En EspaŅol
Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Mr. Smarty Plants - Prevention of algae scum on standing water

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Search Smarty Plants
    
 
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions
Can't find the answer in our existing FAQs, submit a question to Mr. Smarty Plants.

Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.
 
rate this answer
Not Yet Rated

Sunday - December 16, 2007

From: Rockledge, FL
Region: Southeast
Topic: Problem Plants
Title: Prevention of algae scum on standing water
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

Because your answer to a previous question has resolved an "issue" referent to proper care of our cordgrass plants, I'm back to ask your advice. The pond behind our condominium complex is man-made and is not spring-fed. It's "standing-water" content comes from area rainfall that is funneled into the pond. Over the past several months, the top of the pond has developed patches of "scum" (algae growth) that moves across its surface depending on the direction of the wind. It is somewhat unsightly and residents have asked if it could be removed. We have have been told by area businesses that we could clear it out, but it might result in increased algae growth. To be blunt, it's pretty nasty looking. Can we/should we remove it? Again, thanks for your previous help. It was sincerely appreciated by all concerned.

ANSWER:

Just to bring everyone up to speed on the cordgrass issue, please refer to this previous Mr. Smarty Plants answer. Your standing water problem does not stem from the cordgrass, but we're flattered that you came back to us with another question on the landscape management of your condominium complex.

If we understand you correctly, the water area in question is basically a retention pond, and not intended as a scenic feature of the property. This website on Retention Pond Facts, originating from several organizations in Florida, gives some information on their purposes and problems. These ponds are designed to address the increase of development in an area creating more impervious areas; i.e., paving, parking lots, driveways, and buildings, where storm runoff cannot readily soak into the soil. The retention pond traps some of this runoff, preventing further flooding downstream. It also traps pollutants such as excess lawn and garden fertilizer, pesticides, animal waste and motor oil, helping to protect the quality of water in natural waterways downstream.

The bad news is that the water is just sitting there in the pond, with all of that bad stuff in it. Sometimes oxygen is introduced into water in this sort of situation by waves, wind or other means of mixing some oxygen in for aerobic decomposition of the waste materials in the pond. If oxygen is not being introduced, the decomposition becomes anaerobic, resulting in unpleasant odors and, yes, algae bloom.

Having looked at all these facts, it would appear that a good alternative would be an artificial aeration system. Since this is a little out of the realm of our expertise at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center in native plants of North America, we would recommend you follow this up with more research of your own, determining what is economically practical and most efficient.

 

 

More Problem Plants Questions

Live oaks lifting up sidewalks in Palm Coast FL
December 12, 2013 - My live oak trees roots are lifting up my side walks. Can I cut just the roots that are causing the problem without hurting the trees? Thank you.
view the full question and answer

Need for smaller tree with less invasive roots from Ft. Worth TX
June 07, 2014 - The sycamore in the front yard has developed roots larger than the branches. They have decided that the water and sewer lines are perfect to acquire their water from. For this reason it will be coming...
view the full question and answer

Invasive thistles in wildflower field from Dripping Springs TX
February 17, 2014 - How to get rid of "native" thistles.. I have a large natural field that used to grow a variety of wildflowers, but in 2011 and 2012 it was taken over by thistles. I'm sure they are "native" Texas...
view the full question and answer

Live Oak Suckers Reprise, Austin TX
July 06, 2014 - Referring to an entry dated March 11, 2011 about Live Oak suckers - what happened to the suckers covered with newspaper and cardboard?
view the full question and answer

Controlling live oak suckers in Florida
July 20, 2014 - How do I kill emerging live oak sprouts comming from mature tree root system
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants's Facebook profile Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.

Mr. Smarty Plants wants you to be his Facebook friend. Click the Facebook icon to add yourself to Mr. Smarty Plants list of friends.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP
© 2014 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center