AG NEWS
AG NEWS

Algae: the good, the bad and the ugly

  • Sep 18, 2014

Algae are a vital component of aquatic environments; however, they can sometimes negatively impact the environment and the aesthetics of your lake or pond. By understanding the issues at hand, you can make better-informed decisions to help restore the water body in the most cost effective and safe method possible.

Background on Algae
Algae can be microscopic and single celled or large and plant like such as Kelp or the freshwater species Chara and Nitella. In freshwater environments, the desirable green algae are necessary for a healthy ecosystem and are the primary food source that starts the food chain. Green algae typically do not cause issues, like the undesirable and sometimes problematic blue green algae, also called cyanobacteria.

Blue green algae can dominate an aquatic system when the balance is off and there are excess nutrients present, such as phosphorous and nitrogen. These nutrients can enter the aquatic environment in many ways including grass clippings, rain runoff from streets and yards and even from the atmosphere.

Blue green algae generally are not a very good food source and prohibit many desirable species to thrive. They also negatively impact the environment in other ways, such as aesthetically and more importantly harmful blooms, which can render the water body useless for wildlife, recreation and human consumption.

For example, microcystis was one of the species responsible for the Lake Erie toxic algae bloom, which rendered the water unsafe for human consumption. As a result, the city of Toledo could not use their own water supply and had to bring in water from other sources. The algae bloom was so large on Lake Erie that it was visible from space.

Thankfully, there are solutions that help restore the balance and minimize the impacts of the nuisance algae. WinField has herbicides and algaecides that work very well in aquatic environments and kill the algae. These products include the following:

  • Copper- Captain, Captain XTR, SeClear
  • Hydrothol
  • Reward
  • Clipper
  • Peroxygen products like Greenclean and Pak 27
In addition to algaecides, there are a few other products that can help such as SeClear, Phoslock, bacteria, enzymes and alum. These products get to the root of the problem by binding phosphorous and nitrogen. By limiting phosphorous and nitrogen we can minimize the potential for new algae blooms.

As you can see, the balance between a healthy, thriving lake and an unwanted, useless algae-driven lake can be a fine line. To better understand your situation and challenges, talk to your local WinField representative.