When Not To Treat Your Pond Algae And Weed Problems

This has been an amazing summer in terms of weather conditions. I don’t remember one with more hot and humid days and around the country, the heat has really been a challenge to deal with.

Many ponds that normally would look pretty good, turned into green swampy settings that would drive any pond owner crazy. No one can blame them for wanting to get things cleared up, but in truth, it isn’t always as simple as treating the issue and hoping it will go away.

Many pond owners might not think of this, but there is actually a good time to treat a weed or algae problem, and there are times when you might be best to leave things alone.

I always suggest that any plant growth issue be treated as early as possible and in fact, it’s not a bad idea when it comes to algae to try and get ahead of it. This means beginning a bacteria routine in the spring time and keeping it going at least until you get into the main algae season. The idea is to lower nutrients enough in the water to where algae simply won’t grow well.

Aquatic weeds are a little different in that you may need to wait until they begin to show up and then deal with them. Still, the best idea is to treat them in the very early stages of their growth. The plants are more vulnerable at that time and you can often find them in lower amounts, meaning that you often won’t need to use as much chemical to deal with the problem, and that’s always a good thing.

In most cases, you can safely treat an algae or weed problem during most of the summer months as long as you have good aeration running in the pond. Without this, the whole effort get’s a little more dicey if you have fish in the pond. You see, when algae or weeds die off in a pond they will pull oxygen from the water. They in fact do this on a daily basis too…adding some oxygen during the day and then pulling it during the night.

What you want to avoid though is this massive, all-at-once dieoff where a lot of plant growth is killed at one time. This can dramatically affect oxygen levels in the water and cause major issues for fish. I talk a bit more about this in this recent pond tip.

So is there a time when you wouldn’t want to treat a problem in your pond?

I would say yes.

If an algae or weed problem as been going on for some time and you decide you might finally want to do something about it, and the temperatures are really hot, and have been for awhile, it might be best to hold off until the weather cools down. It always needs to be remembered too that once we start heading into the fall months around most of the U.S. many of these growth problems will go away anyway. It’s probably better then to simply be ready next spring to proactively deal with the problems.

The one caveat to this is that it always needs to be remembered that beneficial bacteria isn’t simply a way to work on pond algae control issues. The truth is that the main reason it’s had success it helping with algae problems is that it works at a very base level, helping to clean up a pond from the organic elements that ultimately feed algae growth. By reducing these, and literally, cleaning the pond, it negatively affects algae that may exist, or come in the future. So on ponds that have a history of algae issues, we often suggest pond owners even treat their ponds in the fall months. There is usually a carryover of this work and the positive affects into the next season.

6 Responses to When Not To Treat Your Pond Algae And Weed Problems

  1. lreed September 7, 2010 at 7:13 pm #

    Not an algae issue, just a question I can’t find on your search. I am moving in the next two weeks and will be digging a new pond to move my fish. It will be about 6′ X 2′ deep. I have all bait goldfish. Most are about two inches, a couple of 7″ and about 25 to 30 babies. About 50 fish total. Is there anything special I should do to the water other than give it time for the chlorine to go away before I put my fish in the new pond? Thanks for any help.

  2. JennyY September 7, 2010 at 7:27 pm #

    Great post! My pond is looking great so far, but I have question about ducks. Are ducks bad, or good for ponds? Is there a specific measurement of pond size/number of ducks that is beneficial, while above that would be a problem? Thanks!

  3. tcllamas September 7, 2010 at 7:56 pm #

    Hi Mark,
    We were really patting ourselves on the back earlier in the spring/summer, because for the first time in 4 years, we didn’t have an algae problem. We’ve been using the bacteria for a couple of years, but this year we got started early and dosed the pond every 2 weeks with 1 and 1/2 times the recommended rate. We also put up the “not welcome” sign to the Canada geese (a coyote decoy did the trick). Then a few weeks ago, BAM. We discovered that we have a huge weed problem. The 1/2 acre pond is completely covered in hydrilla or elodea, I can’t tell the difference. Can you advise on a solution. I hesitate to use herbicides, because we have a lot of decorative plants along the edges of the pond that I don’t want to damage. We have applied for a permit to have Grass Carp. I’m hope to get a few this fall. Do you think that they will help?

  4. steve September 7, 2010 at 11:59 pm #

    Each morning when I go out to my pond there is a green alge cover on most of the pond area. By noon its disapperaed but returns the next morning. I ve tried barley straw and barley extract but the issue doesnt go away….

  5. KoiLover September 9, 2010 at 1:34 am #

    Maybe may pond experience will be helpful to other pond owners. Last fall we purchased an aerator pump, so none of our fish would die due to lack of oxygen, when the pond freezes over. Worked out well, all fish were accounted for in the spring.
    We have a man-made pond with a rubber liner, holds between 400 and 450 gallons. Came with the house when we purchased it 5 years ago. Made the usual mistakes…
    This spring, I tried “Green Clean” and Barley and Peat Extract. Was not impressed by the results. However, “Green Clean” works well with bird baths and water fountains.
    Decided to try beneficial bacteria. I used it exactly as instructed on the bottle. For good measure, I added a mini bale of barley straw. I also have 2 Pondmaster 1000 filters. In the summer, I clean the filter pads faithfully every day. And of course, water hyacinths are essential.
    Despite the very hot weather, I had clear water all summer long! A couple of times when my fish seemed sort of sluggish, I added the aerator pump for a day or so. Seemed to fix the problem.
    Three years ago, our 4 goldfish added 4 more to the pond. Last week, I discovered 5 baby fish! By the looks of them, our 4 kois had something to do with it this time. They sure don’t look like goldfish.
    For those who had water problems, algae etc., maybe beneficial bacteria is for your pond!

  6. Mark September 9, 2010 at 3:41 pm #

    Sorry guys…lots of catch up to do here.

    Ireed…not really other than to dechlorinate and add some bacteria. Since you may be moving into cooler weather get an all temp formula and it should help the pond stay cleaner.

    Jenny…ducks are both good and bad I guess. I think they’re great to have around but they can create a lot of waste…as do geese. I personally don’t know of an acceptable ratio. For now I guess I would enjoy them and see how things go, but then I’m a nature freak at heart:)

    Donna…I emailed you as well but I like the idea of grass carp…once they get older, they can help a lot with certain weed types. I wouldn’t treat now (fall) anyway but watch for regrowth in the spring. If you see it, tackle it early and with a targeted approach.

    Steve…barley may work well as a retardant, but not usually a treatment. I normally would look at beneficial bacteria if there is some aeration in the pond, that might help too.

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