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Pond plants are essential for healthy fish populations and good water quality, but can become a nuisance. Finding ways to reduce plant abundance to make pond access easier, without getting rid of them altogether, is a challenge for many pond owners.
Herbicides can be used to kill underwater weeds, but their growing season is nearly over this time of year.
Weed rakes or cutters, although more labor intensive, are ideal for weed control in small areas to create fishing lanes, swimming areas and dock access.
Weed rakes tear plants from the bottom and allow you to remove them from near shore or around docks. Attaching a float to the rake lets it skim and remove weeds and moss or algae from the surface.
Cutters sink to the bottom and cut the weed stems as it is dragged back, causing the weeds to float to the top. The weeds are often carried away by the wind or can be picked up with a floating rake.
A long-handled rake or cutter with a reach of 10 feet or more that can be thrown and pulled back is the most useful. These handy tools can be used for many years and cost less than a gallon of some aquatic herbicides. Local hardware or pool stores may carry these, or try an online search for “lake weed rake or cutter.”
A few words of caution:
· Many plants spread by fragmentation, so if growth is not throughout the pond, use of these methods may not be wise.
· Once out of the water, allow the weeds to dry out before moving them too far. This will greatly lighten your load.
· Obey State Law. Don’t haul the plants off your property, the transport of aquatic vegetation is not allowed in Iowa. Once out of the water, leave the plants to dry and compost onshore or move dried plants to your garden where they make excellent mulch.
· Lakeshore property owners on a public lake are allowed to physically remove a 15 foot wide path of vegetation without a permit for navigation to the main lake; removal with herbicides is not allowed. Contact the DNR fisheries office in your area if you have questions.