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What can I do to maintain my lakefront property? | Ponds & Lakes Q&A

What can I do to maintain my lakefront property?

Q: What can I do to maintain my lakefront property?

John – Beltsville, MD

A: Ahhh … waking up to the sun rising over your slice of a tranquil lake sounds divine—and it makes sense that you’d want to keep that piece of heaven pristine.

So what can you do to maintain it?

If you live by a large lake, pond dye may not be a feasible way to beautify your shoreline. But here are a few things you can do to help promote a healthy lakefront.

  • Use Natural Bacteria: You can apply beneficial bacteria, like those found in Pond Logic® MuckAway™, to shoreline areas to promote muck removal around your dock or beach. The bacteria consume the accumulated organic debris, improving water clarity and eliminating smell.
  • Install Circulators: Dock-mounted or float-mounted circulators , like the Kasco Circulator with Horizontal Float, can help speed up muck decomposition and guide muck away from a boat well or shorefront by moving the water and adding oxygen to it.
  • Control Weeds: If pesky phragmites grow on your lakefront, you can spray them with aquatic herbicides and cut them back with a weed cutter, like the Pond Logic® Weed Cutter & Beach Rake. Weed control will discourage critters and mosquito populations from moving in.

What’s the Catch?

Well, the catch is that treating a lakefront property is trickier than treating your private backyard pond or lake. Because you’re affecting water that you share with wildlife and other homeowners, you will need to contact your local environmental quality department for permission to treat the area with bacteria or chemicals. Once you get the OK, you can treat away!

Another option is to hire a licensed herbicide applicator in your area. These businesses can assist you with the permit process—and some can even be hired to maintain the area for you so you can spend more time lounging by the lake.

Pond Talk: If you live lakefront, what have you done to improve your beach or shoreline area?

Naturally Eliminate Pond Muck - Pond Logic® MuckAway™

Can I add barley to my 1/2 acre pond? | Ponds & Lakes Q&A

Can I add barley to my 1/2 acre pond?

Q: Can I add barley to my 1/2 acre pond?

Bill – Ashville, OH

A: Barley straw and ponds have some great chemistry. As a barley straw bale breaks down in water, it produces and releases many chemical compounds—and one of them may actually control algae growth.

How? Scientists from the Ohio State University Extension report that the compound interferes with and prevents the new growth of algae cells. As the old algae cells naturally die off, few new algae cells are produced—thereby controlling the overall algae population.

Sounds like a perfect solution for your 1/2 acre lake, right?

Well, barley straw will technically work to control algae in all that water—but you’ll need a ton of barley to accomplish it! More precisely, you’ll need as much as 112 pounds per 1/2 acre of surface area, according to OSU experts.

That’s great if you live next to a barley field, but that’s not a reality for most of us …

And accessibility to all those pounds of straw isn’t the only challenge. The bales are also tough to handle. In a small 1,000-gallon pond, small bales of barley straw can be used and tucked away in the filter, out of view. But in a sizable pond or lake, large bales are cumbersome to haul and position.

Not only that, but they also need to be broken apart to allow the right amount of oxygen in the middle of the bale so it properly decomposes, which means all that loose material will float to the pond’s surface and really make a mess of things.

Rather than wrangle all that barley straw, try an Airmax® Aeration System instead coupled with a beneficial bacteria product, like MuckAway. The aeration system will circulate the pond water, allowing the bacteria to break down all the muck.

Low amounts of nutrients in the pond means less food for plants and weeds—and that’s some chemistry every lake owner should understand.

Pond Talk: Do you prefer aeration and beneficial bacteria over barley straw? If so, why?

Reduce Mucky Pond Bottoms - Pond Logic® MuckAway®

Setting Pond Resolutions

Setting Pond Resolutions

Setting Pond Resolutions

It’s that time of year—the season when New Year revelers set lofty self-improvement goals and strive to stick to them. Unfortunately, many of these resolutions are long forgotten after a few short weeks. Sound familiar? (I don’t know about you, but my running shoes are still hidden away in the closet!)

Well, set those aspirations aside. Let’s refocus your resolution energy on improving your lake, pond or water garden instead. Here’s how to formulate some attainable goals—and actually reach them—when spring arrives.

