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How do I know which chemicals will treat my weeds? | Ponds & Lakes Q&A

Q: How do I know which chemicals will treat my weeds?

Q: How do I know which chemicals will treat my weeds?

Henry – Markesan, WI

A: Weeds. Whether they’re algae or submerged, floating or shoreline plants, they’re a nuisance—not to mention a potential hazard to your game fish and pond or lake health. In order to manage these green invaders, you should get to know them a little better. Don’t worry: you don’t need to be a Master Gardener to identify and treat them. Here’s all you need to know:

1. Know the Weeds

Before you start dumping chemicals on the weeds in your pond, you’ll first need to understand the different types of aquatic weeds that pop up in lakes or ponds. There are four basic categories:

  • Algae. Algae comes in three basic types: Planktonic, which causes the pea soup look in your water; filamentous, which creates blankets of stringy stuff or pond scum; and chara or muskgrass, which smells like musky garlic. When you take a closer look, these weeds have no defined root systems, unlike their other weed cousins.
  • Submerged. Submerged weeds live underwater. This group of troublemakers includes bladderwort, several types of pondweed, watermilfoil, parrot feather and hydrilla. They look like a typical plant, with leaves, stems and root systems.
  • Floating. Floating weeds generally reside in shallow water and have root systems that reach into the water or down into the soil, allowing their leaves and flowers to rise to the surface. They include watermeal, duckweed, azolla and even water lilies. When not kept in check, these floaters can take over a pond in no time.
  • Emergent. Emergent weeds live along your lake’s shoreline. These plants like to keep their feet wet; their foliage, leaves and flowers live out of water, but their root systems prefer wet, almost completely saturated soil. Emergent weeds include cattails, phragmites, purple loosestrife and bulrush.

2. ID the Weed

Once you identify the category of weed you’re dealing with, head over to our Weed Control Guide and try to match weed with the picture. For example, is it a floating plant with a root system? Then you’re dealing with a type of floating weed. Is it completely submerged? Then you’re dealing with a type of submerged weed.

Each weed included in our Weed Control Guide will describe the best treatment options to manage it. Not sure of the weed? Snap a close-up photo and e-mail it to us at pondhelp@thepondguy.com. Of course, you can always call us toll-free for advice, too, at 866-POND-HELP (766-3435)!

3. Treat the Weed

Once you’ve ID’d the weed, treat it with its appropriate herbicide, remembering to always follow label instructions when applying it to your pond or lake. If you have fish in your pond, we suggest treating in sections as sudden changes in water conditions can affect aquatic species. Treat 1/4 – 1/2 of pond at a time, while waiting 10-14 days between treatments.

4. Remove the Remains

Once the chemicals start working to kill the weeds, make sure you remove the decomposing foliage with a weed rake, like the Jenlis WeedRazer® Aquatic Weed Cutter. Why? Because anything dead will turn into muck and start the weed/algae cycle again—which is not something you want to happen, right?

Pond Talk: What tips do you have for managing aquatic weeds?

Broad Spectrum Pondweed Control - Pond Logic® Ultra PondWeed Defense®

My pond is spring fed. Does aeration do anything more for my pond than what the fresh water does? | Ponds & Lakes Q&A

Q: My pond is spring fed. Does aeration do anything more for my pond than what the fresh water does?

Q: My pond is spring fed. Does aeration do anything more for my pond than what the fresh water does?

Tom – Eden Prairie, MN

A: You gotta love a spring-fed pond. Rather than being volume-fluctuating catch basin for precipitation runoff (and pollution in some cases), it’s filled by a spring or ground water. That means the water level stays fairly consistent regardless of rainfall—and that’s a definite plus if you’re using the lake for recreation or watering livestock.

As great as they are, spring-fed ponds do have their challenges. They’re prone to thermocline, which is when water forms layers or stratifies depending on the water temperature. And even though spring water flows into the lake or pond from the underground aquifer and provides good water exchange, it is typically low in dissolved oxygen and not moving enough to circulate the water column.

