Agriculture News: Pond weeds in full force

By Keenan Bishop Published:

We’ve talked about how everything - be it plants, bugs or whatever - is about two to three weeks early this year. Pond weeds are no exception. Just like in pastures or yard, it helps to know who the enemy is so you can plan your attack.

The Kentucky Department of Fish & Wildlife publishes a real handy book, “A Management Guide for Ponds and Small Lakes in Kentucky.” It can be found at fw.ky.gov/pdf/farmpondbooklet.pdf. This handbook covers everything you need to know about pond management.

Chapters include: Pond Construction, Fish Stocking, Catching and Harvesting Fish from your Pond, Undesirable Species, Fish Diseases, Fish Kills, Food From Farm Ponds, Fertilization, Application of Lime, Pond Leakage, Muddy Water Conditions, Fish Attractors, Pond Nuisances, Aquatic Vegetation, Aquatic Plant Control, Biological Control & Farm Ponds for Profit.

KSU has a handy little publication too called “Aquatic Weed Control in Ponds.” Like the F&W book it has charts that show the best methods for control depending on the types of weeds you’re battling.

There are several approaches to weed control including prevention. One is to have steep pond banks so sunlight only reaches a very narrow band of the pond bottom along the edge. Excluding livestock helps maintain this. Proper turbidity (cloudiness from all the little microorganisms floating around) helps exclude sunlight too. 

Weeds can be mechanically removed by hand or with rakes, etc., but most won’t consider that option. Like with any weed that is targeted for an herbicide application, one must properly identify the family so the correct chemical can be used. One way is to refer to the handbook, another is to bring a sample to the Extension office or to Dr. Durborow at KSU robert.durborow@kysu.edu or 597-6581.

Kerry Prather, Central District Fisheries Biologist, compiled the Fish & Wildlife  handbook. Some of you may remember his talk at the South Farm Field Day a few years ago. He summarizes aquatic vegetation in “Solving Pond Problems” found at http://fw.ky.gov/sum02mg7.asp. He states:

“Owners should tolerate some plants in the pond. Plants provide cover for fish, add oxygen to the water and attract waterfowl. Control is suggested when plants cover more than 15-20 percent of a pond. Excessive plants can protect too many bluegill from bass predation, make fishing difficult and cause oxygen loss as the dead plants decay. Excessive shallow areas contribute to plant growth  – your pond may need to be deepened.

“There are four basic types of aquatic plants that require different chemical treatment and control. You’ll find these controls at farm supply stores, large nurseries or chemical suppliers. Treat about 1/3 of the pond at a time and avoid excessive treatments during the heat of the summer. Always make sure you know the kind of plant you are treating before applying any chemicals.

“Drought conditions cause aquatic vegetation problems to be at their worst. Normal rainfall can reduce problems. Most chemicals cannot be applied until the water temperature is 60 degrees. These chemicals will not hurt your fish, but fish loss may occur because of oxygen loss if you kill too many plants at one time.

“Check labels on all chemicals for restrictions. If appearance is more important than fish production, commercial dyes for water plant control, such as Aquashade and Sky Blue Lake Dye, may be used if plants are in depths greater than 2 feet. Triploid grass carp (sterile) must be purchased from a KDFWR-certified dealer.”

UK Sheeprofit Day

This event is scheduled for Thursday, May 17, at UK’s C. Oran Little Research Center in Versailles. This annual event allows you to learn about ongoing sheep research and to participate in an educational program that may help to increase productivity of your flock. A listing of UK sheep for sale and conditions for purchase are enclosed.

Those participating must adhere to the biosecurity policy at the University of Kentucky’s Animal and Food Sciences Sheep Unit. Call for the details.

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