1. Realistic Evaluation

First of all, realistically assess the situation in your pond and your experiences with it over the past year. What problems or challenges did you face? Did you have an out-of-control algae problem last spring? A fish population boom (or bust)? Wild water temperature fluctuations? Are you sick of looking at all the cattails?

As you’re brainstorming, make a list of these potential pond projects. Be as detailed as possible about what the problems were and the circumstances surrounding them.

2. Pick your Problem

With your list in hand, identify the problem (or problems) you’d like to fix—but pick only one or two to tackle. Then, research the topic(s) to get to the root of the situation and find out what’s causing the problem.

For instance, if you had crazy algae blooms last spring, perhaps you have excess nutrients in the water that need to be removed with a filter or broken down by beneficial bacterial. If a particular fish species is exploding in your lake, maybe you need to add some predator fish to keep the numbers in check. If your water temperatures are all over the place, aerating it could help. And if the cattails have taken over, it could be time to do some weed whacking.

3. Formulate a Plan

Next, develop a doable plan—complete with easily attainable goals so you don’t get burned out or overwhelmed. Think manageable benchmarks rather than big-picture dreams.

Let’s take on algae blooms. Your action plan would include removing dead vegetation with a pond rake and cutter; adding beneficial bacteria, such as DefensePAC® (water gardens) or ClearPAC® (pond and lake), to break down detritus and subsurface nutrients; adding or cleaning your mechanical filtration system; and setting up an aeration system, like an Airmax Pond Aeration System. These are all attainable goals that don’t take too much effort when they’re laid out in such a way.

4. Act on It!

Finally, take action before it’s too late. No pressure here—but time is of the essence, particularly with pond resolutions. Small problems, like the occasional algae bloom, can quickly become big problems and may even threaten the health of your lake or pond inhabitants.

Why wait? Before the weather warms, get a jump start to the season by identifying problems, developing action plans, and readying the tools you’ll need. Then you’ll be able to get a hold of these issues before they’re in full swing so you can enjoy the season!

Pond Talk: What are your pond resolutions for the New Year?

5 Steps to Clear Water - Pond Logic® DefensePAC®

Is it too cold to treat my pond with the ClearPAC®? | Ponds & Lakes Q&A

Is it too cold to treat my pond with the ClearPAC®?

Q: Is it too cold to treat my pond with the ClearPAC®?

Karen – Goshen, IN

A: Pond Logic® ClearPAC® combines PondClear™, Algae Defense®, EcoBoost™ and Nature’s Blue™ Pond Dye to combat algae and suspended debris in your lake or pond. Some components of this super-pack have temperature limitations while others can be used year-round. Let’s take a closer look at each one.

PondClear™

Beneficial bacteria that break down muck and suspended debris, such as those found in PondClear™ and MuckAway™, can be used until water temperatures drop to 50 degrees Fahrenheit or so. Though that temperature is not a definitive cut-off point, the bacteria will become less effective due to unfavorable conditions. Bottom line: When your thermometer dips below 50 degrees, hold off until the water warms again.

Algae Defense®

This algae-destroyer can be used to treat troublesome floating filamentous algae, bottom growing chara or the planktonic algae as long as it’s green and growing, and the water temperature in your pond or lake is above 60 degrees Fahrenheit. If it’s lower than that, hold off until spring.

EcoBoost™

EcoBoost™, which is a bacteria booster rather than an actual bacteria, has no temperature restrictions so it can be used year-round to bind phosphates that find their way into your pond or lake. You can use EcoBoost™ throughout the winter to give you a head start on next season.

Pond Dye

The final ingredient in Pond Logic® ClearPAC®, Pond Dye in blue, twilight or black is not temperature-sensitive, so it can be used year-round to give your pond or lake that aesthetic appeal throughout the winter months. And if it’s getting too chilly to stand by your pond pouring in a quart of dye, try Pond Dye Packets—all you do is toss the water-soluble packet into the water and head back to your warm and toasty home!

Pond Talk: Why do you use pond dye in your pond or lake?

Enhance Water Clarity - Pond Logic® EcoBoost™

I’ve inherited an overgrown pond. How can I whip it back into shape? | Ponds & Lakes Q&A

I’ve inherited an overgrown pond. How can I whip it back into shape?

Q: I’ve inherited an overgrown pond. How can I whip it back into shape?

Kent – Maurice, LA

A: Congratulations! You just purchased your dream property with rolling fields, lush green trees and a gorgeous lake or pond – or at least that’s how you remembered it when you signed the loan documents.

