Pond Floating

By · Tuesday, January 13th, 2009

Pond Floating

Probably the most frequently asked question in the industry for managing the lake is "What is that ugly, unpleasant future growth in the pond, and what ever return? "The answer to that question ninety percent of the time is" is algae, "and most of the time, is what we refer to as "filamentous algae."

There are many different species of filamentous algae, but all have a similar appearance and growth habit. These colonies algae begin to grow in late winter and early spring at the bottom of the lagoon, as warmer temperatures and sunlight to activate the spores and cells survivors. Most of the filamentous algae growth begins in less than 3 feet of water where sunlight penetrates to the bottom of the pond. The growth of algae is sometimes referred to like a flower "because the algae grow so quickly. In the case of filamentous algae, cells reproduce and bind in long hair like strands or colonies that grow toward the surface. In mid-summer, these areas form large mats that trap gases and float to the surface. These floating mats that normally begin to appear in early summer and late summer, you can cover the pond. Most forms of filamentous algae prefer stagnant, nutrient-rich warm water conditions found in many ponds and lakes in the southeast.

All types of algae are important to the pond and lake ecology, because serve as food sources for protozoa, insects and fish, however, filamentous algae often reach nuisance levels. Its abundant growth may lead to a series of management problems, including aesthetics, swimming discomfort and interference with fishing. Abundant algae can also cause fish kills in summer and fall, as the dying algae consumes the oxygen in pond water. Where algae levels interfere with the uses of the pond and goals, different control strategies can be used to prevent or reduce the growth of algae.

Any growth of overabundant plants is a symptom of excess nutrients (phosphorus and nitrogen). These nutrients are essential parts of most fertilizers, which through runoff from yards, fields, septic systems, lawns, golf courses and greatly increase the high levels of nutrients that exist in our ponds and lakes today. Long-term control of filamentous algae and aquatic plants is best achieved by reducing or redirecting nutrient sources of ponds and lakes. This can be done by reducing fertilizer applications near of the lake, maintaining septic systems properly, the reorientation of nutrient-rich runoff away from the lagoon, and maintenance of vegetative buffer strips around your pond or lake.

Randy Bolin writes articles for Virginia Lake Management, which provides lake maintenance services for businesses and residence complexes.

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