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Neighbors Growing Together | Jul 16, 2018

DNR offers tips for aquatic plants

Aug 09, 2017

Pond plants are necessary for a healthy pond, but too many can upset a fishing pond’s balance and become a nuisance, says the Iowa Department of Natural Resources.

Many pond owners struggle with how to control the amount of aquatic plants, without completely removing all plants, so they can enjoy their pond, so the DNR offers advice.

Herbicides can be used to kill underwater weeds, but the growing season is almost over this time of year, so pond rakes or cutters, although more labor intensive, are perfect for controlling aquatic plants in small areas to create fishing lanes, swimming areas and dock access.

Pond rakes tear plants from the bottom and let you remove them from near shore or around docks. Attach a float to the rake to let it skim and remove plants and moss or algae from the surface.

Cutters sink to the bottom and cut the plant stems as it is dragged back, making the plants float to the top. The plants are often carried away by the wind or can be picked up with a floating rake.

Use a long-handled rake or cutter with a reach of 10 feet or more that you can throw and pull back. These tools can be used for many years, and they cost less than a gallon of some aquatic herbicides. Local hardware stores might carry these.


• Many plants spread by fragmentation, so if growth is not throughout the pond already, do not use these methods.

• Once out of the water, let the plants dry out before moving them too far. Dry plants are lighter than wet plants.

• Don’t haul the plants off your property; you cannot transport aquatic vegetation 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 can physically remove a 15 foot wide path of vegetation for navigation to the main lake without a permit; you cannot use herbicides to remove the aquatic plants in a publicly owned lake.

Contact the DNR fisheries office in your area if you have questions.

Learn more about aquatic plants in ponds at www.iowadnr.gov/pondplants.

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