Just about every pond or lake can benefit from aeration—including those that are spring fed. Here’s how an Airmax® Deep Water Aeration System can help your pond:

  • Circulates the Water: Rather than develop pockets of cold, oxygen-depleted water, a pond with an aeration system moves the water both horizontally and vertically.
  • Prevents Thermocline: During the summer in a pond that’s not properly aerated, the water at the top is warmer and full of oxygen while the deeper water remains cooler and nutrient-rich. Aeration churns the water, allowing the shallow and deep water to mix.
  • Infuses Oxygen into the Water: Your lake and its underwater inhabitants need oxygen to survive, and aeration pumps that O2 into the water while releasing dangerous gases, like ammonia, at the surface.
  • Promotes Muck Digestion: Beneficial bacteria thrive on oxygen, too, and those tiny microorganisms eat through muck and debris that has collected in your lake—ultimately creating a cleaner pond.

For those readers who have an aeration system in place but are unsure if the water is properly aerated, we suggest taking temperature readings at multiple depths and in different areas of your pond and recording any extreme variations, which indicate a lack of circulation from your aeration system.

Pond Talk: Some pond owners transform their natural springs into interesting water features, like artesian wells. Have you found a unique way to take creative advantage of the spring that feeds your pond?

Create The Perfect Pond - Airmax® Deep Water Aeration Systems

After a really warm day, I have algae floating on my pond. How do I control it? | Ponds & Lakes Q&A

Q: After a really warm day, I have algae floating on my pond. How do I control it?

Q: After a really warm day, I have algae floating on my pond. How do I control it?

Steve – Grand Rapids, MI

A: Plants in your vegetable garden love the warm sunshine—and so do the plants in your pond or lake, including algae. Warm temperatures and bright sunshine trigger green growth, so it’s critical to keep floating and submerged algae under control before it grows out of control.

Here’s what we recommend:

1. Treat the Growth

First, use an algaecide to kill the green stuff. You can treat floating algae with a fast-acting liquid spray like Pond Logic® Algae Defense® Algaecide with Treatment Booster™ PLUS, which treats algae floating around the perimeter of your pond. Simply spray it on with a pressurized sprayer to combat floating and bottom-growing algae.

Submerged algae can be treated with sinking granular products, such as Cutrine®-Plus Granular Algaecide. It works well for algae submerged deep in your pond or lake, such as Chara. It’s best distributed on a calm day via a granular spreader in the morning before mats form.

2. Remove the Dead Algae

Once the algae is dead, you should remove it. Why? Because that decomposing foliage turns into pond muck, which feeds future algae blooms throughout the season. Use a pond skimmer, like The Pond Guy® PondSkim™ Debris Skimmer, or a lake rake, like Pond Logic® Pond & Beach Rake, to prevent that muck from accumulating.

3. Add Beneficial Bacteria

Three days after you’ve used algaecides, treat your pond with PondClear™. It contains beneficial bacteria that gobbles through the organic material that’s suspended in the water column. The result is a lake filled with clean, clear, odor-free water—and a healthy ecosystem for your game fish and other pond inhabitants.

4. Shade Water with Pond Dye

Finally, be sure to add blue or black pond dye, like Pond Logic® Pond Dye, to your lake throughout the spring and summer. By reducing the amount of sunlight that shines through the water and stimulates green growth, you will ultimately reduce the amount of algae.

Pond Talk: What lakeside recreational activities do you have planned this summer?

Eliminate Algae Quickly - Pond Logic® Algae Defense® & Treatment Booster™ PLUS

After getting out of my swimming pond, I had a leech on my leg! How do I remove leeches from my pond? | Ponds & Lakes Q&A

Q: After getting out of my swimming pond, I had a leech on my leg! How do I remove leeches from my pond?

Q: After getting out of my swimming pond, I had a leech on my leg! How do I remove leeches from my pond?

Dennis – Blythewood, SC

A: There’s nothing like climbing out of your pond and finding one (or more!) of these little blood suckers stuck to your leg. What are they, and how do you banish them from your pond?

