Test Strips, and make sure the carbonate hardness is above 50 parts per million (ppm) before using Algae Defense®.

Long-Term Strategy

Algae Defense® by Pond Logic® will solve a crisis, but to keep your pond or lake looking clean and clear, you’ll need to be proactive and develop a plan to manage the algae. The most successful approach centers on cutting off the algae’s food supply – nutrients.

Nutrients can come from a wide variety of sources, like grass clippings, twigs, trees, fish waste, yard and farm fertilizers and runoff. As these nutrients break down, they produce ammonia, which triggers the nitrogen cycle. Nitrifying bacteria surround the ammonia, turning it into nitrites and then into nitrates (nutrients) – which then feed the algae.

So, how do you reduce the nutrients in your pond?
Try these tips:

  • Buffer before fertilizing: To prevent inadvertently fertilizing the algae, leave a buffer area around the pond. You can also try using organic or low-phosphorus fertilizers.
  • Aerate, aerate, aerate: Because that muck at the bottom of the pond feeds the algae, you should prevent the buildup with proper aeration.
  • Reduce the muck: Use natural bacteria like MuckAway™ by Pond Logic® to breakdown up to 5-inches of organic muck per year. You can also rake your pond using a Pond & Beach Rake to remove dead vegetation, leaves and other organics that will eventually decompose on the bottom.
  • Reduce sunlight: Like all photosynthetic organisms, algae requires sunlight to thrive. Adding pond dye can help provide shade. If possible, consider adding some non-invasive aquatic plants to your pond. The plants, which also consume nitrates, will also be a source of competition for food.
  • Add beneficial bacteria: You may also consider adding some additional beneficial bacteria, like PondClear™ by Pond Logic®, to your pond or lake. The bacteria gobble through nitrates, breaking down fish waste, leaves and other organics that accumulate in the pond, naturally improving the water clarity.
  • That green gunk can be controlled in your pond or lake. It just takes a little planning and some proactive management. When you see the results, it’ll be worth it!

    POND TALK: When was your worst algae bloom and how did you control it?

    Controlling Phragmites – Pond & Lake Q & A

    Picture of Phragmites.

    Pond & Lake Q & A

    Q: How do I control invasive Phragmites in my lake?

    A: The common reed, Phragmites australis, may seem innocent enough, but these tall grasses topped with feathery tufts can quickly crowd a farm pond or lake. Native and non-invasive varieties of the plants have thrived in wetlands for centuries throughout the United States, but invasive varieties have taken root on the East Coast, Midwest and Pacific Northwest, and in your lake, creating a nuisance along shorelines.

    Phragmites Explained
    Growing along streams and ponds, phragmites is a perennial wetland grass that can grow to 6 to 15 feet high. The stems, which are erect, smooth and hollow, may be nearly 1 inch in diameter and are topped with 12-inch-long dense panicles, or purple-brown pyramid-shaped plumes of flowers, that emerge between July and September. Leaves arise from the stem are 10 to 20 inches long and up to 2 inches wide.

    The plants propagate mainly via an extensive network of underground rhizomes, or horizontal stems, that produce roots and shoots that grow as deep as 39 inches, with their root systems growing down another 3 feet. Dense above ground and below, stands of these plants crowd out native plants and animals; block shorelines, reducing access for swimming, hunting and fishing; and create fire hazards from dry plant material. But they can be controlled.

    Controlling the Common Reed
    Once phragmites has invaded your lake or pond, you’ll need to develop a long-term management plan to control the plant. Unfortunately, because the plants spread through their rhizomes, they could be difficult to eradicate entirely. That’s where chemical and mechanical control can help.

    Herbicidal Control: First, you can spray an EPA-registered herbicide and surfactant product, like Kraken & Cide-Kick Combo, in the late summer or early fall. Mix 4 ounces of Kraken and 2 ounces of Cide-Kick with 1.5 gallons of water. Pour into pond sprayer (like the Airmax Pond Sprayer) and spray on the plants to completely wet the surface of the leaves. Allow the mixture to absorb into the plant and the root system, the most difficult part of the plant to kill, for one to two weeks.

    Mechanical Control: Once the herbicide has had a chance to soak into the phragmites’ root system, you can use a weed cutter to cut at the base of the plants, allowing for easier removal with a pond rake. If
    you can control your pond’s or lake’s water line, you can also cut the phragmites 2 to 3 inches below the water surface to cut off the plant’s supply of oxygen and drown the plant. To prevent the accidental
    spread of the plant, collect the cut material and bag it before disposing of it.

