Natural ways to combat algae

Underwater aquatic plants in your garden pond

Even though aquatic plants look quite unremarkable, they are actually the unsung heroes of your pond. They play an extremely important role in maintaining the biological equilibrium of the water.

Most pond owners plant pretty, blooming varieties along the edge of their ponds and frequently decorate the surface of the pond with floating plants. But don’t forget to stock up on underwater aquatic plants for your pond as well. These plants are especially important at the height of summer, when the heat causes the water to lose oxygen. They do an excellent job in maintaining the biological equilibrium in your pond. In addition, they help in an efficient way to combate algae.

algae

Characteristics of aquatic plants: Their roots extend to the floor of the pond, while the plants grow up towards the light. Some, like water lilies, even bloom as soon as they reach the surface. Others stay under water and perform important tasks there. For example, elodea, water milfoil, hornwort and others extract many nutrients that have dissolved in the water, thus making life difficult for bothersome algae. As a result, the water becomes clearer and the pond owner can reduce the use of anti-algae products. At the same time, aquatic plants release oxygen into the water, improving the water quality in this way as well. Moreover, they provide a place for creatures in your pond to retreat or hide.

The water lily is also an aquatic plant

The water lily is the best-known aquatic plant that roots itself to the pond floor. You should use a planting basket to place it onto the pond floor. Fill this basket with either a special substrate or loamy soil. If the plant is still young and small, first place the basket in the pond at a depth of about 20 cm and wait until the leaves have reached the surface. You can then move it to deeper water. Relocating a planting basket is no problem, as you can either push it down or take it out as you see fit. To ensure that it remains safely under water, weigh it down with a couple stones. By the way, water lilies are perennial and can stay in the pond over the winter. Planting them without a planting basket is only recommended in very large ponds, however, as water lilies proliferate rapidly and reproduce through their roots, which can then take up large amounts of space underground.

Hornwort
Hornwort is a real glutton for nutrients, making it a popular choice. The plant itself is not particularly pretty and also doesn’t thrive in every pond. On the other hand, you don’t need to plant it. You can just throw it into your pond instead. The shoots float freely under water and proliferate – heavily, if there are too many nutrients in the water. When that happens, you can easily fish out the unnecessary plants. Hornwort spends the winter as buds, which sprout the next year.

Elodea

This species was often considered a pest because it proliferates rapidly. In the past century it could not be contained and would prevent ships from navigating through seas and rivers. Nevertheless, the plant definitely has its advantages as a natural enemy to algae, provided you place it in the pond in a planter. This stops it from spreading haphazardly and you can easily prune it in the fall. The same applies here: Don’t place the container too deep at the beginning. Instead, lower it onto the floor of the pond step by step. Water milfoil

You can plant water milfoil in water up to two meters deep – in a planter of course. When buying water milfoil, make sure you get an indigenous species, as there is also an aquarium version that would not survive our winters in the pond.

No matter what aquatic plants you decide on, try not to get carried away with the quantity. Otherwise you’ll already need to spend your first summer pruning heavily.

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