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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

I still have dead cattails standing from last year. Should I cut them down? | Pond & Lakes Q&A

I still have dead cattails standing from last year. Should I cut them down?

I still have dead cattails standing from last year. Should I cut them down?

Josh – Canton, OH

It seems not even the harsh winter winds and giant piles of snow are a match for cattails growing around your pond. After a much awaited spring thaw you may still see dead cattail reeds standing tall for all to see. Nobody wants an abundance of aquatic weeds overtaking their pond so will managing those existing cattails help you maintain your pond this season?

Cattails left in your pond throughout the season will begin to go into a state of dormancy as we head into winter. While the reed or stalk of the cattail browns out and dies the rhizome, or roots, will become inactive underground until next season. At this time the dead stalks remaining above ground will begin to decompose and add muck to the pond if not removed. To remove these dead cattails from your pond you will want to use management tools like the Weed Eradicator to cut through tough cattail reeds with ease and then use the pond rake to rake them away from the pond. Raking this debris out of the pond before it decays and turns into muck will save you the hassle of rampant algae blooms and weed growth later in the season. If you do notice an abundance of submerged debris and muck in your pond you can start using MuckAway™ or PondClear™ bacteria to help clean the pond once your water temperatures are stably around 50 degrees.

With old stalks cleared from the pond it will be easier to address any new growth that may begin in the spring. Once the cattails begin to show signs of new growth of at least 18” you can begin further treatment. To control active cattails use products like Avocet® PLX as it is absorbed by the cattail reed and delivered directly to the rhizome killing the entire plant. Once the cattail reed has become inactive and brown it will no longer act like a transport system for chemical treatments rendering them ineffective and these stalks can be cut down as well.

Not all cattail growth is bad and many pond owners use cattails to provide shade for their pond, privacy, prevent soil erosion, create fish habitat and some people even cook and eat them. If you choose to leave areas of your pond more natural make sure you mark boundaries along your shoreline to ensure you can monitor the spread of your cattails and control them as necessary.

Pond Talk: Do you leave some cattails in your pond? What do you use them for?

Clean your shorline with the weed raker and weed eradicator

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!

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?

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.

How Do I Get Rid of Muskrats? – Pond & Lake Q & A

Picture of a Muskrat

Q: How do I get rid of muskrats? They keep creating tunnels in the sides of our pond.
- Several Customers

A: Muskrats can be a huge annoyance when it comes to having a farm pond. A muskrat can lower the water level by building a tunnel from the side of the pond to a nearby ditch or by opening up veins underneath a clay base. Also, attached to this tunnel is a den for the family of muskrats which can cause unstable ground in those areas. So how do you get rid of these things? Well, there are a couple of different techniques.

1) Disrupt Their Diet: A muskrat eats aquatic vegetation like cattails, sedges, rushes, water lilies and pond weeds. In some areas it may also eat clams, mussels, snails, crayfish, small fish and frogs. Keeping your pond clear of excess vegetation such as cattails, grasses, rushes, etc will disrupt a muskrat’s diet. The best way to rid your pond of these emergent plants is to use Avocet & Cide Kick. Simply mix the two products together in a pond sprayer and spray directly on the target plants. Allow 1-2 weeks for complete control. When the plants are dead (they will turn brown) remove them with the Weed Rake & Cutter.
Dead vegetation makes a great nesting area, so be sure to remove it!

2) Disrupt Their Environment: Muskrats prefer ponds with four to six feet of still or slow-moving water. Although adding depth to pond may not be a simple option, adding an Aeration System is. An Aeration System will not only provide the circulation needed to deter muskrats but will help to disrupt their diet by reducing weed growth as well.

Muskrat Facts: The muskrat is a very good swimmer. Muskrats can stay underwater for as long as 15 minutes. In the southern states they may breed year-round. In the northern states the mating season runs from March through August. Muskrats have up to five litters a year, giving birth to up to nine young each time! The average lifespan of a muskrat in the wild is three or four years.

Controlling Cattails & Phragmites – Pond & Lake Q & A

Picture of Cattails & Phragmites

Q: How do you control emergent cattails & phragmites around my pond? -Several Customers from across the US

A: At first site, cattails and phragmites seem to add a natural look to your farm pond. But before you know it, they grow out of control and wrap around the pond causing a very unappealing look. Here are 3 Easy Steps to killing cattails, phragmites or other emergents: Spray … Cut … Remove.

1.) Spray - The best products to use to get rid of emergent weeds is the Avocet & Cide-Kick Combo. It it always best to read the product labels for dosage rates, but a great suggestion is to mix 8 oz Avocet, with 4 oz Cide-Kick, with 2 gallons of water into a pond sprayer. This recommendation will treat approximately 2,500 sq. ft. of emergent weeds. It is best to spray when cattails or phragmites are around 12″ high or taller. Before cutting and removing, it is recommended to wait a week and a half to allow the chemical to get into the root system. By not allowing this time to pass or cutting too early will allow the root system to stay alive.

2.) Cut – Use a Weed Cutter to cut at the base of the cattails/phragmites. This will allow for easier removal.

3.) Remove – Use a Pond & Beach Rake to assist in removing the of the cut cattails/phragmites.

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