    Plan to repeat this routine several years in a row. Patches may emerge even after regular treatments, but once you’ve wiped out the majority of the phragmites, the plant will be much easier to control. Good luck!

    POND TALK: How do you control phragmites in your pond or lake?

    Keeping Cattails At Bay in and Around Your Pond – Pond & Lake Q & A

    Cattails

    Pond & Lake Q & A

    Q: The cattails in my pond are out of control. How do I control them without disturbing the wildlife? - Richard of Minnesota

    A: One of the most common of all aquatic plants, cattails can proliferate if left unchecked. Growing from 3 to 10 feet tall in dense colonies around the margins of ponds and lakes, the plants’ strap-like foliage emerges from large, creeping rhizomes in the muddy bottom in the spring. Soon, the cattail’s foliage and spikes, or the plant’s brown cylindrical flower, grow, eventually spreading its seeds and propagating new plants throughout the lake.

    Though they can be a pest, a small controlled area of cattails will provide an ideal habitat for amphibians, insects, birds and fish, as well as helping to prevent erosion. But too many of these plants can create an unappealing look and begin to transform a healthy lake or pond into marshland, and eventually dry land.

    Controlling cattails is a simple three-step process: You’ll need to spray a herbicide, cut the cattails down and remove them.

    1. Spray: The most common way to control cattails is to apply an EPA-registered herbicide and surfactant product, like the Avocet & Cide-Kick Combo. Read the product labels for proper dosage rates, but to treat a 2,500-square-foot area of cattails, mix 8 ounces of Avocet and 4 ounces of Cide-Kick with 2 gallon of water, pour into pond sprayer (like the Airmax Pond Sprayer) and apply onto the water surface where the cattails are growing. Allow the mixture to absorb into the plant and the root system, the most difficult part of the plant to kill, for one to two weeks.

    2. Cut: Once the herbicide has had a chance to soak into the cattail’s root system, the plant will turn brown and become limp. At this point, use an aquatic weed cutter to cut at the base of the plants, allowing for easier removal. If you can control your pond’s or lake’s water line, you can also cut the cattails 2 to 3 inches below the water surface to cut off the plant’s supply of oxygen and drown the plant.

    3. Remove: Use a pond and beach rake to remove the cut cattails. You can compost them, burn them or dispose of them at your local green waste disposal site.

    To completely eradicate cattails in a pond, this process may need to be repeated several times. Once you have the plants under control, they can make a nice addition to your landscape and encourage wildlife to call your pond or lake home.

    POND TALK: How do you control cattails in your pond?

    Controlling Emergent Weeds – Pond & Lake Q & A

    Picture of cattails with a pond in the background.

    Pond & Lake Q & A

    Q: What do I use to kill the emergent weeds on the shoreline? What sprayer should I purchase? NOTE: My kids swim in pond. – James of Wisconsin

    A: At first sight or when controlled properly, cattails and other emergent weeds can add natural beauty, structure for fish and act as a buffer to reduce nutrients and sediment caused by runoff. But, beware! Emergent weeds can take over a pond very quickly if left alone for too long. It is best to pick an area of emergent weeds that you are acceptable with and mark it with boulders or other pieces of landscape. This will allow you to control only the emergent weeds that grow outside your acceptable boundary. There are 3 simple steps to control emergent weeds: 1) Spray… 2) Cut… 3) Repeat…

    1.) Spray - Select the best product for the job. Avocet is best at providing long-term control for all types of grasses and cattails while Kraken is best for phragmites and/or purple loosestrife. Both Avocet and Kraken are sprayed directly on to the target plant with a tank sprayer (We suggest using the Airmax Pond Sprayer). This will allow you to control all areas or select areas that you have set aside for this type of growth. Also note: Both Avocet & Kraken have no swimming use restrictions.

    2) Cut – Emergent weeds can sometimes have a root base deep within the ground so removing them before they are completely dead will allow them to come back very quickly. Most emergent weeds are best treated when the foliage is around 12″ high. This will allow enough contact for the aquatic herbicide. After a successful treatment, they will turn brown and become limp within 7-14 days. After this occurs, use an Aquatic Weed Cutter to cut the weeds at their base and then simply rake them out with the Pond & Beach Rake.

    3) Repeat – Repeat these steps as necessary. In some cases it may take several applications to gain control.

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