Getting to Know Leeches

Leeches are 2-inch-long brownish-black segmented worms that are a distant cousin to the earthworm. They use their suction cup-like mouths and teeth to latch on to vertebrate and invertebrate animals, feeding on their blood. Of the 700 different leech species, the majority live in freshwater environments, like your swimming pond.

Leeches love to live in the debris at the bottom of your pond. In all that muck accumulation, they get comfortable, find food and hide from predators—also known as fish—swimming overhead.

Despite their bad reputation, leeches aren’t all bad. Up until the 18th and 19th centuries, these worms had been used medicinally on humans to improve and restore blood circulation. The practice waned for a time—likely a combination of the yuck factor and modern medicine—but it’s slowing coming back into favor. In fact, Emma Parker Bowles (daughter of Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall) recently wrote about how leeches helped relieve her of debilitating migraines.

Kicking Leeches to the Curb

Unless you practice leech therapy, you probably want to evict those invertebrates from your pond. The best way to do that is to remove their preferred habitat—all the muck and debris covering the bottom of your pond. How do you do that? Here’s a four-step approach:

1. Pull Out the Debris: First, use a lake rake, like the Pond Logic® Pond & Beach Rake, to remove weeds, accumulated debris, algae, decomposing plants and muck.

2. Add Beneficial Bacteria: Next, add some beneficial bacteria, like those found in MuckAway™. The bacteria will head to the bottom of the pond and digest whatever muck remains. Remember that it will take some time to break down all that debris, so be patient.

3. Let Your Fish Do the Work: With nowhere to hide, those leeches will become tasty meals for your fish. You may even consider adding some more leech-eating fish to your pond.

4. Trap and Destroy: For those leeches that elude your finned friends, you can trap and remove them with a baited trap. Punch leech-size holes in a coffee or aluminum can, bait it with raw chicken or fish heads, and position it in a shallow area of your pond. When the worms go for the grub, they can get in but not out because the burrs from the hole punches will prevent them from escaping. Remove the can once it’s full and repeat until the leeches are gone.

If a leech latches onto you, don’t worry. In most cases, it won’t do any harm. In fact, you might not even feel it as the tiny critter injects the spot with anesthetic-anticoagulant combo while attaching itself with its suckers. You can remove a leech by breaking its suction seal with your fingernail or another blunt object, causing the worm to detach its jaws.

Pond Talk: Do you have any leech-removal tips to share?

Reduce Mucky Pond & Lake Bottoms - Pond Logic® MuckAway™

I hear about being proactive, but what are PondClear™ and MuckAway™, and how does it help my pond? | Ponds & Lakes Q&A

Q: I hear about being proactive, but what are PondClear™ and MuckAway™, and how does it help my pond?

Q: I hear about being proactive, but what are PondClear™ and MuckAway™, and how does it help my pond?

Ed – Cambridge, NY

A: Your agricultural pond or fish-filled lake faces an unseen threat: an inorganic chemical called phosphate. Found in many fertilizers used in farming applications, phosphates do wonders for helping plants to grow—but when they leech into your pond or lake after a heavy rain, they can fuel algae blooms that can ultimately do harm to your fish population, not to mention being unsightly and malodorous.

Though it may be difficult to prevent those phosphates from finding their way into your water, you can take a proactive approach to minimize the algae growth and protect your fish. This involves binding and removing the phosphates, cleaning up the water column and breaking down accumulated muck.

And that’s where EcoBoost™, PondClear™ and MuckAway™ come into play. They’re the one-two-three punch your pond needs to stay healthy.

Bind the Phosphates

EcoBoost™, which is found in ClearPAC® PLUS, grabs hold of the algae-stimulating phosphates and other suspended organics in your pond, allowing the beneficial bacteria in PondClear™ and MuckAway™ to grow and gobble through excess nutrients in the water. EcoBoost contains more than 80 trace minerals to promote fish health and fast growth, as well as helping to create clean and clear water that your finned friends will appreciate!

Clean the Water

PondClear™ is designed to clean the water from the top down. It contains beneficial bacteria that devour excess nutrients that are suspended in the water, which feed algae. The natural bacteria digest the organic debris, leaving behind water that’s clean and clear while promoting a healthy ecosystem for your lake’s inhabitants.

