Maintain Your Shoreline and Limit Use of Fertilizers
Explosive weed growth in ponds and lakes is often due to fertilizer runoff. The same nutrients that make your lawn flourish or help with other forms of agriculture can wash into water bodies and cause weeds to take over. Overgrowth of weeds at the water-land interface can cause land to begin to form where lakeshore dwellers would rather have water for their activities.
If necessary, dredge the shoreline to make sure that the passage from water to land isn’t so gradual that interstitial plants can get ahold in large numbers. Create a buffer zone between any lawn areas and the waterfront, to prevent runoff of chemicals and soil from erosion. This will also provide a healthy habitat for shore animals and birds, and good spawning areas for fish.
Dredging often requires a permit. EcoWaterway’s suction methods avoid this problem, since any soil removal is incidental to the process of removing invasive and undesirable weeds.
Commercially available herbicides may help to control some kinds of weeds in limited spaces. Unfortunately, they sometimes have undesirable side-effects, including killing desirable aquatic plants, which are essential for a healthy underwater ecosystem, and which provide food for desirable animal species. For larger areas, herbicides are not very effective, and their use may be closely controlled by Departments of Natural Resources and other environmental agencies. Check to see whether permitting is required where you are.
Shade projections or overhangs may reduce the growth of aquatic plants in restricted areas. On the other hand, lakefront dwellers often enjoy spending time in the sun at the shore, so it’s not always feasible from that point of view, either.
Another option is to put down specially designed matting that will cut off sunlight and nutrients from lake and pond weeds, thus suppressing their growth. Obviously, this solution applies to limited areas, and it’s also heavily disruptive to the ecology in those areas.
Hand and Machine Harvesting
If you are able to invest the time and effort, these are often the most effective ways of controlling aquatic weeds in limited areas. It’s best to pluck unwanted shoreline plants and weeds before they get a good hold on the area where you boat and swim. There are tools that can help make the process easier, but in some cases, as with invasive milfoil, instruments that chop plants to pieces can actually accelerate the spread.
Diver-Assisted Suction Harvesting
EcoWaterway offers a method that outperforms all of the above in most situations. Divers are trained to distinguish between desirable aquatic plants, which contribute to a healthy ecosystem. They then pull up unwanted weeds by the roots and feed them through high-power suction tubes attached to a floating platform. The mechanism is designed to harmlessly feed any caught up wildlife and all the water back into the pond or lake, while straining out the unwanted weed with specially designed netting. The plant material is then dried out to make removal easy, taking along with it any accumulated phosphates and other run-off chemicals. It’s then moved far away, so that the material won’t be reintroduced.
After a couple of treatments, the population of undesirable weeds is suppressed to the point where treatments become less frequently necessary. At the same time, loose muck and silt that is accumulating at the shoreline is also removed, helping to create a more pronounced decline at the shoreline.
Give EcoWaterway a call. They’ll assess your unique situation and give you the best advice to deal with your specific needs.