Friday, July 29, 2016

Stopping Pond Leaks with Bentonite Clay


Bentonite Clay
When building a pond, there are a few ways to line it. Most people use a liner, but don’t know that bentonite clay works well and can be less expensive than a liner. Bentonite clay is a natural absorbent aluminum phyllosilicate clay that was originally found in Rock River, Wyoming. It can be used as the entire liner, or it can be used to cover leaks when ordered on a pallet. Bentonite clay can expand up to 10 times its size when it gets wet like a blood clot. It acts like a blanket for the pond. If you aren’t sure how much to use, it’s better to be safe and put more down than not enough. However, it is very expensive to ship.
If you choose to use bentonite clay, you will need to line it before you add water. But if not tilled into the soil may not work to seal the entire pond. This pond still needs water added by a well pump daily.

If not, the clay will mix with the water leaving your pond looking very milky before it settles like in the below picture. Not only will it look milky, if anyone were to go swimming, but the clay would also stick to your skin making it look like you have a serious sunburn until it dried and flaked off.
It works best in places that have a more sandy soil.
Below is a ratio chart from texasbentonite.com.
PRIMARY SOIL TYPE       AMOUNT OF POND SEALANT REQUIRED
Clay Soil                                 1.0 to 1.5 lbs per sq ft
Sandy Silt                               20% Clay Min 2.0 to 2.5 lbs per sq ft
Silty Sand                               3.0 to 3.5 lbs per sq ft
Clean Sand                            4.0 to 4.5 lbs per sq ft
Rock Or Gravel                      5.0 to 6.0 lbs per sq ft


Not only is bentonite clay good for ponds, but it’s also great for skin! It has been used for bug bites, chicken pox, dry skin, and it has even been used as a mouthwash.

Taking care of your lake or pond is not a luxury, it’s a necessity. As your local pond management professionals, let us guide you to your healthy pond or lake in the Charlotte NC, Asheville NC, and Greenville SC areas.


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Thursday, July 28, 2016

What is this in my pond? Bryozoan - Phylactolaemata?


Bryozoan - Phylactolaemata

Have you ever been to a lake or pond that had a gelatinous mass like the one in the picture above? That’s a great sign! It means you have a healthy ecosystem. Bryozoans are small animals that live together in colonies. This is a freshwater bryozoan in the Phylactolaemata class. There is an abundance of them in general, but some species are considered rare.
Physical characteristics
Freshwater bryozoans look like masses that can come in different sizes. Most are on the bigger side. They are neutral in color, and most have the same design. Other than exact shape, most look like the bryozoan in the picture above.
Habitat
You can find freshwater bryozoans by (or in the shallow parts of) lakes, ponds, rivers, and streams. They attach themselves to anything stable; rocks, tires, plastic, wood, etc.
Feeding and diet
Phylactolaemata bryozoans are not picky when it comes to food. They will eat anything that isn’t too big or active. They like a variety of plankton.
Should they matter to humans?
Yes! They contribute to nutrient cycling. They can be food for fish and some invertebrates. On the other hand, they matter because they can get into pipelines and filters and block whatever you have going through.
Taking care of your lake or pond is not a luxury, it’s a necessity. As your local pond management professionals, let us guide you to your healthy pond or lake in the Charlotte NC, Asheville NC, and Greenville SC areas.


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Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Golf Course Pond Management


