BROOKVILLE – About 25 people attended a pond clinic Oct. 8 at Mick and Jenny Wilz’s Brookville farm.
Participants at the Franklin County Purdue University Cooperative Extension Service and Franklin County Soil and Water Conservation District-sponsored event received information on aquatic plant management and pond construction and design.
Joey Leach, Aquatic Control, Seymour, aquatic biologist, said there are various methods to manage the vegetation, but the first step is to “identify the different types of plants growing in your pond.
“I’m often asked, ‘Is it good to have all these plants?’ A lot of that comes down to what you use it for.” Excessive growth can hinder some recreational activities, such as swimming, fishing and boating. Persons also need to determine “what kind of control do you want? Do you want to maintain some weeds?”
He stressed, “When using chemicals, the biggest thing is you need to follow the directions on the label.” It’s also important to know what kind of restrictions there may be on the use of water treated with the herbicides. In most cases, if there are waiting periods on using the water, it has to do with fishing, livestock watering or irrigation.
Plan the timing of applications. “It’s best to start early in the season .... As you see weeds growing, use the herbicides.”
Another method of controlling aquatic plants is to use grass carp, he said. This fish eats some algae and most submerged plants. However, after a few years, it slows its feeding rate and more fish may be needed to maintain vegetation control.
Leach said hand pulling the plants and/or raking them may help, but cautioned, “This may increase the problem by fragmenting the plants” and stimulating growth.
Someone asked if using barley straw in a pond helps control the algae. This practice started over in Europe, the biologist revealed. “A group of researchers tried it ... and it worked in some ponds.” They believe “there is a fungus that grows on barley straw that secretes a chemical that goes off in the water and gets rid of algae.”