Spring has sprung finally, after winter released its grip. The grass is growing, trees are blooming, and the fish are spawning. Yep nature’s life cycle has begun its normal routine, including those dreaded aquatic weeds.
They start out small and unnoticeable until you go out to fish your favorite spot and it’s inaccessible. The algae and weeds have taken over; casting is a bear, almost impossible to land your favorite fish without being entangled with some form of vegetation.
Seems like a never-ending onslaught of weeds year in and out. The plants life cycle coupled with the right environment makes for a formidable foe. Emerged aquatic plants reproduce by being pollinated by bees, air, or insects. Submerged plants that do not flower must produce by releasing gametes. Understanding the life cycle of the plant, identifying the species allows for determining what control needs to be used.
Fisheries biologist when identifying aquatic weeds, classifying their presence in relation to the water level—emerged, submerged, floating, and algae.
- Emerged vegetation grows in shallow water with leaves or stems above the water
- Submerged vegetation grows in deeper water and is entirely below the water level.
- Floating vegetation sits on top of the water, not rooted and moves with wave action
- Algae are a cellular weed, no leaves or stem. Commonly referred to as pond scum or rock snot.
Proper identification will determine the control methods that will be used. The following are common methods:
- Mechanical control includes prevention nets, raking, cutting, mowing, and pulling unwanted weeds.
- Biological control of weeds is accomplished by using fish, animals, insects, or microbes to manage weeds: control is seen over a long period of time.
- Draw down is effective on submerged weeds, is effective by drying out or freezing the weeds, which is normally done during the winter months.
- Chemical control the most commonly used, effective, and economical. Current herbicides produce longer results if done properly and can be used in target areas. Resulting in non-target areas not affected by herbicide exposure. Herbicide is based upon weed identification and goals for the lake or pond.
Proper education about the aquatic vegetation in your pond will lead to better understanding of how to manage and control undesired species of vegetation. Majority of undesirable weeds are the ones that prevent you from enjoying your pond, the rest are beneficial.
If you need assistance on identifying your weed(s) there are options:
- Talk to your neighbors.
- Contact local College or University
- Contact your local extension agent or Fish and Game
- Contact the nearest Pond Expert.
Joshua Flowers | Fisheries Biologist