Farm Talk

Ag News from Around the Country

March 1, 2011

Address small pond problems before they get big

Parsons, Kansas — Managing ponds is a lot like doing laundry in the sense that if you do not keep up with it, you could be overwhelmed.

“The answer to managing a pond weed problem is not finding the right herbicide to kill the weed,” said Marley Beem, Oklahoma State University Cooperative Extension aquaculture specialist. “The key is staying ahead of a weed problem so you aren’t blindsided.”

Knowing the common plants in the pond is the first step to staying ahead of potential problems.

“Keep track of the amount of the pond that is covered by each plant and how much it is increasing each year,” Beem said.

Also, ponds which are too shallow, are vulnerable to plant growth, so knowing the shape and depth of the pond bottom is essential.

“Most ponds will benefit from having deeper edges and 3:1 slopes on their shorelines,” said Beem. “Shallow areas less than 3.5 feet will naturally grow up in emergent aquatic plants.”

Droughts can be good opportunities to deepen the shallow areas. Finally, Beem suggests getting to know the pond’s watershed. If there are sources of nutrients in the area that fills with rainfall runoff, pondowners can expect excess plant and algae growth.

“The most common nutrient sources are over-fertilized lawns and livestock holding areas. Work to reduce the amount of lawn fertilizers being applied by having soil tests done to determine actual nutrient need,” said Beem. “Relocate livestock holding and feeding areas, or see if it‘s practical to build a diversion terrace to direct runoff away from the pond.”

The frustration of a weedy pond can be avoided if you catch the problem in the early stages and take action before the problem is full blown. Fact Sheets are available at www.osufacts. okstate.edu.

Pondowners can also contact their local County Extension educator with questions or concerns.

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