The number of calls related to weed problems in ponds always increases in the hot summer months. This has certainly been the case this year. Warm temperatures have pond weeds growing like – well, WEEDS!  Here are few suggestions to help you keep pond weed issues under control or, if it’s too late for that, find more success in your control efforts.

Limit nutrients entering you pond. One of the single biggest things you can do to prevent or limit the severity of aquatic weed infestations is to limit the amount of nutrients that enter the pond. When nutrients like Nitrogen and Phosphorus are introduced to a pond plant and algal growth can increase dramatically. Nutrients can come from many sources: fertilizers applied close to the water’s edge, livestock manure, grass clippings and yard waste discarded in the pond, and fish feed are common sources of nutrients that find their way into ponds. Nutrients are often washed in via runoff from the surrounding landscape. A barrier of vegetation around the shoreline can help lessen the amount of runoff that enters the pond. Limiting the amount of nutrients available, and their ability to enter the pond will go a long way to minimize the growth of aquatic weeds.

Look out for problems. As a pond owner, you, most likely, see your pond more often than anybody else. This puts you in the best position to notice small changes. Weeds can be dealt with more easily and with with less expense, if they are addressed when the weeds are young and the infestation is small. Cleaning up a severe infestation can often get timely and costly. Management practices should quickly be applied to any new weeds that show signs of spreading. This close monitoring is also essential after problem weeds have been managed to help insure re-infestation does not occur.

Properly identify weeds.  It is unwise to take a course of action without knowing precisely what weed or weeds are there. Pond weed control is often not easy and can be quite expensive. It is not worth the risk of wasted time and money on a control plan that may or may not be effective.  Proper weed identification can help ensure that the most effective control plan and herbicide are selected.

Evaluate control options. With pond weeds, like most problems in life, you have options. For a given weed scenario there are control measures that will work well, some that won’t work at all, and many that fall somewhere in between. Control options could include physical removal of the weeds, introduction of sterile grass carp, the use of an aquatic herbicide(s), or any combination thereof.  More often than not, client recommendations regarding aquatic weed control options center on the use of aquatic herbicides. There are many products to choose from that vary considerably in their efficacy on specific weed species, price, local availability, and ease of use. Selecting the correct herbicide is crucial. Just because a product is on the shelf at the local retailer does not mean that is the best option for the situation.

Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Pond weed management can get complicated. There are resources available to assist you. There are a variety of online resources to assist with proper weed identification.  You can also contact the Madison County Extension office and we can help identify weeds and develop a plan to control them.  You can reach me at or 706-795-2281.