Algae & Weed Control
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Good Weed and Algae Control is “No Accident” By Dan Vogler
ontrolling problem aquatic weeds and algae can make the difference between having a beautiful and enjoyable pond or lake that increases your property value, and living next door to an unsightly, foul smelling swamp. The problem is there seems to be hundreds of pond products out there that claim to make your water perfect. Which ones are right for you and your pond? I’ll attempt to untangle the information about weed and algae control a bit and get you on the right track to selecting the right products in this article, but keep in mind that we are always available at Harrietta Hills to answer questions and help you get what you need to do the job. We need to understand that the myriad of products on the market represent opportunity, not necessarily confusion. But we need to recognize that all products have an area of specialization. For example, we won’t necessarily treat a Eurasian Watermilfoil problem with the same product that we would use to treat an overabundance of water lilies. Likewise, there may be circumstances in which the use of a chemical product would not be appropriate, and therefore some other method of control might be the best choice. I recommend taking the following five steps when faced with a weed or algae issue: 1. Determine the exact nature of the problem, what species of plant or type of algae are we dealing with? Knowing the exact species of plant is absolutely necessary for determining the proper type and amount of control to use. Simply throwing “something” on “some weeds” is unlikely to give you the result you hope for and could injure your pond’s ecosystem. 2. Identify your objectives for control. In other words, the amount of control that is desired will probably not be the same in a fishing lake as in a swimming area. Additionally you may want to totally eliminate some species of plants (like Eurasian Watermilfoil) and still want to maintain other species to create beneficial fish habitat. 3. Select a control method (chemical or other) that meets the objectives that you have identified and is effective for the species that you wish to control. Seek professional advice if you are unsure of what you need to do (we offer free telephone assistance and not-so-free pond-side consultation). 4. Apply chemical control materials carefully and according to label instructions. This is not a time to try the old “If one pound’s good, two must be better” method. If you are using mechanical methods of control like cutting or raking, make sure you understand
the plant species that you are working with to avoid inadvertently propagating the plant. 5. Continue to maintain your efforts, very few problems will completely “go away” in one season. Most problem weeds will require follow up. In the case of algae blooms, you will need to deal with the long term sources of pond nutrients if you wish to truly improve your situation.
By following these five steps, you should be successful at enhancing your water, whether it is pond or a section of lake front. There are many resources available to assist in plant species identification including books (we offer a good one on page 36), the internet, your local university extension office, and of course you are always welcome to give us a call. Taking the time to do this job right will pay dividends; not only in successful weed control, but also in money saved by applying the right control to the right weed at the right time in the right amount. Otherwise you may be wasting product that may not be intended for the species you wish to control, or by undertreating or over-treating and wasting material.