Most ponds in South Carolina are storm water drains. They are designed to move excessive amounts of water off streets and adjoining properties to reduce or eliminate flooding. Unfortunately, they require maintenance to work to their full potential.
All coastal pond and lake maintenance programs will be most effective if started between the months of January and February. This will ensure the establishment of chemical or biological control methods prior to fertilizer season. Typically in our area, fertilization of yards and common areas begins in March or April. Most people do not understand that fertilizer helps to grow aquatic plants and weeds just like it helps to grow grass. Every yard that has fertilizer applied to it, eventually ends up contributing to excessive pond growth. Irrigation and rain are responsible for carrying these nutrient loads to the ponds. Grass clippings that make their way into the ponds also carry fertilizer in the leaf blades and add another nutrient source for algae and submersed pond plants. We understand that everyone wants to have a nice, green lawn, but would also like to ask of your understanding in the pond problems that this creates.
Typically, we disclose that good chemical or biological establishment will take 90-120 days from the maintenance start date. Some chemical applications can take up to 12 weeks for results. These are the most effective chemicals and provide long-term results. In order to maximize proper water quality, we recommend that aerators and fish (carp, tilapia, koi) be added to each body of water that is a concern in your community or on your property.
Land development creates pollutants (fertilizer, insecticide, Miracle Grow, etc.) that are rich in nutrients containing high levels of phosphorous and nitrogen that rob a pond of oxygen. Low oxygen levels, combined with minimal circulation, prematurely ages a water body and throws the natural ecosystem out of balance. Visible indicators are algae, submersed pond weeds, and foul odors. Not only are these conditions unsightly, but they will lead to fish kills. It is critical to destratify the water column in the Spring and Summer in order to get above 50% efficiency on chemical applications. The only way to do this is with fountains or aerators. If aerators are not installed, we cannot achieve healthy and aesthetically-pleasing ponds. Undersized aerators are a waste of your association and personal dollars. Less than 1/2hp – 2hp per surface acre is not worth spending your money on.
Please understand that the purpose of this information is to help you understand how to achieve the long term results that we all hope to achieve, while bringing forth the root of all pond and lake issues. Green grass means green ponds. We are all contributing to the problem. Let’s all contribute to the solution.