But once you move in and take a closer look at the situation, you realize that gorgeous lake is an overgrown nightmare. Believe it or not, this is not an uncommon scenario. Many new land owners purchase property with a lake or a pond only to discover it hasn’t been well maintained.

Of course, you want to reclaim that overgrown pond and turn it into a useable recreation or livestock watering area, but where do you begin? Check out these six tips for whipping your lake back into shape.

1. Evaluate the Situation

Your first task is to evaluate the pond itself and record what you find. What is its size, shape and depth? Is there an abundance of weeds? Can you find an aeration system? Are there fish living in the pond? Jot down as many details as you can, because they will be important when deciding what kinds of product to use to regain control of your lake. The more you know, the better.

2. Install Aeration

Next, install an aeration system. Aeration, which circulates oxygen throughout the water column, will go a long way toward improving the health of your pond while you regain control of the habitat and work to maintain it. Plus, your fish and the natural bacteria living in the pond rely on the mechanical water turnover to replenish the oxygen supply and remove harmful gasses like ammonia.

3. Identify Weeds and Treat Them

What weeds are growing in your pond? To help you identify the greenery and determine whether they’re beneficial plants or nuisances, check out The Pond Guy® weed control guide. Once you have the plants ID’d, you can then select the proper chemicals and the right amount to handle the job. Start treating the weeds with a suitable algaecide or herbicide once your aeration system is well established.

4. Rake Out Dead Debris

Yes, it seems like a tough job, but you will need to rake out and remove dead debris, like fallen leaves, cattails and other decomposing organic materials with a weed cutter and rake, like the Pond Logic® Pond Rake and Weed Cutter. The hard work will pay off in the long run. The more large debris you remove, the less work your muck-destroying beneficial bacteria and aeration system will need to do – and the faster your pond will get back into tip-top shape.

5. Maintain, Maintain, Maintain

To keep your pond or lake on the fast track to being clean, clear and usable, you must keep up on the maintenance chores. Remove the years of pond muck buildup with natural bacteria or phosphate binder, like those found in Pond Logic® ClearPAC® PLUS pond care package. Continue to remove dead and decomposing debris as your herbicides kill nuisance weeds. Add pond dye for aesthetic appeal and to slow algae growth. Now that you have the overgrown pond under control, don’t let it get away from you!

6. Be Patient and Persistent

Despite your efforts, it will take time to reclaim your pond or lake – so be realistic about your expectations. Consider the pond’s age and the amount of debris it has accumulated over the years. If it took a decade or more for the pond to look it way it did, it will take more than one afternoon of hard work to make it pristine again! Be patient and persistent. You’ll have that gorgeous pond in no time.

Pond Talk: If you’ve purchased property with a pond or lake, what kind of condition was it in and what did you do to make it usable?

Airmax Aeration Systems - Reduce 90 Percent of Nutrients in 90 Days

What Can I Do To Reduce Or Remove Cattails From My Pond? | Ponds & Lakes Q&A

Q: What can I do to reduce or remove cattails from my pond?

Ryan – Bradford, PA

A: Cattails, when left unchecked, can proliferate and take over a pond or lake in no time. These common aquatic plants grow from 3 to 10 feet tall in dense colonies around the margins of ponds and lakes. In the spring, the green strap-like foliage grows from large, creeping, below-the-ground rhizomes. As the seasons progress, the cattail’s leaves and spikes – or the plant’s brown cylindrical flower – grow. And when the flowers open and let loose their cottony seeds, the cattails spread and propagate new plants throughout the lake.

Cattails can indeed be a nuisance. Granted, a small, managed 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.

Controlling cattails involves a simple three-step process: You’ll need to spray an herbicide to kill the plants themselves, cut the leaves and spikes down and remove them, and retreat as necessary.

Step 1: Treat the Plants

The most common way to control cattails is to apply an EPA-registered herbicide and surfactant product, like Avocet PLX, using a pressurized pond sprayer, such as the Airmax® Pond Sprayer. Read the product labels for proper dosage rates for your size lake. To treat a 2,500-square-foot area of weeds, mix 8 ounces of Avocet PLX with 1 gallon of water, pour into pond sprayer and apply onto actively growing plants and at least 18 inches above the water surface where the cattails are growing. Allow the mixture to absorb into the plant and the root system, which is the most difficult part of the plant to kill, for one to two weeks.

