Addressing Aquatic Weeds in Your Pond

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As the fourth of July is over and warm temperatures have finally appeared, homeowners look out at their ponds and wonder what is all that green stuff? The short answer is that a variety of weeds have emerged from the heavy rains creating runoff that is nutrient rich. Combine this with warmer temperatures, and it creates the ideal environment for aquatic weeds to germinate.

However, not every aquatic plant in your pond is a “weed” and needs to be treated by chemical or environmental controls. Most aquatic growth provides valuable habitat for smaller fish and wildlife when grown in moderation. To control some of these weeds, grass carp are a great option. They provide excellent control of Chara, Sago Pondweed and others. Sadly, Grass Carp are not a silver bullet as they provide poor control of common weeds like Duckweed and Watermeal.

Depending on the size of the pond it may be possible to rake some weeds out and remove them from the pond. If using this method, you should make sure to move the weeds to an area that drains away from the pond. If put on the edge of the pond the nutrients will go back into the pond and cause another flush of growth. If you believe nutrients may be a problem in your pond you should get a pond water sample and send it off to the North Carolina Department of Agriculture (NCDA&CS). They have some great resources on how to take a sample on their website.

Properly identifying a weed is the first step and your local Extension office is always willing to assist with this. We can help identify aquatic weeds when you bring a physical sample by our office or by emailing a photo to jared_butler@ncsu.edu.

Another option for control is using a pesticide that is labeled for use in ponds. You always need to read a pesticide label before using it and be sure you wear the correct Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) that the label tells you to wear when applying and loading the chemical. As you can see, you have a few things to consider before attempting to control an undesirable aquatic plant in your pond. If you have additional questions about aquatic weeds and how to identify and treat them in your pond, please call N.C. Cooperative Extension- Lee County Center at 919-775-5624 for more information.

Jared Butler is the Agriculture Agent, Field Crops and Livestock for North Carolina Cooperative Extension in Lee County.