Golf Pond Management
Golf course ponds in Charlotte, NC can be much more difficult than private or public ponds. Well-managed ponds add to the aesthetic quality of the course along with supporting irrigation and supplying drainage basins. Ponds need continuous maintenance, upkeep, etc. Golf course ponds are meant to be part of a game and can make or break a course.
If your pond is filled with algae and aquatic weeds, has weeds and tall grass, or isn’t kept up with, your customers might start looking for another course. Who would choose an overrun course over a nice, clean course? It might not even be because it looks bad or is distracting, but because they could more easily lose a ball if the outside of the pond looks like a jungle. Occasionally, chemicals can't be used to treat the algae because some ponds might use their water for irrigation.
Another way golf courses are more complex is that fertilizer can mess up the nutrients in the pond. If it's not kept up, it can increase the nutrients.
If you try to cheat your pond by only fighting the problem once it has occurred, you will end up paying way more than you would have by investing in a solution. The best way to care for your pond is to be proactive. If you try to brush off water quality issues, it will result in more harmful and/or toxic algae blooms, aquatic weeds, algae, and possibly a loss of customers. It is not worth your time or money. Invest in a solution.
Pro tip- Add beneficial pond bacteria to your pond to help maintain the correct balance for a healthy ecosystem.
As your local pond management professionals, we know the best way to care for your pond or lake in the Charlotte NC, Asheville NC, and Greenville SC areas, and would love to send you more information.


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Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Do You Know How To Protect Your Pond?


Pond Protection
When you own something of high value and importance, you want to take care of it. Would you invest in a swimming pool and only clean it, add a pump, or add chemicals to it once the pool was over run with algae? Or would you not get an oil change in your car until it broke down resulting in having to buy a brand new car? I don’t think so! Ponds and lakes are the same way. They need continual maintenance to thrive. So how do you protect your pond? Here are a few ways.
Cleaning trash in and around your lake or pond. This one is pretty obvious, but trash can cause real damage if it clogs pipes and creates flooding.
Repairing flood damage and erosion caused by a clogged outfall. This could become costly if left ignored. We recommend calling us immediately if you notice flood damage or erosion.
Get some type of aeration system. This is very important.  We recommend aeration systems.  Sub-surface aeration serves to provide supplemental oxygenation and can reduce the thermal stratification.  If you get your fountains and aeration systems checked often (recommended monthly), it helps them to run longer.

Building buffers can help. They can help prevent erosion, and can help stop litter and trash from getting into the pond.
Good record keeping can help the system to stay more balanced.
As your local pond management professionals, we know the best way to care for your pond or lake in the Charlotte, Asheville, and Greenville areas, and would love to send you more information.






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Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Invasive Species - Are They As Bad As They Seem?

Invasive Species
An invasive species is “a plant, fungus, or animal species that is not native to a specific location (an introduced species), and which has a tendency to spread to a degree believed to cause damage to the environment, human economy or human health.” Invasive species can be found anywhere.
Most invasive species tend to have the same characteristics making them competitive. The first characteristic is most are aggressive in their growth. They grow at a rapid rate while also spreading quickly as well. The second is they are very difficult to control. It’s best to start getting rid of them before they start or as soon as you notice. The third is not only are they difficult to control, but there are very few natural controls that work to help get rid of invasive species. And the fourth characteristic is they are adaptable. Wouldn’t it be nice if it were the other way around where the plants we wanted were easy grow? You can find invasive species pretty much anywhere.
Invasive species can steal sunlight from your plants and can overgrow your garden and land. They also affect more than just gardens; they affect our recreational activities. Have you ever been hiking but couldn’t get around some kudzu? Maybe you were out fishing, but you kept reeling in weeds? Management and control are very important to keep all of those things from happening. The process can be long, but it will be worth it!
As your local pond management professionals, we know the best way to care for your pond or lake in the Charlotte, Asheville, and Greenville areas, and would love to send you more information


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Friday, July 8, 2016

Pea Soup Pond: From Green to Clean



Why Do Ponds Go Green Like Pea Soup?
Have you ever looked out into a pond or lake and saw that is was green pea soup? That is what is called single cell algae (also known as planktonic algae). Single cell algae is a free floating algae. It is different that string (filamentous) algae because it is more difficult to remove thus needing a more powerful control method. You see this happening in the spring and summer months. When the weather drops in the fall and winter, algae growth slows down. “Pea soup” water can also happen in your in-home aquarium if the water is not well-balanced.
Pond “creatures” (good algae, bacteria, and invertebrates) eat the not so good algae; so when there aren't enough of those creatures or if there are way more single cell algae, there can be an excess of nutrients in the water causing the build up or algal bloom.
What causes algal bloom? Here are a few possible causes:
-Too much fish food
-Not enough water circulation
-Dead organic matter buildup
-Very few aquatic plants in the pond
-Too few critters
-Runoff that catches droppings, fertilizer, and other possible toxic materials
-“New” water being added to “old” water
-If the pond or lake has dried out
Copper Sulfate based products such as Cutrine, Captain XTR, & SeClear can be used to return the water back to its normal color.  However, a balanced pond is a healthy pond.
As your local pond management professionals, we know the best way to care for your pond or lake in the Charlotte, Asheville, and Greenville areas, and would love to send you more information.


