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My water garden doesn’t ice over, but the water gets cold. Can I still use barley extract during the winter? | Decorative Ponds & Water Gardens Q & A

Q: My water garden doesn’t ice over, but the water gets cold. Can I still use barley extract during the winter?

Q: My water garden doesn’t ice over, but the water gets cold. Can I still use barley extract during the winter?

Mary – Marietta, GA

A:  Barley straw is effective stuff. It’s an all-natural, chemical-free option for keeping pond water clear. And the best part? The temperature-tolerant natural pond treatment can be used year-round—even if your pond’s water gets cold.

Ever wonder how this seemingly innocuous bale of dried barley straw works? Read on to learn more.

It’s Science!

Though researchers have yet to precisely pinpoint how barley straw works, it’s generally believed that as a barley straw bale breaks down in water, it produces and releases many chemical compounds—and one of them may promote clearer pond water.

It has not been found to harm fish, water fowl or pond inhabitants in any way and, in fact, some studies suggest the straw benefits fish health.

Pond Particulars

When using barley straw in a water garden or backyard pond, forward-thinking hobbyists originally placed bales of it in their waterfall filter boxes, skimmers or waterfall areas where it would decompose. Things have sure changed! Those unwieldy bales have since been replaced by compressed, easy-to-use pellets and barley extract, which is basically the good stuff in a bottle.

If you’re thinking about using barley straw in your water garden, you have more options than ever. Check out these four popular methods:

  • Barley Straw Bales: Typically available loose in a mesh bag, small bales of barley straw can be placed in the pond several months before pond clarity issues are expected to occur (around March or April, depending on your climate) as the straw must start to decompose before it releases it’s special compunds. In a 1,000-gallon pond, 1 pounds of barley straw is needed, but it should be replaced every four to six months. Keep the straw well-aerated, floating it near your waterfall or stream or in shallow water. Don’t leave it in your pond beyond its prime time, however, because it can eventually become a nutrient source for algae.
  • Barley Pellets: Compressed into a compact form, Barley Straw Pellets also contain all the beneficial substances found in barley straw without the unsightly look of bales, pillows or pads. The pellets may also buffer pH and control alkalinity in your pond. A 6-pound bag will treat an 800-gallon pond for up to six months; a 12-pound bag will treat a 1,600-gallon pond for up to six months.
  • Barley Extract: Offering the benefits of barley straw without the mess or unsightly bale floating in your pond, Barley Straw Extract contains those beneficial substances in liquid form. Because you don’t have to wait for the barley straw to decompose, it goes to work on contact. An 8-ounce container treats up to 4,000 gallons for three months; a 16-ounce bottle treats up to 8,000 gallons for three months.
  • Seasonal Defense®: Seasonal Defense® gives you the power of activated barley straw with an additional punch of natural bacteria in one simple treatment. Used when water temperatures drop below 50°F, Seasonal Defense® helps break down muck caused by leaves, scum and sediment.

No matter what form you choose, barley straw extract is a good tool to keep in your water garden tool chest. It’s an effective solution you’ll use all year round.

Pond Talk: Have you used barley straw extract in your pond? Were you satisfied with the results?

Benefits Of Barley Without The Mess - Pond Logic® Barley Extract

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

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

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

Steve – Denham Springs, LA

A: The Pond Logic® ClearPAC® and ClearPAC® PLUS combine PondClear™, Algae Defense®, EcoBoost™ and Nature’s Blue™ Pond Dye to combat algae and suspended debris and beautify 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™ (and MuckAway™)

Beneficial bacteria that break down muck and suspended debris, such as those found in PondClear™ (and MuckAway™ in ClearPAC® PLUS), can be used when water temperatures rise to more than 50° Fahrenheit or so. Though that temperature is not a definitive starting point, the bacteria will become more effective as the temperatures rise. Bottom line: When your underwater thermometer tops 50°, it’s time to start treating your pond or lake with ClearPAC®.

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° Fahrenheit.


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 spring to give you a head start on pond season.

Pond Dye

The final ingredient in the Pond Logic® ClearPAC®, Nature’s Blue™ Pond Dye, 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 spring storms are preventing you from standing next to 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: What changes do you have planned for your fish pond or lake this year?

Eliminate The Guesswork - Pond Logic® ClearPAC® PLUS

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™

All-Natural Algae Control with Barley Straw Extract – Water Garden Q & A

Barley Straw & Barley Straw Extract

Q: I have heard that barley straw will control algae. Is this true? Also I have noticed a product on the market called barley straw extract. Why can’t I just use a bale of barley straw? – Samantha of California

A: Barley Straw has been known for a long time to help in the control of algae. The concept is that as the straw decays, a chemical is released that will reduce algae growth. The problem with using actual Barley Straw is that it takes up to 8 weeks for the straw to decay and begin to work. It also “decays”, which means it puts nutrients back into the pond that will cause future algae growth.

We strongly recommend using an extract (liquid) such as Barley Straw Extract. The extract is the by product of rotting barley straw. This starts to work on contact instead of having to wait weeks for the straw to decay. It also will not contribute to the nutrient load and is all-natural and safe.

Another great benefit of using the Barley Straw Extract product is that it contains muck & sludge reducing bacteria.


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