Remove the Muck

MuckAway™ cleans the water from the bottom up. The pellets sink to the bottom of your pond and release beneficial bacteria that eat away at any accumulated pond muck. The result is improved water clarity and reduced odor. With regular use, MuckAway™ can break down up to 5 inches of muck per year—and that means less nutrients to feed algae blooms.

Keep in mind that these products will take some time to kick in. It took a long time for the muck and debris to collect in your pond or lake, and so it won’t disappear overnight. Be patient and follow the dosage schedule, and you’ll ultimately be pleased with the results.

Pond Talk: What algae-prevention strategy do you follow?

Remove Excess Nutrients & Noxious Odros - Pond Logic® PondClear™

I love the look of a fountain but does it provide sufficient aeration for my pond? | Ponds & Lakes Q&A

Q: I love the look of a fountain but does it provide sufficient aeration for my pond?

Q: I love the look of a fountain but does it provide sufficient aeration for my pond?

John – Wapakoneta, OH

A: Sitting out on the deck and viewing a beautiful fountain display as well as hear that relaxing sound of water is pond enjoyment to us. Having a fountain in your pond is a great way to add tranquility to your home. What more could you ask for?

Many people are drawn to a fountain’s show-stopping appeal, but will they aerate a pond as well? The answer to this really depends on a couple factors: the pond’s depth and the type of fountain pattern.

Pond Depth: Fountains can be great aerators when the pond has less than 6′ of depth. The reason for this is because the best way to aerate is to circulate the whole body of water at the same time. A fountain will only draw water from the top of the water column, which is water that already contains oxygen from the air to water oxygen transfer. The pond’s bottom will remain untouched if it is deeper than 6′. If your pond is less than 6′ deep, then all you have to worry about is the spray pattern.

Fountain Spray Pattern: The spray pattern of a fountain makes a huge difference in how much aeration is produced. Usually the more decorative the spray pattern, the less likely it is to aerate your pond properly. This is because more energy is spent on creating the decorative pattern than there is moving the water. The best spray pattern to use for a fountain is a “V” patterned fountain like the Kasco VFX series fountain.

Because of the varying fountain choices there are some rules of thumb to go by. When using a fountain for aeration purposes, you want around 1.5HP per acre. If using a fountain only for decoration, go for 1 HP per acre.

If your pond is deeper than 6′ of depth, than the best method of aeration is an Airmax® Aeration System. The Airmax® Aeration System will pump air to the diffuser plate located at the bottom of the pond, and the resulting column of rising bubbles lifts and aerates the water. By starting from the bottom, this will ensure that the whole body of water is properly circulated as well as aerated. Airmax® Aeration Systems have lower operating costs than running a fountain 24-7.

Pond Talk: What type of aeration system do you have?

Add Serenity & Beauty To Your Pond - Kasco VFX Series Fountains

Now that temperatures are getting warmer, algae keeps growing. How do I stop algae from taking over? | Ponds & Lakes Q&A

Q: Now that temperatures are getting warmer, algae keeps growing. How do I stop algae from taking over?

Q: Now that temperatures are getting warmer, algae keeps growing. How do I stop algae from taking over?

Jeremy – Clinton, IA

A: It sure doesn’t take much for algae to grow out of control! Combine warm sunshine with some algae-loving nutrients and, before long, you’ll have a pond full of pea soup. When it’s thick and dense, those tiny plants can then suck all the oxygen from the water, leaving your fish gasping for air. Plus, it looks bad and can cause some major stink.

For the health of your fish and your lake, you must regain control. Here’s a two-pronged approach that works to eliminate the green stuff and prevent it from taking over.

TREAT THE GROWTH

First, you need to get rid of the algae blooms. For floating algae and chara that’s less than 3 feet deep, use Algae Defense®. The aquatic algaecide comes in a fast-acting liquid formula that can be directly applied to your lake with a pressurized sprayer. If you’re dealing with chara that’s deeper than 3 feet, use Cutrine®-Plus. Its granular formula sinks to the bottom of your lake and destroys the algae.

