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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 Shoreline Defense®, using a pressurized pond sprayer, such as the The Pond Guy® 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 Shoreline Defense® with 2 gallons of water and 4 ounces of Treatment Booster™ Plus, 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 Weed Cutter or the Jenlis Weed Razer™ 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?

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

Does Pond Dye Have A Temperature Restriction? | Ponds & Lakes Q&A

How does ice form on a pond?

Does Pond Dye Have A Temperature Restriction?
Fred – Spring Branch, TX

While the colorant used in most pond dye is unaffected by temperature, there may be other included ingredients that suffer from diminished performance in cooler temperatures.

Pond Logic® Pond Dye & Pond Dye Packets contain food-grade dyes that can be used all year long as they are not temperature sensitive. Pond Logic® Pond Dye Plus however, contains water clarifying beneficial bacteria that become largely inactive once water temperatures drop below 50 degrees Fahrenheit. Read the product label on your pond dye to determine the best times to treat. Furthermore, store your pond dye in a temperature controlled area to prevent accidental freezing as this can negatively affect performance and potentially damage the dye container.

Pond dye can also be affected by weather conditions other than temperature. Heavy rainfall can dilute the concentration of pond dye reducing its potency in your pond. Avoid applying dye before heavy rains and maintain your desired pond color by re-applying dye every 4-6 weeks to compensate for dilution.

Pond Talk: Do you prefer to use standard pond dye or pond dye with added natural bacteria?

Pond Logic Pond Dye

Is it too cold to use bacteria? If so, is there anything else I should continue to use now? | Ponds & Lakes Q&A

Is it too cold to use bacteria? If so, is there anything else I should continue to use now?

Is it too cold to use bacteria? If so, is there anything else I should continue to use now?
Susan – Cincinnati, OH

Like lots of living creatures, beneficial bacteria appreciate a cozy, comfortable environment. And from their bacterial perspectives, water temperatures below 50 degrees Fahrenheit are no longer cozy at all. That’s why we recommend against the use of bacteria when the water falls below that threshold.

Regardless of the temperature, many pond owners enhance the beauty of their water feature with the use of our Pond Logic® Pond Dyes. These dyes are available in Nature’s Blue™, Twilight Blue™ or Black DyeMond™ colors, and are completely safe for people, pets, and aquatic life. And whether you choose to add them during winter months – or all year ‘round – they add a touch of elegance to any backyard pond.

In addition to our Pond Dyes, it’s wise to consider the use of our Pond Logic® EcoBoost™ Bacteria Enhancer. With its unique, safe formulation, EcoBoost™ binds with phosphates and other harmful toxins that can be harmful to fish and plants, and introduces more than 80 helpful trace minerals to keep water clear and healthy. While EcoBoost™ doesn’t contain bacteria, its formulation helps to make pond water safe for beneficial bacteria to thrive. We recommend its continued use until your pond freezes over – which will help to ensure a good head start when the ice goes out, and preparations begin for a new season.

Pond Talk: What maintenance do you continue to do throughout the winter months?

Pond Logic EcoBoost

It’s been cold where I live. Should I stop with my bacteria now? | Pond & Lakes Q&A

It’s been cold where I live. Should I stop with my bacteria now?

It’s been cold where I live. Should I stop with my bacteria now?
Kevin – Saugatuck, MI

In bacteria paradise, the temperature in your backyard pond would never fall below 50 degrees Fahrenheit. When water temperatures drop below 50 for any sustained period of time, the bacteria call it quits for the season.

But just because you’ve been feeling the cold for a few days, remember: it takes water longer to respond to changing temperatures. Thus, when it’s below 50 degrees outside for a lengthy stretch, your pond water may not have fallen as far – and your bacteria may be doing just fine. To get the most accurate reading you can, consider buying our Pond Logic® Floating Pond Thermometer. It’ll give you up-to-the minute readings, making it easy to monitor the health of – and the need for – your favorite bacteria.

When your pond is still in the above-50 degree range, we strongly recommend the continued use of Pond Logic® PondClear™ Beneficial Bacteria, and Pond Logic® MuckAway™ Pond Muck Reducer. These two products help to maintain healthy bacteria levels in your pond, which will help to reduce organics, excess nutrients and noxious odors, while breaking down muck and keeping your pond water clear.

