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Weed Problems in Your Pond?

Date Published: September 12, 2001

Weed Problems in Your Pond?

Joe Zolczynski

Fisheries Supervisor
Spanish Fort, Alabama

Farm ponds provide fishing, boating and other outdoor opportunities for many Alabamians. Occasionally, however, an overabundance of aquatic plants may interfere with these activities and affect the aesthetic value of ponds.

When aquatic plants become too abundant, management to reduce or eliminate them may be necessary. Management for problem plants includes treatment using various EPA-approved aquatic herbicides, biological control, and mechanical control. Proper identification of the plant or plants that are causing the problem is essential before a management plan can be selected. Fisheries Biologists employed by the Alabama Division of Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries are trained to identify aquatic plants and provide management recommendations to help pond owners when a problem arises.

Our staff is small and is seldom able to visit ponds except during June and September. The best and fastest way to get a recommendation for management of a problem aquatic plant any month of the year is to mail or transport a sample to the fisheries biologist at a District Alabama Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries Office. Aquatic plants can easily be prepared for transportation or shipping using readily available household items.

Collect the problem plant from the pond, being careful to get at least one complete plant - this should include roots, stems, leaves and flowers, if present. Place the collected plant on a moist paper towel and then cover with another moist paper towel. These towels should be damp but not wet enough for water to drip from them. Seal these towels with the plant sample inside in a zip-closing plastic bag, taking care to leave some airspace in this container. Either label the bag or attach a label with the pond owner’s name, phone number, and mailing address. If you mail the sample, place the plastic bag and contents in a manila envelope prior to mailing. Bring or mail the sample to the District Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries Office in your area. Plant samples handled as described will remain in good condition for about five days. Since our staff is small, please call prior to mailing or bringing a sample so the biologist can be prepared to examine the plant sample as soon as possible after it arrives.

After the plant or plants from your pond have been identified, a Fisheries Biologist will contact you to gather information about the pond such as size, approximate percent of area covered by the plant in question, and the quantity of water flowing through the pond. The biologist will then be able to offer a management recommendation for removing or reducing the aquatic plants that are causing problems.

To locate the office that serves your area, either contact us by writing the Fisheries Section, Division of Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries, 64 North Union Street, Montgomery, Alabama 36130 or look it up on our technical staff Web page.

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