Whether a natural or man-made lake, aquatic weeds can quickly become a nuisance, interfering with fish production, secondary water uses and recreational activities. They can also affect the ecological balance of a lake and hide its true beauty. Properly monitoring and maintaining your lake or pond can help keep weeds in check.
Establish a Baseline
Whether your lake or pond is small or large, it’s important to establish a baseline for aquatic plant and algae populations. This will help you monitor changes and anticipate when proactive maintenance is needed.
Various methods can be used to control these weeds, including herbicides and mechanical control. However, not all methods provide the same results, and it is important to implement a management strategy that is adaptive to changing conditions. Aquatic plants are divided into four groups based on their appearance: plankton (algae), floating or submerged, emergent or attached to the bottom and non-native invasives. These can include several different species of plants.
Prevent Excessive Growth
Many plants naturally grow on a lake, stream or pond. These include microscopic organisms known as plankton algae that drift suspended in the water and larger plants rooted in the bottom of the pond.
These plants provide a balance of nutrients and habitat for aquatic life. They also help a lake maintain its natural filtration and supply oxygen to fish. However, when these plants grow excessively, they become a problem. They may cause problems like clogging stormwater pond equipment or tangling fishing lines. According to weed control for lakes Florida experts, controlling these unwanted plant growths is important for a healthy and productive lake. Options to prevent and control weeds include mechanical, biological, and chemical methods. Various factors must be considered when choosing an appropriate technique, including fish production objectives, secondary water uses and cost of treatment.
Monitor Water Quality
Water quality is an important lake health component directly related to weed management. Without monitoring, it is hard to determine what plant species is taking over the lake or which nutrient is causing fish kills or algae blooms. Phosphorus is the primary limiting nutrient regulating algal and aquatic plant growth. Excess phosphorus can degrade lake clarity, increase algal blooms that discolor water and kill fish. Nitrogen is another limiting nutrient required in low concentrations to support aquatic plants. Nutrients are deposited in lake water through runoff, fertilizer and sewage.
Maintain a Healthy Ecosystem
Excessive vegetation can wreak havoc on the aquatic ecosystem of your lake or pond. It can prevent recreational activities, create an unattractive shoreline, decrease habitat value, impede water flow, and reduce fish populations.
Plants are necessary to an ecosystem, providing oxygen, stabilizing shorelines, absorbing nutrients, improving water quality, and providing food and shelter to fish and other organisms. In addition, plants also contribute to the aesthetic appeal of an environment. However, weeds can become problematic when nutrient levels in lakes increase because of human activities, such as wastewater effluent, decaying organic matter, fertilizer runoff, and animal waste. If left to grow unchecked, nuisance weeds can completely disrupt the water ecosystem, depriving fish and other animals of their essential food source. Additionally, excessive weeds can cause the water to lose its oxygen content.