Step 2: Cut, Remove the Stalks

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, you should remove the stalks. Doing so prevents muck accumulation, and it also makes it easier to treat and remove new cattails in the future as they will come up between the dead stalks. Cut the stalks using the Airmax® Pond Rake and Cutter Combo or the Jenlis WeedRazer® Pro Aquatic Weed Cutter at the base of the plants, allowing for easier removal with your rake.

Step 3: Retreat as Needed

To completely eradicate cattails in a pond, this process may need to be repeated – and repeated and repeated because not all cattail roots will be killed by one treatment. But 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. Just don’t let the cattails take over again!

Pond Talk: How large of an area do you have in your lake or pond that’s devoted to cattails?

Avocet PLX - Eliminate Cattails & Phragmites

Why Does Algae Keep Growing In My Pond, Even After I Treat With Algaecides? | Ponds & Lakes Q&A

Q: Why does algae keep growing in my pond, even after I treat with algaecides?

Cathy – Bagley, WI

A: Algae seems to take on a life of its own sometimes, doesn’t it? Once that green slimy, stringy or seaweed-looking stuff crops up, it keeps growing and growing until you wind up with a messy situation in your pond or lake. Even if you treat it with algaecides, it still grows back.

Turns out that all these tiny plants need to grow is sunlight and food source – both of which are abundant during certain sunny times of year and when there’s a healthy mix of detritus built up along the bottom of the lake. To make things worse (or better for the algae!), when a pond is treated with chemicals, the process just adds dead algae to the pond, which is actually a food source for the growing algae.

Rather than battle this green monster after it has a foothold, it’s best to take a proactive approach. After you verify that you’re dealing with algae and not weeds (read here for a quick lesson on chara and other types of algae), we recommend you follow these four all-natural steps for preventing algae attacks:

1. Use Aeration: Aeration systems, like Airmax Aeration®, circulates debris that has accumulated in the lake or pond so it doesn’t settle at the bottom and become algae food. Aeration also spreads the debris throughout the water column, making it more accessible to beneficial bacteria that break it down.

2. Use Natural Bacteria: Natural beneficial bacteria, such as Pond Logic® PondClear™ Beneficial Bacteria, power through nitrates, breaking down fish waste, leaves and other organics that accumulate in the pond. This naturally improves the water clarity as the bacteria devour the sediment.

3. Use EcoBoost™: Pond Logic® EcoBoost™ Bacteria Enhancer is an innovative product that binds algae-feeding phosphates in ponds and stimulates the growth of essential beneficial bacteria, which are essential when controlling algae in your lake or pond.

4. Use Pond Dye: Because algae thrive in sunlight, Pond Dye filters those rays and stops them from reaching below the surface, thereby preventing algae from growing. Plus, the cool colors mask the soupy green hue of the algae.

We can’t guarantee your algae problem will disappear, but if you follow these steps you’ll be creating a pond that’s inhospitable to algae invaders.

Pond Talk: How have your algae blooms been this spring and summer compared to last year?

Airmax Aeration Systems - Even Ponds Need To Breathe

Should I Use Beneficial Bacteria Pond Products In The Winter? | Ponds & Lakes Q&A

Should I Use Beneficial Bacteria Pond Products In The Winter?Should I Use Beneficial Bacteria Pond Products In The Winter?

Woodrow - Burlington, WI

Most people assume bacteria are a bad thing since they’ve spent most of their lives learning to avoid it. However, bacteria can be extremely beneficial to outdoor ponds, and are even recommended for a healthy and stable pond environment. But what exactly are we referring to when we say “bacteria?”

These helpful bacteria are called aerobic bacteria, and are used to consume organic waste, turning it into an odorless gas which escapes from the pond unnoticed. They are found in both PondClear™ and MuckAway™, which aid in keeping pond water healthy, clear of debris, and fresh smelling.

Products that contain aerobic bacteria work best at temperatures above 50 degrees, which is why you would want to stop adding bacteria during the winter months. In temperatures below 50 degrees, bacteria are not as efficient and therefore are not recommended for use. So save that bacteria for warmer days, and you’ll have a healthy pond clear of unsightly muck and debris.

Pond Talk: Have you seen a reduction in muck using natural bacteria over the summer months?

Pond Logic® MuckAway™

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