Control of algae in New York lakes and ponds can be managed with a variety of long-term and natural solutions, such as aerators, biological control, fish stocking, herbicides, and algaecides. However, it is important to understand the background of algae prior to diving into the means of controlling it.
What are Algae?
Algae are simple, native aquatic plants that are commonly found in lakes and ponds throughout the Hudson Valley, NYC, and Connecticut. Aquatic plants play an important role in lakes and ponds when properly balanced. They keep the water oxygenated, are a source of food, provide cover for fish, and keep the shoreline stabilized.
Algae Problems in the Hudson Valley & NYC
While algae and aquatic plants do provide great benefits to ponds and lakes in New York, an overabundance can prove to be a serious problem. Excess algae is caused by a surplus of nutrients in the water, often a direct result from runoff of fertilized lawns. The phosphorous in fertilizers spurs rapid growth of aquatic plants.
As mentioned earlier, algae oxygenate the water, however, they also consume oxygen. The production of oxygen ceases at night because photosynthesis cannot take place without light, but oxygen consumption continues 24/7. A lake or pond overpopulated with algae significantly decreases oxygen levels within the water because the production rate of oxygen cannot keep up with the consumption rate. Depleted oxygen levels can be fatal to fish populations within the lake or pond.
Mechanical Control of Algae
Mechanical control of algae means removing the aquatic vegetation by hand or by a mechanical device. Certain types of algae (filamentous) can be removed by wire screens or rakes, but this method has proven to be more of a temporary fix because of how quickly algae populations bloom.
Aeration systems are another form of mechanical control. They have had success in controlling algae levels in New York lakes and ponds by improving water circulation. The movement of the water increases oxygen levels and enhances the overall health of the lake’s ecological system.
Biological Control of Algae
Fish stocking lakes and ponds with grass carp has been discussed to control algae as well. The logic is that grass carp will eat the algae as food. Unfortunately, this method does not have tremendous success as grass carp do not find the filamentous algae appetizing (can you blame them?). They will also only eat algae when other preferred types of aquatic plants are not available.
Chemical Control of Algae
Aquatic herbicides and algaecides are perhaps the most effective control method in New York. When properly applied by a licensed professional, an aquatic herbicide can provide safe and efficient management of algae in lakes and ponds. It is essential to identify the exact vegetation and pond area that needs to be controlled so the correct herbicide and dosage can be successfully applied.
LIFE Inc. has over 35 years of experience in lake and pond management services throughout the Hudson Valley, New York City, and Connecticut. As a licensed professional, Mark Roland has the knowledge and expertise needed to properly identify algae species and are equipped to provide the best possible solution to get your lake or pond back to excellent health!