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Thursday, July 7, 2016

Have You Seen This Toxic Algae in Your Pond or Lake?


What Makes Blue-green Algae Dangerous?
What are blue-green algae?
Blue-green algae, also known as Cyanobacteria, is actually not algae, it’s a bacteria that photosynthesizes like algae. Many people refer to this bacteria as “pond scum.” Most commonly, blue-green algae are blue-green in color, but can also be only blue, only green, reddish-purple, or brown. Blue-green algae can grow quickly if the environmental conditions are right. They like to grow in lakes, ponds, and slow-moving streams that are warm in temperature. Nutrients like phosphorus and nitrogen also help their growth.
How are blue-green algae different from true algae?
Typical algae are an important part of the food chain. Blue-green algae do not get eaten like true algae, therefore, are not in the food chain. Also, blue-green algae are not plants, but they are prokaryotes, while green algae are plants and are eukaryotes.
So what’s the problem with blue-green algae?
Blue-green algae itself is not necessarily a huge problem. There is a cause for concern when they form blooms (dense build-ups), as they can produce harmful toxins. Blooms can be triggered by excess nutrients (phosphorus and nitrogen), upwellings, sunlight, calm water, low-water or low-flow conditions, warmer temperatures. You’re most likely to see these harmful algae blooms in-between the months of July and October. Blooms are toxic to fish and other organisms, can decrease oxygen levels, and can prevent beneficial algae growth.
The remedy to get rid of blue-green algae once they are found in your pond or lake to remove or lock up the nutrient source.  However, products such as Captian XTR or SeClear can be used with multiple treatments to gain control quickly.  But if present it can re-appear in little as 3-7 days if you pond or lake is connected to a stream or stormwater.
As your local pond management professionals, we know the best way to care for your pond or lake in the Charlotte, Asheville, and Greenville area, and would love to send you more information.



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Friday, July 1, 2016

Is Nuisance Algae in Source Water Manageable?


Nuisance Algae in Source Water
Have you ever tasted tap water and thought it tasted a little off? Maybe it had a strange odor? This could be the result of nuisance algae in source water. Source water is water from streams, rivers, lakes, or underground aquifers that is used for drinking.
Nuisance algae is a big problem that can sneak up on you. It can be hard to notice at first, and before you know it, it’s all over the pond, lake, or stream. Taste and odor compounds are produced quickly by different algae. Once people realize that their water tastes and smells off, it can be very hard to treat it to non-detectible levels. Source control for nuisance organisms/ algae is the best way to be efficient.
So what comes next? How is the problem resolved? Nuisance algae may or may not be a common occurrence. Usually, it does happen regularly. Obviously, nuisance algae need to be targeted in the water systems in order for source water to be consumed. The best way to go about this is by being proactive. Samples need to be taken to be analyzed to find out which algae need to be targeted. A routine testing and treatment are great ways to prevent nuisance algae.
As professionals in lake and pond management, we know what is best for your lakes and ponds. If you have questions, give us a call; we would love to send you more information on how we can best care for your pond or lake.