Once the algaecides start working to kill the blooms, don’t forget to remove dead algae from the pond with a tool like the Pond Rake. If you leave the dead foliage in the lake, will start to break down and become nutrients—or algae food—for new blooms. It’s a vicious cycle!

TREAT THE SOURCE

Now that you’ve got the algae under control, it’s time to get proactive and prevent its future growth. Begin by adding PondClear™ & MuckAway™. These products contain beneficial bacteria that gobble through excess nutrients like suspended organic waste and muck in your pond. The result: Clean and clear water with no noxious odors.

Next, shade the water with pond dye. By preventing the sun’s rays from penetrating the water, you’ll starve the algae of sunlight, which it needs to thrive.

ONE-STOP SHOPPING

Looking for an easy solution? Check out the ClearPAC® PLUS. This all-in-one algae destroyer contains everything you’ll need to kill the algae and prevent future growth. It contains algaecide, beneficial bacteria and pond dye to fight algae and suspended debris all season long.

Pond Talk: How do you prevent excess nutrients from entering your pond or lake?

Eliminate Algae Quickly - Pond Logic® Algae Defense® & Treatment Booster™ PLUS Combo

I think I have duckweed or watermeal. How do I know? And how do I treat it? | Ponds & Lakes Q&A

Q: I think I have duckweed or watermeal. How do I know? And how do I treat it?

Q: I think I have duckweed or watermeal. How do I know? And how do I treat it?

Richard – Fishers, IN

A: Duckweed and watermeal are both pond pests. Dense colonies of these prolific plants can completely cover the surface of a lake or fish pond, causing dissolved oxygen depletions and fish kills. These tiny invaders need to be managed before they take over.

But before you control them, you need to get to know them. Let’s meet these troublemakers.

Watermeal

The smallest seed-bearing plants in the world, watermeal is a very tiny (less than 1 millimeter) light green free-floating rootless plant that resembles green cornmeal. They prefer quiet water that’s undisturbed by waves, and they’re often associated with colonies of duckweed and mosquito fern (azzola). Unchecked, these plants can be aggressive invaders.

Duckweed

Duckweed is another very small light green free-floating plant, but unlike watermeal, duckweed has a single root and one to three leaves, or fronds, that measure 1/16- to 1/8-inch long. Like watermeal, duckweed tends to grow in dense colonies in quiet water that’s undisturbed by wave action. Duckweed colonies provide habitat for micro invertebrates, but if it completely covers the surface of a pond for an extended period, it will cause oxygen depletions. As its name implies, duckweed is often gobbled by ducks, which also transport it to other bodies of water but you cannot count them for keeping the weed in control.

Stop the Invasion!

To control these aquatic bad guys, you’ll need a herbicide. Clipper™ and Ultra PondWeed Defense® are both selective plant killers that will attack watermeal and duckweed. They’re a short-term solution for both—be sure to apply as directed.

For long-term control of duckweed, you’ll need something a bit stronger. We recommend Sonar™ A.S.. It’s formulated to control stubborn aquatic weeds all season long. Don’t forget to add pond dye, it protects the Sonar™ A.S. from being quickly degraded by the sun.

Pond Talk: Tell us about your experiences with duckweed and watermeal. Do you have any additional management tips to share?

Deliver Fast & Selective Control Of Weeds - Valent® Clipper™ Aquatic Herbicide

My fish population is growing rapidly, but how do I know if my fish population is balanced? | Ponds & Lakes Q&A

: My fish population is growing rapidly, but how do I know if my fish population is balanced?

Q: My fish population is growing rapidly, but how do I know if my fish population is balanced?

Dennis – Rock Island, IL

A: A balanced fish population in your pond is key for a healthy, thriving ecosystem. The best way to start figuring out your fish population is to know what you already have in your pond.

Start by sampling the population you already have by using a fish trap, or fishing out a sample population of fish and inspecting them for size and type.

