How can I keep weeds out of my pond?

crazychickens

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I have never posted a pic before so, I dont know if it worked.

I have a large pond, in the summer it get so full of weeds that a fish hook cant get through the weeds and we cant swim in it. Because we eat the bass and our dogs swim in it everyday in the summer, I dont think weed killer would be best. The rake method wont work either because, the pond is to deep.

Anyone have any idea's?
 

patandchickens

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First, you have to stop and think, what are my realistic alternatives here. The weeds are there because there are X amount of nutrients in the pond just waitin' to be taken up by some sort of green growing thing. Those nutrients can be taken up by submerged pondweeds. They can be taken up by floating weeds such as waterlily or duckweed. Or they can be taken up by green algae in the water (the ones that turn it into pea soup). Unfortunately, rooted plants around the edge of the pond, such as cattails, do not take up very much of their nutrients from the water, so they're not real relevant here.

Thus, given the amount of nutrients you happen to have in your water, your choices are basically: the way things are now, or covered in duckweed, or stinkin' pea-green algal soup.

Personally I would recommend sticking with what you've got now ;) I fyou want a clear area to swim in, use a rake (for deeper areas, you can rig things to pull w/chains from shore, or rake onto a boat although that is tres tedious) and just keep at it whenever it starts to grow back in again.

Anything you can do to reduce nutrient inputs to the pond will help limit weed growth. That means, do not fertilize around it, or anywhere the runoff can get into the pond. And make sure it stays well aerated in the summer -- I don't know how deep your pond is, but if it is not real deep and gets pretty hot in the summer, the lower layer of water can run out of oxygen which causes phosphorus to re-dissolve out of the sediments, whereupon it promotes plant or algae growth. A little bubbler pump or windmill type thingamajig can help keep the bottom from stratifying out and running out of oxygen.

If despite the above you are really certain you want to get rid of the pond weeds, see if grass carp are legal in your state, and if so get an appropriate number (probably just a couple for your size pond). They will eat the weeds. You will be left with a muddy bottomed pond that strongly resembles pea soup and has a tendency to become stenchy in summer and possibly cause swimmers itch. Enjoy it if that's what you want ;P

A blanket of duckweed will also kill off the pondweeds, at least to a large degree. But you SURE won't want to swim in THAT, and it is incredibly hard to get rid of duckweed. Even if you have ducks <g>

Good luck,

Pat, aquatic biologist in former life :)
 

whatnow?

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Pat is right on, here. I've heard this question many times from frustrated pond owners. Sometimes the answer lies in something as simple as fixing the clothes washer so it doesn't discharge into the pond. ;) Nutrient loading is the key, if you feed them, they will come.

WI has a great DNR with lots of technical resources (we use them in PA)... they are a great resource for plant communities appropriate for your pond.

http://dnr.wi.gov/forestry/Usesof/bmp/bmpwetlands-menu.htm
 

crazychickens

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Thanks for all the info.

I know, I cant get rid of ALL the weeds, though that would be a dream come true. :lol: I have found a couple options, barley, it has to be put on the pond before the weeds get full grown grown or they have this stuff that is poured into the pond and turns the pond a odd shade of blue/green. Both are said to make it harder for weeds to grow. Ever heard of this?

I'm worried about messing up some weird balance, then ending up with, a stinky, odd colored, pond full of rotten hay like stuff.

I'm going to take a look at the DNR wedsite and see what they say.
 

patandchickens

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Anything you do to reduce the growth rate of the pondweeds will just leave more nutrients in the water available to support the growth of algae, either the hairy slimy stuff or the pea-soup stuff.

I would really suggest doing what you can to limit nutrient inputs and then leaving well enough alone ;)

(edited to add: I have heard of using barley, no personal knowledge of it though; the other stuff is copper sulfate, and will screw your pond up much more than it is PLUS you could not pay me enough to swim in a copper-sulfated pond. Both will still cause the problem described above, ie. freeing up nutrients for algae to use, although with copper sulfate you won't get an algal bloom til the copper sulfate 'wears off' somewhat).

Pat
 

crazychickens

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Well my dogs, the fish, the very loud mating ducks and deer, dont seam to mind the weeds so, Ill just leave it alone and get a membership to the town pool.

It's nice to look out the window and see the animals enjoying it.
 

silkiechicken

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Know nothing of ponds, but is it plausable to "harvest" the greens from the pond thus removing the organic matter and use it somewhere else like your compost so you can grow stuff out of it on land? That way over time, there will be less nutrients in the pond and fewer weeds because you took them for your own use?
 

whatnow?

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On a related note, in an effort to reduce abnormal nutrient loading in streams, current maintenance recommendations for stormwater detention basins is to harvest all vegetation which is cut during normal mowing and weed cutting operations. Can you imagine the look on the faces of municipal and DOT employees who use flail mowers and brush mowers to cut? What, can't you just jump off the tractor and start raking? :lol: You could hear a pin drop in the silence after the gasps and groans. I suppose the next move is to make sure that the basins are planted with grasses that can be baled. :rolleyes:
 

PennyinOk

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over a decade ago my mom and dads pond was getting overrun with cattails and such we bought my parents two sterile carp and their pong is all cleaned up to this day.:)
 

patandchickens

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Silkiechicken, the thing is she said she didn't want to do mechanical removal :) While it does do a bit of good in some cases, it's usually not dramatic, and in some cases actually makes things worse because of stirring up sediments. (Soluble phosphorus which was buried in sediments gets churned up and although it will re-oxidize and become insoluble in the presence of oxygen, in reality a lot of the influx of soluble P will quickly get taken up by algae and plants to spur further growth).

Grass carp will eat bottom plants, but if your parents' pond is *clear* rather than pea-soupy, PennyinOK, it was not a very high-nutrient pond to begin with ;) Grass carp usually change ponds from clear with vegetation to vegetation-free but real murky.

Pat
 

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