Use chemicals correctly in farm ponds

Published 6:37 pm Tuesday, April 2, 2013

There are numerous chemicals labeled for use in farm ponds for the control of aquatic weeds, fish diseases, removal of undesirable fish and for the correction of water quality problems. Because of these management problems, it is important that a pond owner select the right chemical and apply it to the pond in a safe and correct manner.

Before a chemical is selected for aquatic use, the pond owner must ask himself will it achieve the desired result. This question may seem obvious to many pond owners, but is one that is often overlooked. In many cases, no single aquatic herbicide is capable of controlling the numerous weeds that can become pond management problems. Most chemicals used to control weeds, diseases, and other
aquatic pests are expensive and are effective only on certain pest organisms.

It is very important to accurately identify the problem, and then select the most effective control measure. This does not mean that a chemical can or should be used to correct every pond management problem. The best approach is to consider preventive measures first. If they are not practical or do not produce the desired results, then other methods should be considered. It is always easier and more economical to prevent a problem than to cure one.

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Matching the management problem with an effective chemical is not enough. You must also consider the effect that chemicals may have on non-target organisms. For example, some chemicals used to treat aquatic plants can also be toxic to fish. Use of these chemicals during the summer months may cause oxygen depletions.

The water chemistry of the pond and its effect on the chemical must be considered. Some chemicals break down rapidly in the presence of sunlight, high pH, high temperature and are less likely to be effective during the hot summer months. If a pond has multiple water uses the selection of the chemical must be carefully considered.

For example, aquatic herbicides applied to a pond used for irrigation may have disastrous effect upon irrigated crops. Also, consider the effects the chemical may have downstream of the pond.

Whenever you use a chemical in a pond, it must be applied properly and all warnings and precautions concerning use must be understood and observed. Fortunately, all of this information is on the label for most chemicals approved for use in farm ponds. Anyone who uses a chemical in a pond should always thoroughly read and understand the chemical label before purchasing and applying it.

A farm pond can serve many purposes such as a source of food, sport fishing, livestock water source, irrigation and water for firefighting. This is why it is important that the pond owner be knowledgeable about chemicals labeled for aquatic use and apply them in the appropriate manor.

Mitchell May is the Decatur County extension agent. He can be reached at (229) 248-3033, or by email at