Thursday, July 5, 2012

2012 drought will have long-term impact on ponds

See the attached link that quotes Indiana State University Professor Rusty Gosner.

Pond health is dependent upon good water depth.  Using products such as the Pond2O Bio with BioStart Technology is just one method of reducing the amount of muck and sludge that is filling in small slow moving farm ponds.  Biological enzymes are working to eat the layer of decaying materials and add years of life to your body of water.  It is kind of like the “fountain of youth”.  Ponds, as they age, begin to fill themselves in with decaying plant, animal and fish materials.  It is a natural progression of ecology.  During the summer, water in the ponds stratifies horizontally. The very bottom layer is the coolest more dense water with the little or no oxygen. The middle area is the most oxygenated water and is a little lighter.  This is the area the fish need to be in to survive. The top layer of water is the warmest and lightest with a low oxygen level also.  As water warms throughout the summer, that center level gets squeezed and becomes shorter or smaller and provides less area for fish to survive and be healthy.  Why is this important?
This is the perfect storm for a “pond turnover”.  That term refers to the heavy water on the bottom of the pond being displaced by colder water – it then mixes that non-oxygenated bottom water into the middle fish populated area.  This happens usually in July or August after the conditions are similar to the ones we are seeing at this time. When we do get a cool rain, that rain water is cooler than the pond water and creates the “pond turnover” effect.  Large fish require more oxygen than do small fish.  Therefore the large fish are the first to succumb to this mixing effect and loss of oxygen. Many times it will be massive losses of fish in a pond which is alarming as well as once they start decaying it can become a health hazard.  Once these fish die and decay, they become part of that muck layer and therefore creating the perfect storm for more problems down the road.
This effect is alleviated by wind action blowing across the surface of a pond creating some mixing of the pond waters. External aeration is an effective way to ensure the water will not stratify and create the conditions for a Pond turnover.  Being pro-active with maintenance of your pond will keep your waterscape beautiful even in challenging conditions.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Keepin' the Ole Swimmin' Hole Clean

The water has warmed up enough to tempt all of us to want to jump right in the Ole Swimming Hole on a hot day after baling hay, mowing grass or putting down the mulch.  However, when you get to the edge of the water and big hunks of green algae are floating on top of the water we may all change our minds.
The algae on the top started out by forming on the bottom of the pond in the shallow areas less than 4’ deep.  Once the algae starts to grow, it produces oxygen and on clear sunny days it will move to the surface of the water.  Once at the surface, it is blown to the shore with the prevailing winds.   Removal can be made by raking algae off the surface or by treating the algae with a form of copper (POND2O Algae kill –liquid copper sulfate with a stabilizer – or copper sulfate granules) and a Sodium Carbonate peroxyhydrate,   like Green Clean Pro ; Green Clean Algaecide.
 The copper can be in a liquid or a solid form but copper is a contact killer. The Copper must come in contact with the algae to kill.  The copper sulfate particles will usually settle through the water column and once they get to the bottom they will tie up with the soil and muck on the bottom of the pond and be of no further effect against algae in the water column or on the surface. It is extremely important not to kill weeds/algae in more than a quarter of the surface of the pond at one time.  As the weeds/algae die –their decomposition reduces the amount of oxygen in the water, causing stress or death larger fish.  The Green Clean product will not harm KOI or gold fish – has no residual but do add some oxygenation to the body of water while it is killing the algae. Read all labels completely before using these products.
Rules of thumb:
KEEP THE WATER DYED for prevention of sunlight getting to the bottom of the pond. Weeds/algae don’t grow in the dark.
DO NOT KILL MORE THAT ¼ OF THE SURFACE OF THE POND once the water temperature is about 68 degrees.  Plant decomposition reduces the oxygen in the water column.
USE AN AERATOR SYSTEM for a healthy body of water.  If there is a great deal of Sludge on the bottom of the pond you may want to only run it for a couple of hours each day for the 1st week or 2 until some of the loose muck is dissolved.   After 2 weeks run the unit 24 hours a day
KILL ROOTED WEEDS WHILE THEY ARE SMALL.  Less stress on the pond environment and less herbicide will be required.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Beneficial Bacteria Treatment for Ponds

As ponds age, nutrients enter the water through many different forms:  fish waste, run off of fertilizers, decaying leaves and other organic matter such as algae and aquatic plants.  After a few years, unless there is a good balance of bacteria to consume or use up many of these nutrients, with good oxygen levels and water movement, a layer of muck or sludge begins to form in the bottom of the pond. 
All ponds contain beneficial bacteria that consume organic debris, but some ponds have such an overload of nutrients that the natural bacteria can’t keep up with the debris load.   The debris load is usually referred to as a muck or sludge layer.  Introduction of additional cold and warm water bacteria into the pond will enhance the natural bacteria and provide a reduction of this muck layer. 
These are all good bacteria that do not require any water restrictions – they will enhance the water used for irrigation of turf and ornamental plantings.  Pond2O Bio products contain cold and warm water strains of bacteria along with a 1st generation food source to “jump start” the bacteria as soon as it is introduced into the water column.  This product can be added to ponds all year round.  The most optimum time for the bacteria to flourish and work on the existing sludge layer is when water temperatures are between 48 and 95 degrees.  Initial applications of this type of product would be every 30 days – after the layer has been reduced applications should be approximately every 60 – 90 days.  Water columns will begin to clear up and algae blooms should decrease as the food source or muck layer is reduced.  Aeration with underwater bubblers or fountains will greatly enhance the bacteria activity by adding additional oxygen to the water column preventing stratification and stagnation of the pond water.
It should be noted that the bacteria will consume many herbicides also.  Therefore, other than the algae treatment, bacteria treatment should be suspended for 30 days after herbicide application to allow the herbicide to fully perform.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Weed Issues

Identify the weeds to be controlled – There are many resources including the Internet.  Note how the leaves are arranged on the stems, the fruiting bodies (if there are any), and if it is rooted and stays submerged, or if it is rooted with emergent growth.
Aquatic growth falls into different categories and helps to define the type of weed and how to treat that weed.
Algae: String algae, planktonic and a rooted algae like chara. Resistant strains of algae such as Pithophora and Lyngbya.
Treatment method:  Difficult strains of algae can be attacked by tank mixing 1 part Pond2O Submerge Weed Control (diquat) with 1 part Pond2O Algae Treatment (liquid copper w/stabitrol) and applying at the rate of 2 gallons of mix in sufficient water to cover 1 acre, 1 foot deep – or 1 acre/foot.
Floating Plants:  Duckweed, Water meal, Water Hyacinth, Yellow & White Water Lilly and Watershield.
Submerged : rooted weeds:  Pond weed- several varieties including Sago, American and Curley leaf, Eurasian water milfoil,  Star grass, Naiad, Hydrilla and Elodea to name a few.
Submerged – Non rooted: Coontail is a submersed plant without roots.
Emergent/Shoreline Weeds: Cattails, Spike and Bull Rush, Purple loosestrife, Water primrose, Knotweed, Arrowhead and Water willow.
Timing is important to get good results with any method of treatment that is used.  Young actively growing plants will respond much better to herbicide treatments than older well established weed problems.
Be proactive and keep your waterscape looking beautiful with Pond 2O Aquatic Products.