Weed and Algae Management for Ponds and Lakes

Weed and algae management for ponds and lakes can be tricky. Please realize that every pond is different, and strategies should be adjusted as conditions change. So, you should use these basic strategies as a reference or example, not as a strict plan to follow regardless of the situation. Also, many of these techniques can and do impact oxygen levels in ponds. Even ponds with aeration systems can experience oxygen depletion under extreme conditions, such as very heavy weed or algae growth. However, when applied properly, these products are safe and effective and can actually help the environment more than they hurt it by improving aquatic conditions and eliminating invasive exotic species. You should always read and follow product label instructions when applying these products. Finally, laws vary from state to state regarding application of these products. If you are unsure, you should contact your states Department of Natural Resources or like agency.

Algae Control for Natural Ponds and Lakes

  1. Control external nutrient loading. For example, if you fertilize your yard, either quit or use a zero phosphorous fertilizer (middle number needs to be zero e.g. 10-0-10). Also, keep leaves, grass clippings, surface water runoff, soil erosion (especially shorelines) & animal waste (e.g. geese & farm animals in watershed area) out of pond water.
  2. Apply a Pond Dye early in season before Algae begins growing.
  3. Install a properly sized Aeration System that brings oxygen to the bottom in the deepest water during summer. A general rule is to turn over the entire water volume once every 24 hours.
  4. Apply Cutrine Plus Liquid Algaecide with a sprayer at a rate of 0.6 to 1.2 gallons per acre foot of water when algae begins to grow and water is over 60°F. Dilute 1 part Cutrine Plus to 9 parts water and spray as evenly as is practicable over the surface of the water. Warning! – Decaying algae or weeds lead to oxygen depletion, which can cause fish kills. Always read and follow product label. Start with the low rate, if results are poor, use higher rate. For resistant strains, you may need to add a Surfactant (approximately 2 or 3 ounces per gallon of spray mix) For extremely resistant strains you may need to apply 1 gallon of Cutrine Plus and 1 gallon of Reward per acre foot of water mixed with a Surfactant and water to spray evenly over surface.
  5. Algae or Chara on bottom can be controlled with 60 lbs of Cutrine Plus Granular per surface acre. Please note that Chara helps water quality by absorbing nutrients that fuel filamentous algae growth. We recommend that you only treat areas that are interfering with your water use and leave the rest be.
  6. Apply a liquid or dry granular Pond Bacteria to improve water quality and digest organic matter on the bottom. Follow product instructions and start treatments in the spring when water temps reach 55F and apply until fall when water temps drop below 55F. Please note that Pond Bacteria applications are more effective if the water is well aerated.
  7. Apply Phosphorous Binder/Remover at the rate of 20 lbs per acre foot to tie up available phosphorous and drop it to the bottom. This greatly reduces the nutrient levels of the pond. Repeat treatments may be necessary, depending on how well you eliminate the nutrient source.

Submerged Aquatic Weeds

  1. Identify weeds, including problem and non-problem species.
  2. Apply a Pond Dye early in the season before weeds proliferate.
  3. If you identify Eurasian Watermilfoil or Curly-leaf Pondweed, apply Sonar at 30ppb (about 2-1/2 ounces per acre-foot of water) in ponds with little or no flow early in the spring before weed has a chance to proliferate. It can be diluted in a 5 gallon bucket of water and spread around the pond or sprayed evenly over the surface.
  4. If you identify Coontail, native Watermilfoil or native Pondweed species, spot treat only in areas that the weeds are interfering with your water use by applying Hydrothol at the rate of 54 to 108 pounds per acre-foot. That is equivalent to using 1 to 2 pounds in an area that is 40 feet x 10 feet and 2 feet deep. Warning! - Never treat more than 10% of your pond at a time with this product. Hydrothol’s half life is 7 days, so limit applications to 10% of pond area per week. An alternative treatment is to spray Reward at the rate of 2 gallons per surface acre over areas that you wish to control the vegetation.
  5. Consider removing live or dead aquatic vegetation with an Aquatic Rake or Cutter to reduce the amount of decaying organic matter in the pond, which will reduce the nutrient level.

Duckweed & Watermeal

  1. Control nutrients as described under #1 for Algae.
  2. If you have a “small” pond, consider physically removing the Duckweed &/or Watermeal with a Duckweed Seine.
  3. Create motion in the water to deter regrowth with an Aerating Fountain or Surface Aerator.
  4. If there is no desirable vegetation in the pond that you wish to keep, you can apply Sonar at the rate of 90 ppb (about 8 ounces per acre-foot of water). Product should be diluted with enough water to facilitate even distribution via sprayer over the Duckweed & Watermeal.

Cattails and Water Lilies

  1. Wait until Cattail seed heads appear or Water Lilies blossom, but before first frost.
  2. Mix 3 oz of Shore-Klear or AquaNeat with 3 oz of Surfactant in 1 gallon of water and spray evenly over foliage that is out of the water.
  3. Wait at least 2 weeks before removing dead vegetation to allow herbicide to penetrate to roots.
For more information about weed and algae management for ponds and lakes, please contact us.