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Thursday, June 30, 2016

Did You Know This About Stormwater?

stormwater charlotte
True or False - Stormwater Misconceptions
Stormwater ponds are confusing. Not the pond itself, but everything that goes into it like maintenance, fees, cleanliness, etc. Some ponds are big; some are small; some have fees, some don’t, some ponds have one owner and some are in an HOA, you get my point. So how do we know what is true about them and what isn’t? I have a list of myths and truths that should help clear up a few things.
1. It’s easy to believe that stormwater only flows into local streams. In reality, stormwater can make it all the way to all bodies of water: oceans, rivers, lakes, bays, etc.
2. It would be easy to believe that industries are the main cause of water pollution. However, construction, urban and agricultural runoff from sewage plants and factories are the biggest cause in polluted water in America.
3. Most believe stormwater pollution will eventually work itself out and leave for good. Pollution could lessen if we, as Americans, start to do our part in preventing pollution. When we practice cleaning up after pets when you are outside, keeping your car tuned, recycling motor oil (any kind), checking for leaks, and composting yard clippings, we are getting closer to cleaner, healthier water.
4. Stormwater drains lead to treatment plants. FALSE. Stormwater moves directly into your local waterways (creeks, rivers, lakes, ponds, oceans) from your neighborhood. Stormwater is not treated before it hits our waterways.
5. It would be nice if the state would take care of all stormwater pollution as some people think, but the state only manages a portion of all of the land.
6. Most people believe that stormwater is clean. Stormwater falls onto every outside area, including rooftops, cards, streets, etc. It runs over pet waste, fertilizer, motor oil, grass clippings, cigarette butts, and anything else on the ground.
7. Another misconception is that roads are responsible for a lot of the states stormwater runoff. Roads typically only makeup about 3% of the total land use in urban areas and less than 1% of the whole state of North Carolina.
8. The pollutants in stormwater are not actually harmful. That statement is definitely untrue. Stormwater is one of the biggest sources of damage to our water quality.
9. Some believe that there are no real solutions to stormwater pollution. How could that be true when we, as humans, started pollution in the first place? It is definitely an issue that we can start to prevent.
10. Stormwater is mostly an urban problem. That is a myth. Stormwater picks up pesticides and waste from pastures and fields.



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Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Do You Have Snakes in Your Pond or Lake?

IMG_5643 copySnakes in Ponds and Lakes (Greenville SC, Charlotte NC, & Asheville NC)
Snakes can be scary creatures, especially when you find them in your pond or lake! It’s a known fact that you can find snakes anywhere in North and South Carolina. In Charlotte, Greenville, and Asheville, there are a lot of different snake species. But don’t let that scare you, only a few of those species are venomous to humans! The other species can still be a nuisance by eating your fish. So which snakes are venomous and which ones are not? Let’s find out.
water snake charlotte nc
Non- venomous
First, there are True Water Snakes. They include Midland water snakes, banded water snakes, brown water snakes, and red-bellied water snakes. Next are the Queen, Crayfish and Swamp snakes. They look scary, but they are usually harmless. Then we have Garter and Ribbon Snakes. You will typically find these around your pond instead of in your pond because they aren't as aquatic as water snakes. Finally, we have Mud and Rainbow snakes. They like to prey on amphibians and freshwater eels.
rattle snake charlotte nc
Venomous
Now, the snakes you want to look out for are Western Diamond Rattlesnakes, timber rattlesnakes, Pygmy rattlesnakes, cottonmouth moccasins, and copperheads. They like to live near trees and brush. The good news is that they only tend to bite humans when they are stepped on or when they are being handled (and/or provoked).
Don’t want snakes in or near your pond or lake? There are professionals that can help! If you are looking for ways to prevent them from choosing your pond or lake as a home or if you want to help to get rid of them, there are a few steps you can take to help keep them out.
  • Mow your grass
  • Get rid of rodents
  • Maintain your property
  • Trim shrubs and bushes
  • Eliminate hiding places
  • Get control of insects with a dragonfly habitat
  • Hire a pond management consultant


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Monday, June 20, 2016

Oil Spill or Biofilm?

