There’s a topic that pond owners can’t seem to agree on- whether or not you can use Roundup in a pond. Well, it is a debated and controversial issue. You need to know that this herbicide was made keeping soil-based weeds and grasses in mind. Applying it to pond water will harm its overall atmosphere.
There are alternatives to applying Roundup in a pond, such as using aqua-based herbicides, plucking the weeds using your hands, or a rake. You can also use small pieces of machinery and mechanisms such as weed cutters, weed tillers, surface skimmers, barrier sheets, apply salt or boiling water, etc.
You may biologically control this issue, too. Another useful method is dredging.
Can You Use Roundup in a Pond: Let’s find out
If you are from the US, you must have heard of Roundup. Roundup is the brand name of a herbicide presently owned by the German chemical company Bayer. Bayer acquired this brand in 2018 by purchasing Monsanto, the previous producer of this product.
What is roundup?
Roundup is a systemic, broad-spectrum glyphosate-based herbicide commonly used to kill certain grasses and weeds. It works by blocking some enzymes, which are necessary for those plants to grow.
This herbicide was the first of its kind when Monsanto developed it in the 1970s. And it became an instant hit. According to a study in 2015, Roundup is used in more than 160 countries of the world.
Compared to other herbicides, Roundup is cheaper and more effective in particular cases. That is one of the reasons it is so widely popular among both amateur and professional farmers. As you can guess, the product was made mainly targeting soil-based weeds and grasses.
Now the question is, can you use Roundup in a pond? If not, what are the alternatives? Well, in this article, I will discuss everything in brief that you need to know regarding this issue. So stay tuned.
Chemical Composition of Roundup?
Isopropylamine salt of glyphosate is the core active ingredient of Roundup. Another crucial ingredient of this product is a surfactant known as Polyethoxylated tallow amine, aka POEA.
Is It OK to Use Roundup in a Pond?
First of all, I need you to understand what Roundup does when applied to an aquatic environment. Roundup was developed, intending the soil-based environment in mind. Meaning, it is designed to kill weeds and grasses which are on the land.
If you apply this herbicide to a pond, the glyphosate will get latched with the soil, plants, and other organic particles. Which, ultimately, will contaminate the whole environment of that pond. Want to know how?
When applied to water, the glyphosate present in the Roundup stays active for around four to five months. During this time, the herbicide not only kills the aquatic plants and weeds but also induces oxidative stress in the water, which suffocates the fishes living there. According to a study, it also increases the incidence of diseases to fish.
Therefore, you should not overlook the adverse side effects this herbicide will cause to the aquatic environment of your pond. Also, if applied, I would strongly urge you not to use that pond’s water to feed your livestock.
What is Weed and why is it harmful to a pond?
If the picture of a marijuana leaf comes into your mind when you hear the word weed, you are getting it all wrong! It is not what you are thinking of it is. Before jumping into the main topic, let me clear the doubt.
A weed is any plant growing in a place where it is not wanted, i.e., a plant in the wrong place. According to experts, a weed is any plant or vegetation that hinders the objectives of farming or forestry.
When we say aquatic weeds, we refer to unwanted plants and algae present in the water body of ponds or lakes. Aquatic weeds can be of many types; such as,
- Floating Weeds
- Marginal Weeds
- Emergent Weeds
- Submerged Weeds
- Algal Weeds
You may wonder why I should get rid of them? They are plants, after all, right?
Well, let me share some drawbacks of these “plants,” and then you decide if they’re good or bad news:
These weeds –
- Reduces oxygen circulation in water
- Limits the living space for fishes
- Help to grow predatory and weed fishes, and mollusks
- Provides the breeding ground for predatory insects
- Causes obstruction when you are netting
- Reduces sunlight penetration
- Limits plankton production
- Some of them release toxic gas
And many more!
I hope now your misconceptions are clear.
How Do I Get Rid of Pond Weeds?
So now, what is the solution? How to get rid of pond weeds without harming the pond ecosystem? Fret not; I am here to share with you all the best alternatives. Just keep reading.
1. Removing Manually
It works best if the weeds in your pond are in the initial stage. In my opinion, this is the best way of getting rid of the unwanted weeds. Why? Because it doesn’t affect the overall aquatic environment of the pond at all.
There are a few ways of removing pond weeds manually.
If the weeds are small, just pluck them up by wearing your hand gloves. And if they are a bit long, use your rake. Make sure you don’t destroy the useful plants while plowing the rake.
You may also use a hand-operated weed tiller or a weed cutter. Weed tillers dig through the mud, slit and pluck out the weed roots. Therefore, you do not have to worry about weeds for some time once you use the tiller throughout your pond.
