Pond Grasses & Weeds

Written by stephanie daniels
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Pond Grasses & Weeds
Learn how aquatic plant life affects the pond environment. (pond image by Tomasz Kubis from Fotolia.com)

Pond grasses and weeds create unsightly lakes and ponds that cannot be used as desired. Grasses and weeds floating, growing submerged or protruding from the water prevent water activities like fishing and make other water activities like swimming and wading difficult to do safely, without the danger of water snakes. However, though they may be annoying, pond grasses and weeds can contribute to the pond or lake environment, benefiting both the pond itself and other creatures and plants that live in the pond.

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Types

Pond grasses and weeds come in several forms. Some are floating plants or algae. Others survive completely submerged under water, while some plants grow above and out of the water. Floating plants may have roots that extend to the bottom of the pond or float in the water as well. Common types of pond grasses and weeds include plants like cattails, water lilies and water chestnuts.

Pond Grasses & Weeds
Cattails grow commonly around ponds. (cattail image by Derek Abbott from Fotolia.com)

Growth Conditions

Pond grasses and weeds require six basic factors to grow successfully and create a healthy pond environment. These factors are water depth, water currents, temperature, soil type, chemical make-up of the water and the combination of sunlight and water clarity. A proper balance of these factors prevents certain pond grasses and weeds from taking over the pond, producing a balanced, healthy pond environment overall.

Benefits

Aquatic plants like grasses and weeds can be a benefit in ponds. Rooted plants help to oxygenate the water, while unrooted pond weeds like algae produce food for pond dwellers. Flower or leafy pond grasses and weeds provide a place for young fish to hide from predators until they can defend themselves or escape when the occasion arises. Some pond grasses and weeds are even edible for human consumption.

Dangers

Some types of pond grasses and weeds are poisonous to not only aquatic life, but land creatures that may feed on the vegetation as well. Water hemlock is an example of one type of pond weed that has been known to kill or sicken livestock.

Management

To treat a pond for excessive grass and weed growth, you must first identify the type of plant causing the most trouble in the pond. The plant's growing characteristics and the amount of time it's been growing are other key factors in managing grass and weed growth in a pond. Once identified, pond grasses and weeds can be treated by mechanical, biological and chemical methods. Mechanical treatment methods work temporarily and involve the use of a machine or manpower to remove the grasses and weeds from the pond. Chemical methods should be used carefully in accordance with label instructions. Chemicals should only be used when treating a specific pond pest. An environmentally conscious way to eliminate pond weeds is to add grass carp fish that eat pond grasses and weeds.

Pond Grasses & Weeds
Grass carp added to a pond is an environmentally friendly way to manage excessive pond grass and weed growth. (sick carp in aquarium image by sasha from Fotolia.com)

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