Best Practices for Managing Aquatic Vegetation

By Pond King

A common scenario Pond King Biologists see year after year is that weeds have overtaken a pond to a point where it constrains access. If this is the case in your pond, what should you do? How do you get started with lake or pond weed control?

Lake and Pond Weed Control

The following are three steps Pond King Biologists suggest to get your vegetation management back on track:

1. Weed Identification: What kind of weeds do you have in your pond/lake?

There are many sources of information on the web to help you determine what type of vegetation is growing in your pond. At times, the easiest way to confirm a species is to take some pictures using your phone and send those pictures to Pond King Biologists, to have an expert help you identify them.

Pond Weed Identification

Some common pond weeds include filamentous algae, American pondweed, bushy pondweed, lily pads, and cattails. Properly identifying your nuisance aquatic weeds is critical to treating them for removal. Visit our blog Aquatic Weed Control for Lakes and Ponds for more on identification. 

2. Three main practices of weed removal

Once you have identified the problem species, there are 3 main practices to help you get rid of the weeds:

Chemical Weed Control

There is a chemical best suited to help you control particular species. Aquatic chemicals are quite selective, so using the correct chemical at the right dosage will increase the effectiveness of this control method.

Chemical Weed Control for Ponds (Spray)

Always utilize the recommended treatment guidelines on the package as a starting point. It is better to under-treat than to over-treat, and create more problems.

Biological Weed Control

Triploid Grass Carp and Mozambique Tilapia are two species of fish that can be stocked to help control your vegetation problems. Triploid Grass Carp help control submerged leafy pondweed over many years. As they grow older and become larger, they are able to consume more of the weeds. Triploid Grass Carp typically grow very large and provide up to 10 -13 years of biological vegetation control.

Triploid Grass Carp require a special permit in Texas before they can be legally purchased. The permit is obtained from Texas Parks and Wildlife. It is a straightforward and easy process. Mozambique Tilapia consume filamentous algae and small floating vegetation such as Duckweed. Over population is not a concern, as they cannot survive water temperatures less than 55 degrees (Fahrenheit). Currently, Mozambique Tilapia can be purchased without a permit. The best time to stock Mozambique Tilapia is early in the spring once water temperatures in local ponds have increased above 60 degrees.

Mechanical Weed Control

This method may provide the fastest results, but it is also the least effective. Whether pulling out by hand or with the help of heavy equipment, most weeds can reestablish quickly through remaining plant fragments, roots, or seeds. Pond King Biologists seldom recommend this practice.

3. How can I prevent these weeds from coming back?

You spent time and effort to get to the point where vegetation/weeds are under control. Now, how do you prevent that same situation from recurring? Fertilization in early spring—before weeds become established—will help control vegetation throughout the season.

How can I prevent these weeds from coming back?

Fertilization helps by producing a phytoplankton bloom, which gives the water a greenish color, which reduces the amount of sunlight that can penetrate to the bottom of the pond. This deprives aquatic plants of the primary resource needed for growth and therefore restricts the amount of growth that can occur within the season. Aquatic dyes are another option, and function in a similar fashion to that of lake fertilization—without the other benefits of lake fertilization.

All of these lake and pond weed control methods are effective; you just need to figure out which one works best for you. Pond King lake & pond maintenance plans are a good way to guarantee your pond is clear of weeds and fish-able year round! 

Tags: Pond Management

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