Next, figure what might be needed to keep the population in check if something is out of balance. When sampling, if you notice you are only pulling out prey fish such as bluegill or perch, then your pond is either on the verge or already overpopulated with prey fish. To keep them in check, either fish out the prey fish or add more predators such as bass. Conversely, if you are only pulling out small bass, then your pond is in need of stocking prey fish.

If your pond is balanced, you should notice a population of fish relatively the same size, and the ideal ratio of about three prey fish to one predator fish.

When introducing the right balance, be sure there is a safe habitat for the fish, especially if you are introducing small fish with an already present population of larger fish. The Porcupine Fish Attractor Spheres are perfect for this. Release feeder minnows at one end of the pond to attract larger fish and introduce new, small fish at the other end or near a habitat so they have a chance to hide in the pond. Feeder minnows should be stocked every season as they provide good stock food for larger fish, and they reproduce quickly to maintain a living food source.

Pond Talk: How often do you check your predator:prey ratio in your pond?

Provide Refuge And Attract Fish - Porcupine Fish Attractors Spheres

Four Handy Pond Tools to Keep Around | Ponds & Lakes Q&A

Four Handy Pond Tools to Keep Around

Four Handy Pond Tools to Keep Around

Who doesn’t love tools? They’re cool to look at, fun to play with – and, the best part, they help make chores easy. When it comes to maintaining your pond or lake, tools of all shapes and sizes will come in very handy, particularly these four must-haves, below.

Pond Rake

A pond rake pulls, gathers and removes dead debris from the surface or the bottom of a pond.

Debris on the surface of a pond, like algae or fallen leaves, can sink to the bottom and start to decay, adding to the muck and detritus that’s already there. All that debris degrades water quality, compromises fish health, provides a nutrient source for nuisance plants, and can even affect chemical treatments’ ability to work.

A floating/sub-surface pond rake, like the Pond Logic® Pond and Beach Rake, or a sub-surface pond rake, like the Jenlis Weed Raker™, lends a long helping hand. Elongated by rope so you can easily get the deep-water growth, both rakes work by removing submerged lake and pond weeds by their roots, slowing their spread.

Weed Cutter

A weed cutter, like the Pond Logic® Weed Cutter and the Jenlis WeedRazer®, mechanically slices through weeds at their stems so they can then be raked out.

The 28-inch, double-sided Pond Logic® Weed Cutter features a two-piece, rust-proof, powder-coated aluminum handle that’s 11 feet long. It’s great for removing floating aquatic vegetation, marginal weeds and cattails that extend past the pond’s edge.

The V-shaped Jenlis WeedRazer® clears a 4-foot-wide path in pond weeds by sinking to the bottom and slicing through submerged weeds like watermilfoil, cattails and lily pads as you pull it across the pond. The razor-sharp tool weighs just 8 pounds, making it light enough to toss 30 feet or more yet heavy enough to sink straight to the bottom.

Sprayer

A sprayer makes pond chemical application easy. Most liquid chemicals are more effective when they’re sprayed over the target weed, and a tank sprayer, like The Pond Guy® Specialty Pond Sprayer, is designed just for this purpose. The 2.75-gallon pond tool features a wide-mouth fill top that minimizes accidental spills, a brass corrosive-resistant handle, and a high-pressure tank that allows you to spray hard-to-reach weeds.

Invest in a separate sprayer just for pond chemicals. If you use lawn and garden chemicals in the same sprayer that you use on your pond, doing so can be toxic to fish and other aquatic life as residue could be left behind. Keep your fish and pond plants healthy and happy: Use a different tool for the job.

Granular Spreader

The final must-have tool is a granular spreader, which helps you disperse granular herbicides evenly over your target area – and that means a more effective weed kill-off. The rust-proof Earthway® Granular Hand Spreader holds 10 pounds of material in a large hopper and features an application adjuster that lets you control how much product is released with its smooth-action hand crank.

Pond Talk: If you could only have one pond-care tool in your toolbox, what would it be? Why?

Remove Weeds & Debris - Pond Logic® Pond Rake & Weed Cutter

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