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I thought I did a successful chemical treatment, but why are the weeds coming back? | Ponds & Lakes Q&A

Q: I thought I did a successful chemical treatment, but why are the weeds coming back?

Q: I thought I did a successful chemical treatment, but why are the weeds coming back?

Barney – Andalusia, AL

A: Treating weeds is a tricky task. Despite dosing them with aquatic herbicides to clear your pond or lake of plant pests, they seem to grow back over and over again. It seems like a never-ending cycle! Why does this happen?

Well, chemical treatments have their benefits and drawbacks: On one hand, they work great as a quick fix to decimate actively growing weeds. But once those plants die, they become a food source for future weeds and algae, acting as a fertilizer for the very things you’re trying to get rid of. The herbicides do nothing to prevent future growth, and so you’re left with yet another growth spurt of pond weeds, which you’ll then treat with chemical herbicides – and around you’ll go again.

So how do you break the cycle? Here is a four-step approach that will help put an end to it.

  1. Remove the Dead Weeds: Once the weeds have browned, use a Pond & Beach Rake or PondSkim™ Debris Skimmer to remove as much dead material from the water as possible. This prevents dead plant material and muck from accumulating and fertilizing future weed growth.
  2. Be Proactive: Debris will still find its way into your pond, so add some beneficial bacteria to the water to manage the excess nutrients before they feed your weeds. The products found in the ClearPAC® Plus Pond Care Packages – including PondClear™ and EcoBoost™ for suspended debris, and MuckAway™ for accumulated bottom-of-the-pond debris – naturally break down that organic material.
  3. Add Aeration: If you don’t have one already, install a Airmax® Aeration System that’s sized for your pond or lake. By circulating and adding oxygen to the water column, the beneficial bacteria will thrive. In turn, they’ll eat through even more debris and prevent weed and algae growth.
  4. Shade and Color:  Pond Dye is another offensive tactic in your battle against aquatic weeds. Pond dye shades the water, preventing ultraviolet light from reaching the plants.

Throughout the spring and summer, weeds will grow. But with some pond management practices, you can keep those pesky plants to a minimum.

Pond Talk: How often do you treat your pond or lake for weeds?

Skim Dead Algae & Vegetation - The Pond Guy(r) Pond & Beach Rake


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3 Responses

  1. it’s been more than a few years since I’ve gotten into my half acre pond and pulled out the reeds. That was always the best line of defense and I wanted to do it myself so I could control a nice but healthy line of cat tails for the aquatic life, the fish, the frogs, and their own natural beauty. What stopped me was when I saw a snapping turtle on my deck and talked about it here on this blog. Even tho everyone urged me that the turtle wouldn’t bother me, I didn’t want to swim in my beautiful pond anymore. A friend came by recently and told me he saw a “juvenile” in the pond, a baby snapping turtle. Now I am terrified of getting in and dealing with those cat tails which are taking over. Suppose I reach in and pull them out and the turtle gets angry and gets my hand? I don’t know if snapping turtles stay close to the shoreline — maybe they like to hang out in those cat tails for all I know. I do not want to use chemicals of any kind — very few are approved by New York State standards and even the pond dyes are scrutinized. I just ordered a little canvas boat to get around but I still have to physically reach in that water and pull those cat tails out!!! Wish me luck . . .

    • Hi Silvia – You may want to consider using a weed razer and rake. This would still allow you to manually control the cattails by cutting the chosen ones below the water’s surface and then rake them out without having to get your hands in the water. I don’t believe the snapping turtle would chase you down to “attack” you just for being in the water but you may want to try rustling the cattails first to see if there is any movement so you don’t catch one by surprise at close range. Good luck!

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