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Do you have weeds growing in your pond?Would you like to know how to get rid of the weeds?Then the Clemson Extension Office in your county can help.If you have a pond, you understand the severity in which pond weeds can rapidly establish in still water.Each year throughout the Southeast, local, state and federal government agencies spend millions of dollars controlling aquatic weeds in public waterways. Aquatic weeds are capable of forming very dense mats that are so thick that boat engines are choked down and unable to traverse waterways.In Lancaster and the surrounding counties, there are several weeds that we commonly see during the growing season in ponds. Pondweeds (Potamogeton) are the most common submerged weed, followed closely by Naiads (Najas). These weeds are entirely underwater and form very dense mats that can make canoeing and fishing impossible, too. On the surface of the ponds, we typically find several different forms of algae. Typically, we find filamentous algae, which forms bright to dark green net-like mats. These mats may be more than an acre in size and more than 1-foot thick. Other plant species we commonly see in ponds are rooted on the bottom of the pond and emerge through the water surface.Plants like Parrot-feather (Myriophyllum aquaticum) typically occur in shallow water particularly near banks. Parrot-feather may form dense mats like the other plants hindering fishing, canoeing and other activities.Methods of controlAquatic weeds can be controlled by a variety of means.Weeds can be manually removed from the pond using a rake or chain.They can be controlled by stocking tri-ploid grass carp or by using herbicides. Effective aquatic weed control programs typically incorporate several, or all of these methods.The use of herbicides to control aquatic weeds is commonly used because it offers a fast removal of weeds with very little labor.However, before using a herbicide, it’s important to identify the plant species growing in the pond.There are several aquatic weed identification books available to help pinpoint the species you have.You can also search the Internet to find the identity of many of the common species.Another alternative is to bring a sample of the weed to your local Clemson Extension office.However, if you bring a weedsample into the office, keep the plant in a jar or cooler filled with water.This protects the plant and makes it easier for us to identify. Once you have a positive identification of the plant, you can choose and apply an appropriately-labeled herbicide to treat that particular species.This is another area where Clemson Extension can help.As you begin to take control of the weeds in your pond, there are a few things to remember:– Properly identify the weeds you are treating – Never use a product that is not labeled for treating the weed species in your pond.– Read the herbicide label first – Make sure to follow all manufacturer’s directions whenever you apply any type of herbicide.– Using a combination of weed control methods – This offers the greatest success for weed control in a pond.– Consult with your local Clemson Extension agent – We can help with any pond questions that you may have.For more information on pond weeds, contact the Lancaster County Clemson Extension Office (107 S. French St.) at 283-3302.
– Cory Heaton is an agricultural/natural resources expert for Clemson Extension Service.