Once your pond water drops below 50 degrees, you can safely suspend bacteria treatments. But when the temperatures start to rise again in the spring, be prepared to start back up – and get your pond water in great shape for another season.

Pond Talk: Do you monitor your pond’s water temperature for optimum bacteria use?

Pond Logic® MuckAway™ Pond Muck Reducer

Can I swim in the pond if I add pond dye? | Ponds & Lakes Q&A

Can I swim in the pond if I add pond dye?

Can I swim in the pond if I add pond dye?
Sarah – Reno, NV

For a lot of good reasons – beyond the fact that blue skin isn’t terribly flattering on anyone – this is a question that begs for an answer. We’ll start with the basics. At The Pond Guy®, we sell a variety of pond dyes – including Pond Logic® Nature’s Blue™, Twilight Blue™ and Black Dyemond™, and Pond Logic® Nature’s Blue™ Pond Dye PLUS and Twilight Blue™ Pond Dye PLUS which both include bacteria. For the sake of safety, all of the pond dyes we carry are food grade – which ensures that they’re safe for recreational use, including swimming. Because our dyes are food grade, even an accidental slurp of dyed pond water is no cause for concern.

Since our dyes pose no health risks to people or pets, the second line of inquiry about pond dyes usually involves the potential for staining. In its concentrated form, pond dyes will stain pretty much anything. Clothes, skin, pets, rocks – you name it. When you put a lot of dye in one place, it’s bound to leave a mark. But when applied properly in a pond, and permitted to disperse for 24 to 48 hours, dyes pose little to no risk of staining.

In the event that you or your pet come into contact with concentrated dye, there’s no need to worry. Food grade dyes pose no threat to health whatsoever – even in concentrated forms. On the downside, however, it may take a while for you to shed your new hue. Over time, dyes will fade, and your skin – or Rover’s fur – will be back to its natural tint.

Pond Talk: Do you use dye in your pond?

Pond Logic® Nature's Blue™ Pond Dye Plus

What is the difference between Pond Dye and Pond Dye Plus? | Pond & Lakes Q & A

What is the difference between Pond Dye and Pond Dye Plus?

What is the difference between Pond Dye and Pond Dye Plus?
Emma – Racine, WI

Adding pond dye to your pond maintenance regimen is a great way to keep your pond looking great all year long. The additional shade gives your pond the unique color of your choosing whether it be a decorative blue tint or a mirror like reflective surface while discouraging unwanted plant and weed growth. Pond Logic® makes a new dye called Pond Logic® Pond Dye Plus leaving pond owners everywhere wondering what all the “Plus” is about.

Aquatic weeds and algae utilize decomposing organic materials like waste, runoff, dead leaves or plant decay along with sunlight as fuel to grow and overtake your pond. Pond Logic® Pond Dye Plus combines the Nature’s Blue™ or Twilight Blue™ Pond Dye you’ve grown to love with their powerful PondClear™ Liquid Bacteria.

The bacteria added to Pond Dye Plus actually digest the mucky organic debris that has built up in your pond. This not only discourages future weed growth but also improves water clarity by removing organic floating debris that cloud up your water. By combining both dye and bacteria in one product you can effectively reduce the time you spend treating your pond, and spend more time enjoying it. PondClear is a natural product and is safe for your fish, pets, birds, wildlife, and of course yourself. The beneficial bacteria in Pond Dye Plus is most effective when your pond can maintain a water temperature of around 50 degrees or higher. If it is still a bit chilly where you live, continue to use just your Pond Dye until later in the season.

If you are new to beneficial bacteria treatments or your pond needs a little help breaking down excessive organic debris, making the upgrade to Pond Logic® Pond Dye Plus is a logical choice. If your muck situation is getting entirely out of hand or you are not a fan of using dye in your pond, Pond Logic also offers bacteria treatments without the dye in the form of Pond Logic® PondClear™ and MuckAway™.

Pond Talk: Have you tried Pond Dye Plus yet? Share your experience!

Year long pond protection!

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