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How do I know if my pond is covered in pollen or algae? | Ponds & Lakes Q&A

Q: How do I know if my pond is covered in pollen or algae?

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 …

TEXTURE

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.

COLOR

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!

IT’S ELEMENTARY!

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?

Add Movement & Drama To Your Pond - Kasco Decorative Fountain

Algae, Pollen or Both? | Ponds & Lakes Q&A

Algae, Pollen or Both?

Ah, spring. As the days get longer and the temperatures get warmer, trees and plants start flowering – which mean two things to pond and lake owners: algae blooms and pollen spores.

When those sneeze-triggering spores start flying and land on your lake’s surface, giving it a bright green, yellow or white oil slick-like appearance, it can be hard to tell whether you’re dealing with a troublesome algae bloom, a layer of pollen or a combo of them both.

A case like this calls for a little detective work, starting with a primer on algae types.

Know Your Algae

Planktonic Algae – the source of algae blooms, are floating, microscopic plants that color pond water shades of green, blue-green, brown or variations in between. In controlled amounts, this type of algae can actually be beneficial. It’s considered the start of the pond food chain as the tiny plants feed fish inhabitants, and it can also shade the pond’s bottom, preventing subsurface nuisance plants from growing. In uncontrolled amounts, however, planktonic algae can cause oxygen depletions and fish kill.

Filamentous Algae – single-celled plants that form long, visible chain, threads or filaments. These threads, which start growing along the bottom of the lake in shallow water or on rocks or other aquatic plants, intertwine and form mats that resemble wet wool. When these mats rise to the surface, they’re commonly referred to as pond scum. These mats make great homes for micro- and macro-invertebrates, like bugs and worms, but they’re also unsightly and can affect the oxygen levels and fish health in your lake.

Pollen Versus Algae

Unlike planktonic or filamentous algae, pollen simply settles on the water surface, creating an oil slick-like appearance on the lake or pond. When you run your fingers over a pollen-covered body of water, the green, yellow or white material will break apart. That doesn’t happen with algae. Instead, the tiny planktonic algae remains suspended in the water, while the filamentous algae can actually be grabbed and pulled out.

Clearing Things Up

The good news is that water circulation with a decorative fountain, such as Kasco’s 1/4HP Decorative Fountain, and subsurface aeration, such as an Airmax Aeration System, will help remedy both the algae and pollen situations. The movement of the water breaks up the pollen layer and it will eventually go away. If your lake or pond has a significant algae bloom, you may need to treat the water with an algaecide, like Pond Logic Algae Defense.

Pond Talk: What have you found to be the best way to manage algae in your lake or pond?

Kasco Decorative Fountains - Sound, Beauty & Aeration

There is an Oil Slick Film Covering My Pond. How Do I Get Rid of It? – Pond & Lake Q & A

Algae, Duckweed, Watermeal & Pollen Identification

Q: There is a brown rust-like film/oil slick covering my pond. Do you have an idea what this might be and how to get rid of it? - Several Customers

A: There are several things this could be: Algae, duckweed, watermeal or pollen.

Determining if Algae is a Problem: Filamentous Algae will float around the pond’s edges in mats while Planktonic Algae will make the whole body of water to look like a “pea soup” green color. If this is the case, using Algae Defense® Algaecide will provide quick control. Follow up with PondClear™ for long-term clear water.

Determining if Duckweed or Watermeal is the Problem: Duckweed and Watermeal are very rapid growers and will cover an entire pond if they get out of control. Looking to the pictures to the left, you can see that Duckweed is a small plant the size of a pencil eraser, while Watermeal is about the size of the tip of a pencil. If you determine that you have Duckweed or Watermeal. Your only long-term option is Sonar™ A.S. for Duckweed and Clipper™ for Watermeal. If you only require short-term control (3-4 weeks) for an event or party Ultra PondWeed Defense®” may be used.

Determining if Pollen is the Problem: What may look like a greenish, brownish algae, may actually be pollen. Pollen may even cause an oil-slick or film on the surface of the pond. There is no magic product that will give you a quick fix. Many times a heavy rain will settle it to the bottom. In many cases if your pond receives good circulation from an aerator or fountain you will not see pollen becoming much of a problem.

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