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The ice is finally melting and there are dead cattails and phragmites everywhere. Do I need to rake them out? | Ponds & Lakes Q&A

Q: The ice is finally melting and there are dead cattails and phragmites everywhere. Do I need to rake them out?

Q: The ice is finally melting and there are dead cattails and phragmites everywhere. Do I need to rake them out?

Dave – Gary, IN

A: What an eyesore. As the snow and ice melt, those brown, dried-up cattails and phragmites do little to enhance a landscape. They can, in fact, cause water quality and weed management problems, especially as spring approaches and those green shoots emerge from the dead growth. You need to do something about them, and here’s what we recommend.

Frosty Water

With water temperatures still on the chilly side, it’s likely too early to start treating your pond or lake with beneficial bacteria, like those found in Pond Logic® MuckAway™. Those little detritus-destroyers prefer water that’s at least 50 degrees Fahrenheit – and chances are good that it’s well below that mark (unless you’re in sunny Florida or California …). Besides, even with some oxygen-infusing aeration, it would take a long time before they would be able to decompose large cattail or phragmite stalks.

Winter Management

One option is to leave those dead weeds in the water until spring. They may attract wildlife and create an ideal home for insects, amphibians and birds – as well as small rodents and other possibly unwanted visitors that will hide out in the shoreline brush.

Right now, your best bet is to pull out your weed whacking tools and get to work.

We offer a range of cutters and rakes that’ll make the job easy. From a double-sided cutter with an 11-foot reach to a V-shaped cutter that sinks to the bottom and slices weeds at their base, these tools help you cut down those dead plants. And a rake, like one of our weed rakers, will help gather the cut stalks for easy pickup and removal.

Spring Solutions

In the spring when the water temperatures rise and the weeds start to grow again, treat them with an herbicide formulated to tackle the toughest weeds. Remember: those chemicals only work when they’re absorbed by a growing plant, so there’s no sense in using them when the cattails and phragmites are dried up and dormant.

Happy winter weeding!

Pond Talk: What features do you prefer in a weed cutter?

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Is there anything I should do for my pond/lake to prepare it for Spring? – Ponds & Lakes Q & A

Dyed Pond

Q: Is there anything I should do for my pond/lake to prepare it for Spring? – Dan in Illinois

Breaking the Ice on Your Spring Pond Projects
With the sun shining brighter than ever and the snow finally disappearing, most of us pond guys and gals are itching to throw on our waders and dive into our ponds — figuratively of course.

As the Saying Goes, “An Ounce of Prevention…”
Ok, so none of us really want to spend our spring and summer in waders pulling weeds and tending to unruly ponds. So what can you do to ensure your Winter/Spring transition is smooth and enjoyable? As the saying goes, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” This is especially true in the months to come. Following some easy procedures will keep those waders in your closest and a smile on your face.

Do Your Pre-Spring Cleaning
Walk around your pond and pick up any debris that has made its way into your yard and around your shoreline. If left to sit, this clutter will turn into a food source for algae in the spring. Cut back any weeds or unwanted vegetation growing around the pond while it is still dormant, keeping it from taking over your pond as the temperatures rise. Now is also a great time to inspect and clean your aeration system cabinet and, if the ice has already melted in your pond, the plates as well. This would be a good opportunity to move the plates back to the deeper areas of your pond for summer aeration, if you happened to move them to shallower areas during the winter.

Shaken, Not Stirred
With all of the dye, beneficial bacteria, and occasional algaecides we’ve added to our ponds over the seasons, you just may be qualified to tend a tiki bar at your pond. While your PondClear™ and EcoBoost™ get the back shelf for the winter season, you should be adding dye to your pond year-round as algae can still grow under a layer of ice in the colder months. If you have not been doing so, add your dye now to reduce the amount of sunlight available. Preventing algae growth now will keep you from fighting an algae bloom in the spring. Your PondClear™ and EcoBoost™ treatments should continue once the water temperature is above 50º F. For those of us who suffer from Duckweed, as spring approaches, you will want to have your Sonar™ A.S. on hand and ready to apply come mid-April so it has a chance to go to work and prevent weeds from growing throughout the season.

Take Inventory
Kris Kringle is not the only one checking his list twice over the winter. Pond guys and gals everywhere should be checking their remaining ClearPAC® and necessary weed control products and replenishing these items for the upcoming season. Inspect your tools and decoys to make sure they are in working condition. With everything in working order and ready to use, you are now ready for anything spring sends your way. All that’s left to do now is enjoy your pond!

POND TALK: How do you break the ice on your Spring pond projects? What do you have planned for your pond or water garden this season?