A weed cutter is a lightweight V-shaped cutter with sharp blades. They are heavy enough to drown easily and sit at the bottom of the pond. Usually, a rope is attached to the end of the cutter, which helps you drag it back towards you once you throw it into the water. It cuts all the weeds on its path while you pull it to you.
But is there any way to manually get rid of the weeds like duckweed, algae, watermeal, etc., which grow on the water surface? Yes, there is. The solution is to use a surface skimmer.
A surface skimmer is basically a strong mesh net, which is very flexible and attached to a flotation stick. All you have to do is slowly drag it through the weedy water surface, and it will collect a large number of floating weeds on its path.
Suppose you are in a situation where the weed in your pond is getting out of control; you may go for this option. Dredging may take more time than some of the other options, but it will bring the best result among them all. It helps to promote the proliferation of useful bacterias- these bacterias aid in breaking down organic wastes of the pond’s bottom.
Another benefit of dredging is, you can use the wastes as fertilizers. Thus, you will save some money and get nutrient-rich foods for the plants you have on your premises simultaneously.
3. Using Weed Barrier Sheets
Another easy yet effective way is to use weed barrier sheets. These sheets are typically used to line ponds and streams for decorative purposes.
First, remove the weed from your target area, and then cover it up using the sheet. You might have to use something heavy like bricks or big stones to pin the sheet down the pond’s bottom. You can choose whatever size is necessary to fulfill your demand.
The moment you cover your target area, the weeds there will not be able to get enough sunlight and nutrition, which will slowly suffocate them to death. Thus you will get a weed-free clean pond bottom.
4. Biologically Controlling
This one is my personal favorite. You will be able to kill two birds with one stone using this method. In easy words, it is the way to reduce the weeds by culturing living organisms such as Tilapia, Grass Carp, Common Carp, Silver Carp, etc.
There are numerous advantages to this method. First of all, the weeds are being converted into fish flesh. It is one of the cheapest methods because you do not need any physical labor to maintain it. Also, from an environmental and social point of view, this is the most suitable technique.
You will be surprised to know that people also take the help of Yamuna Turtles in some places as they consume water hyacinths in the pond.
5. Using Aquatic Herbicides
In reality, applying herbicides in ponds is more challenging than applying them on crops. Why? Because in crops, the herbicide only reaches the designated place it is targeted to. However, if you use these herbicides in your pond, it will not only affect the targeted weeds; in order to reach them, the herbicide will also get diluted with the water.
That is where the aquatic herbicides come to save you. These herbicides are dedicatedly designed for treating aquatic plants. They come in both liquid and granular forms. Some popular aquatic herbicide producer companies are Sanco, Crystal Blue, Aquashade, Bluesprings, etc.
Aquatic herbicides are designed in such a way that they break down quickly, preserving the pond’s health. You need to keep in mind that applying these herbicides in different seasons will result differently. So, you need to know when you can and can’t use this thing before using it.
Experts advise not to apply them to the pond during summertime. The best time is spring when the weeds grow faster and reach their peak.
6. Using Salt
This one is yet another easy way to solve your pond’s weed problem. It is simple, cheap, and effective. The salt starves the water out of the weeds by disrupting osmosis, eventually leading them to die. It is better to use a test kit while applying the salt to figure out the salt concentration does not exceed 0.1%.
A common misconception regarding applying salt in the pond is that the ratio should be one gram of salt per liter of water. However, this is wrong. Studies found that this ratio actually is toxic and stressful to aquatic life, which includes fish. So, apply a small amount of salt to the targeted area over an extended period of a few hours.
7. Using Boiling Water
Here is another easy and budget-friendly method, which will cost you almost nothing. It usually takes more time to finish the job compared to some of the ways we have already shared. How much boiling water should you apply? Well, it depends on your pond’s size and the weed coverage.
To apply this method, after boiling, put the water in a container (as per your demand). Then simply apply this water to the root areas of the weeds, which will kill the roots and prevent them from growing again. After applying, it usually takes a day or two to finish the job.
Some Useful Tips For Using Roundup Or Other Herbicide
Before wrapping up, we would like to share some tips
- Always check the label before buying the herbicides
- Whenever needed, seek help from an expert
- Do not overdo it
- Keep the herbicides away from your child and pet’s reach
- Do not use any other herbicides but the aquatic ones
- Always avoid skin contact with the herbicides
- Do not unnecessarily apply the herbicides
- Try to avoid herbicides as much as possible; go for the other methods if possible
We have reached the end of this discussion. You wanted to know can you use Roundup in a pond or not; I have covered that. I also tried to cover the better alternatives to using Roundup in brief.
Hopefully, after reading this article, you will be able to make better decisions regarding dealing with those pesky weeds in your pond. If you want to know more about anything related to this topic, do not hesitate to contact and ask me.
Adios and have a great day.