5 Preventative Measures to Control Aquatic Vegetation in Your Pond

A beautiful, healthy pond is a source of enjoyment, but it can also host a variety of thriving plant and fish life. Several types of aquatic vegetation, however, are either detrimental to the overall well-being of a pond or do not provide any aesthetic value. The following information describes five preventative measures to control aquatic vegetation in your pond.
1. Control Water Levels
Water levels in a pond can be adjusted to reduce the growth of certain plants. The Virginia Cooperative Extension states that pond drawdown done during the winter months can effectively reduce or eliminate plant species such as cattails, since it exposes vegetation to freezing temperatures and strong winds. Make sure the bottom of the pond freezes at least 4 inches deep for several weeks to eliminate all unwanted vegetation. Remove any exposed plants when water levels are lowered because the dying plants could promote new growth when levels are raised.
2. Fertilize Properly
Different types of fertilizer can sometimes be used to control or eliminate vegetation growth. However, you must remember to properly identify all plant species growing in the pond beforehand. Clemson Cooperative Extension says that pond owners sometimes make the mistake of only fertilizing a few times instead of continuing the process. Not carrying through with enough fertilization for the right types of vegetation could ultimately contribute to the excessive growth of undesirable types of vegetation. It should also be noted that over fertilizing, especially with the wrong products, can also contribute to the excessive growth of unwanted pond vegetation.
3. Implement Correct Pond Construction
Pond construction can play a vital role in preventing a variety of vegetation from ever becoming a problem. Water that is shallow, clear and warm is conducive to most types of plants; ponds should be at least 3 feet deep, preferably 6 or 7 feet at the deeper levels. As you build the pond, make sure that the banks are steeply sloped to help prevent vegetation from taking root. A pond should also be constructed with good water flow. Water that doesn’t circulate well may become stagnant, increasing the chance of undesirable plant growth.
4. Mechanical Control
Mechanical control involves pulling plants out manually as well as using cutters, rakes and motor-driven weed harvesters. According to Purdue University, when using this method you must make sure the cut vegetation is taken completely out of the water. New plants will likely grow if any fragments are left behind. Most mechanical methods are considered short-term and will likely only affect certain areas of the pond; they are also more labor intensive than most other methods.
5. Chemical Control
A variety of chemicals can be used to control vegetation in a pond, but care must be taken to choose herbicides that only kill the destructive types of vegetation and don’t harm fish or other productive plant life. When implementing this method, consult with a professional to make sure the right chemicals are used for the specific vegetation in each pond. Chemical dyes can also be used that limit the amount of light that penetrates the water. The lack of light can reduce the growth of certain plant species.
The method that works best will depend on the size, location and type of aquatic life in your pond. You may find it necessary to seek professional assistance to adequately remove all undesirable vegetation. Coastal Spray provides a variety of industrial and professional services, including aquatic vegetation control, and they offer state-of-the art equipment, licensed applicators and over 20 years of experience. Contact Coastal Spray for more information.