Aquatic Vegetation Management
Aquatic plants fulfill many natural functions and are vital in aquatic and wetland environments. Some aquatic plants are desirable and serve as food sources for waterfowl and other wildlife, habitat for fish, and a substrate and food source for invertebrates (such as insects and snails). Some plants may become too plentiful and interfere with fishing, swimming, and boating in private ponds and lakes.
Many plant species should be controlled only when they become pests by interfering with the preferred use of a particular pond or lake. Others, particularly nonnative species, must be dealt with when they first appear.
Prevention should always be your first action, if practical, since it is usually easier and cheaper to prevent an aquatic weed problem than it is to cure one. Preventive methods include proper pond location, design, construction, and drawdown. Also, stocking three to five triploid grass carp per surface acre into ponds that do not have weed problems helps prevent weeds from becoming established. If you use proper preventive methods, aquatic weeds are seldom a problem.
If you have a weed problem in your pond, follow these steps in aquatic weed control:
- Identify the problem weed.
- Choose the most economical and efficient approaches to control. A combination of techniques usually provides the best long-term control.
- If you select a chemical method of control, be sure it is economical, safe, and effective. Calculate pond area or volume to be treated, and follow label instructions.
- Pay close attention to use restrictions following herbicide treatment.
If aquatic weeds become a problem, you can control them through physical, mechanical, biological, and chemical methods. Each method has advantages and disadvantages, and combining methods into an integrated weed control plan is usually most effective.