Pond flourishes with management plans

By Haley Shoemaker

OSU Extension

If you’ve ever watched the “Andy Griffith” Show, you can probably recall the opening scene depicting Andy and Opie strolling down to the pond, fishing poles in hand. Over the years, that pond provided enjoyment and lasting memories for Andy, Opie and their loyal viewers.

You can likely relate to the fun times had by the Griffith gang if you own a pond or know someone who does.

The only difference between your pond and that iconic hangout is that there’s no crew behind the scenes making sure the water sparkles – in your case, that crew is you. But not to worry, with some simple pond management practices, your pond will flourish for years to come.

Proper pond management starts at the roots – of aquatic plants, that is.

Along with contributing to the overall aesthetics, aquatic plants play a large role in pond health and ecological function.

According to the “Pond and Lake Management” factsheet from Rutgers University, aquatic plants help stabilize pond banks, oxygenate water and provide a habitat for spawning fish and amphibians.

While these are all important and positive, they can become negative should any one plant or weed begin to take over or grow out of control.

In many cases, this nuisance is caused by an invasive weed, which can outcompete native grasses by stealing nutrients and taking up much needed space for growth.

These weeds are not always easy to prevent, but they can be taken care of in a few simple steps.

Identification of the problem plant is an important first step that will aid in choosing an effective control method. In most instances, removing the weed by pulling, cutting or raking will suffice.

Depending on the depth of the pond and root strength of the weed, your method of extraction may range from hand pulling to using a bailing hook or cutter.

The key here is to be sure that the entire weed, including the root, is removed and disposed of away from the pond.

Weeds left near or in the pond will decrease water oxygen levels and may contribute to larger problems such as algal blooms.

If invasive weeds or problem plants continue to be a problem, the “Pond and Lake Management” factsheet suggests replacing them with native plants. Though this may take some trial and error, over time the native plants will become established and provide long-term control of overgrowth.

While your pond may not be featured in a famous television show, if managed correctly it will still provide the opportunity for learning, enjoyment and afternoons full of fishing pole memories!

To learn more about keeping your pond looking good, visit http://go.osu.edu/pondlake.