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How Do I Deter Herons From My Water Feature? – Water Feature Q & A

Picture of a heron catching a koi

Water Feature Q & A

Q: I have a hungry heron visiting my pond. What can I do besides a net? P.S. Is it legal to shoot a heron in the state of Virginia? – Earl of Virginia

A: A fish lovers nightmare…the heron! Ever wake up in the morning, walk out to your water feature with a cup of coffee (or orange juice for you non-coffee drinkers) and discover a heron eating one of your precious koi (see left)? Your heart begins to race and your not sure what to do, you grab the nearest broom and charge out to the heron like there’s no tomorrow! Are you tired of this? Well here are a couple of options for deterring and protecting your fish.

The Motion Activated Scarecrow: This motion-sensored sprinkler is a great way to deter not only herons but other predators as well. The sprinkler simply hooks up to a garden hose and is triggered by motion. There is a dial on the sprinkler that adjusts the sensitivity. When a heron/predator approaches sensor, it shoots a 3-second burst of water up to 180 degrees.

Pros: Extremely effective throughout the season. Can be easy blended into your water feature.

Cons: The Scarecrow doesn’t know the difference between a heron and a person so be prepared to dodge the spray!

Great Blue Heron Decoy:
Herons are very territory birds. When flying over head, if a heron sees another heron they will deter and go elsewhere. This life-like decoy, when placed next to your water feature, will do just that. We highly recommend to move them every couple of days. This will help prevent the heron from figuring out the decoy.

Pros: Effective when moved around. Adds a nice touch of nature to any water feature.

Cons: Cannot be placed outside during mating season (March-May) for obvious reasons. Once a heron has already established your water feature as its territory it becomes harder for the decoy to be effective.

Can you shoot a heron?:
Although they can be a pest, Great Blue Herons are protected under federal law. It is illegal to shoot them in the US.

How Do I Treat for Chara/Algae? – Pond & Lake Q & A

Picture of a bed of chara/algae

Pond & Lake Q & A

Q: How do I get rid of a chara infestation?
– Dave of Ohio

A: During the early beginnings of spring have you ever took that first stroll around the pond and discovered an awful musky smell that filled the air? That smell is chara, and it seems to take off like a wildfire during the early spring. Did you know that if you rake it out before treating it, you risk spreading it even more! So what do you do? The proper way to get rid of chara is the following:

First: Treat the chara using an algaecide
Since chara is a form of algae, using an algaecide such as Algae Defense® or Clipper™ is a great way to treat for the chara. Algae Defense® is best used when there are no koi, goldfish or trout in the pond. All other fish are fine. Also there are no water use restrictions with Algae Defense®. If your pond does contain koi, goldfish or trout then using Clipper™ is the way to go. The only downside with Clipper™ are its water use restrictions. Read more about those restrictions here.

Second: Wait 10 to 14 Days
The important step here is the wait the 10 to 14 days to make sure the chara has died from the algaecide treatment. Like I mentioned eariler, if you rake while the chara is still alive, it can spread.

Third & Final: Rake out the chara
Use the The Pond Guy® Pond & Beach Rake to rake out the chara from the pond. The Pond & Beach Rake includes a 25′ rope so you can throw the rake out into the pond and tug it in. I would rake the same area 2 or 3 times to make sure you removed all of the chara. Chara, fortunately is very easy to rake off of the bottom.

The other hidden benefit of raking chara, is the removal of the black muck on the bottom of the pond. This muck is a nutrient source for weeds and algae so removing it will help you that much more at maintaining the pond. Once finished with the raking, using MuckAway™ Pellets will help breakdown any future muck that may accumulate.