biofilm charlotte
Biofilm
What is biofilm?
You might not be familiar with the word, but you’ve seen biofilm many times. Biofilm is a thin, slimy layer of bacteria that forms on the surface, in this case, of a pond or lake. It gets into your pipes and drains and can consume your irrigation system. Biofilm is in every irrigation system. It doesn't discriminate. If the biofilms are mature enough, they can form in as little as minutes. Another fun fact, because biofilms are pathogens, they aren’t easily eradicated.
How can you tell the difference between biofilm and an oil spill?
Biofilm can be mistaken for algae bloom or an oil spill. It looks greasy and sits on the surface of the water body. Biofilms come together on the surface of the water when algae (plant) or an animal life dies at a faster rate than the naturally occurring bacteria can degrade it.
How does it affect my pond or lake?
It’s difficult to get ahead of biofilm in regards of getting rid of it. Because it can form so quickly, it can be hard to catch. Biofilm and pond algae are treated differently, so it can be confusing as to what needs to be done.
How do I get rid of it?
There is no set way to get rid of biofilm. However, you can begin to incorporate a plan to remove or burn off the nutrients causing the biofilm.  Bottom aeration, bacteria and enzymes are all part of a proactive plan to reduce biofilms in ponds and lakes.
Give us a call today.  We would love to help you protect, plan and preserve your pond for generations to come.


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Monday, June 6, 2016

Bushy Pondweed- Friend or Foe?

naiads charlotte nc
Bushy Pondweed - Naiads
What is it?
Naiad (also known as southern naiad, water naiad, brittle naiad, slender naiad, sing leaf naiad, or Bushy Pondweed) is a plant that grows annually, forming dense stands of rooted, submerged vegetation in ponds and lakes. They grow entirely submerged in clear water depths of up to 20 feet and can grow from seed each year. The scientific name is Najas flexilis.
What does it look like?
Naiad branches and forms dense strands of rooted vegetation. The leaves are dark green and may have a little purple in them. They are narrow with tiny spines around the edges, opposite or in a whirl of three. Mostly, the leaves are less than a half an inch long and an eighth of an inch wide. You can find single seeds in the leaf sheath. Naiads can have small flowers at the base of the leaves; however, the flowers are so small, they can only be seen by magnification. http://aquaplant.tamu.edu/plant-identification/alphabetical-index/southern-naiad/
How fast does it grow?
Bushy Pondweed doesn’t grow too quickly. It grows annually and can reproduce by seeds or by fragmentation. It is not a total nuisance. It can, however, hinder better plants from moving in. On the other hand, if removed, it can also allow room for less desirable plants to move in.
How do I kill it?
Naiad can be removed by raking or seining, however, it can reestablish by fragmentation. The best way to control southern naiad is with aquatic herbicides such as Aquathol.
As your local pond management professionals, we know the best way to care for your pond or lake in the Charlotte, Asheville, and Greenville area, and would love to send you more information.






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Friday, June 3, 2016

Is American Pondweed Taking Over Your Pond?

american pondweed charlotte
American Pondweed
What is it?
American Pondweed, also known as longleaf pondweed, is a perennial plant that has some floating and some submerged leaves that alternate in a pattern. It’s scientific name is Potamogeton nodosus and it’s in the Potamogetonaceae family. You can find American Pondweed in both North and South Carolina as well as other states.
What does it look like?
You can spot American Pondweed by it’s floating leaves. The floating leaves are oval shaped and about 4 to 7 inches long and about twenty-one inches wide on the longer petioles. There are some submerged leaves, too. There a few submerged leaves and those are blade-like, transparent, and a little smaller than the floating leaves. All on a slender stem. There are fruits that are on the spikes that are usually above the surface of the water and are either brown or red and three to twenty-one inches long and about 1/8 to1/4 inches wide.
How fast does it grow?
This weed spreads pretty quickly. Once it starts, it forms dense mats and blocks sunlight for other submersed vegetation species. American Pondweed is more prominent in the warmer months.
How do I kill it?
You can treat American Pondweed at home; however, it is better to consult a professional who can get it cleared up. Once the process has started, it takes about two to three weeks for it to be completely cleared up.
As professionals, we know the best way to care for your pond or lake and would love to send you more information.




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