When we think about pests in our environment we tend to think of insects, weeds, or diseases on the ground, in the trees, or in our garden; we don’t usually think about pests in our ponds. There is a whole different world of pests that live in water. Often our first encounter with aquatic pests are weeds in our ponds.
Aquatic weed pest management begins before the problem arises though by taking an integrated approach. First, monitor the pond on a regular basis by walking around and observing if and where weeds are present. Second, keep the area clean and clear of equipment, animals etc. that may harbor weeds and allow them to move around the vicinity. Finally, if a weed issue arises, be prepared to suppress the weeds through biological, mechanical, cultural and/or chemical control.
If you choose to control the weeds biologically, then perhaps the best method (as stated before) is to stock grass carp on a 1 in 3 year rotation to ensure that you have a steady supply of weed eaters in your pond. Not all weeds may be controlled by carp so it is important to get information before making this choice. A cultural and mechanical approach to removing weeds from your pond is to physically remove the weeds out of the water. Finally if all else fails, you can turn to chemical control.
Before you purchase aquatic herbicides, you need to know what type of weeds you have and which herbicides work best on them. If ever in doubt, please call the N.C. Cooperative Extension office at: (919)775-5624 and I will be more than happy to assist in identifying the weeds and making a herbicide recommendation.
If you follow an integrated approach to controlling aquatic weeds then you are sure to have a beautiful lush pond or lake site that you will be able to enjoy for years to come.
Kim Tungate, N.C. Cooperative Extension Ag Agent, Lee County