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Weed Problems in Your Ponds?

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Weed Problems in Your Pond?

Joe Zolczynski
Fisheries Supervisor
Spanish Fort, Alabama

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Powhatan Boat Ramp on Bankhead Reservoir 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 Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries Division 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. Aquatic plants can be identified using our on-line guide to aquatic plants or a sample of the problem plant can be mailed or transported to a District Alabama Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries Office. Watch videos about this.

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.

Videos about aquatic weed problems may viewed.  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.

Fishing with a few weeds is okay.
Article published September 12, 2001, updated in 2013

Auburn University staff will also identify your aquatic weed.


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©2008 Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources   |   64 N. Union Street, Suite 468 - Montgomery, Alabama 36130