Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Pond Scum


I know what you are thinking. " A whole post on pond scum? FC has run out of tales...CLICK! I'm outta here."

It's not that bad...I just wanted to share my pond misery. My pond has Chara growing in it. Chara is an algae, not a vascular plant. It only takes a few cells surviving the winter, or the pond drying out, and Chara is back. It's hard to get rid of Chara.

Here's a list of Chara's fine qualities.
It grows in extremely dense patches and tends to completely fill in the shallows. It crowds out and smothers more desirable aquatics. When it dies back in the winter...or if you were to poison it, it sinks to the bottom to decay and suck the oxygen and life out of your pond.Let's see, that about does it...no, wait, it also stinks. Literally, it stinks. The other names for it are musk grass, stink weed, ...you get the picture.

I used to just wade in there and grab huge clumps of it to toss up on the bank. That was until a giant water bug (stop it, I'm not kidding) bit me on the hand and reminded me of what tissue dissolving enzymes feel like when they are injected under your skin. They hurt. Alot.

Now I use a huge rake, but I know I'm wasting my time since the smallest fragment left behind will start a whole new crop. I don't really want to use chemicals to control it so I rake, it grows, I rake some more, it grows some more.

Feather, the lab, doesn't seem to mind it. Maybe I could design a strap on rake that she could drag behind her as she swims ...hmmmm, it could work.

I'm kidding...

Thank you for listening to my whining.Posted by Picasa

9 comments:

Anonymous said...

I once read in an organic gardening publication that the way to eradicate bindweed was to pull it out by hand . . .every two weeks for the rest of your life. (!) Doesn't that sound about right for your Chara?

Sorry, no Blogger ID. (No grandchild old enough to show me around my computer yet.) Actually, she may never be able to help me, as she will not understand how one can rescue a computer from the trash, and turn it into an internet only machine on a midwestern dial-up connection. (And expect to "play with others". sigh)

roger said...

our pond has quite a load of algae of several types. one is a bilious greenish yellow and grows on the surface of the water. another is a slightly less obnoxious green and grow on all surfaces wet or covered thinly by water. another is a non-descript brownish and grows underwater. (please excuse the excessively technical descriptions) following the advice of several books and websites i put barley straw in the pond. it hasn't stopped the algae, but the water is now very clear.

we clean the pond manually, leaving the bottom stuff for the fish to hide in. from the heron who comes by.

Kodijack said...

yeah, but think about all of the composting you can do with stinkweed, or is it bad for that as well. Is this an invasive species?

Thanks.

Floridacracker said...

Anonymous,
LOL! I think that advice fits Chara perfectly. Thanks for stopping by.

DPR,
I have read about the barley straw. My water is actually pretty clear...that's part of the problem. The Chara really appreciates the unfiltered light for photosynthesis. This pond is probably 60 X 30. Thanks for the advice.

Kodijack,
You have a good point. I have used it some, but one of it's other qualities is that it is loaded with calcium. If you dry it out it actually turns white as the calcium is exposed. That can change your soil pH if you're not careful.
It's a native species so I can't hate it like I do the exotics. Darn! Hey, thanks for stopping in.

Weary Hag said...

Okay, that bug is nasty! Is that the same as what we northerners call a 'water skimmer?' They lie on top of a pool of water and race across the top as though walking on water. I always thought (and prayed) they were harmless, but now that I see this photo, it looks quite similar. Say it isn't so!!!

Zanne said...

OK.....super pond scum, water bugs with tissue dissolving enzymes, gators, wild hogs, skeeters, rattlesnakes, water snakes, microbes that crawl up your nose and infect your brain.....

I'm an 8th generation Floridian with the bad luck to have been born in Chicago, but I'll still take the 100 inches of snow and hoarefrost over those critters!

thingfish23 said...

Weary Hag - you're talking about water striders. They are harmless, and very difficult to catch!

The water bugs FC is talking about hang out below the surface and breathe through a sort of "snorkel" situated at their hind end. They get very big (I've seen 'em 3+ inches), are strong swimmers, and are quick to defend themselves with a strong venom-injecting beak.

Your water-striders would do the same if they could. They do have the same type of mouthparts (hollow and sharp for piercing and sucking). But they are more timid and quicker on the escape.

I think I feel a post coming on here...

Thanks for the inspiration, WH and FC!

Hick said...

After reading the above posts with all that talk of water skimmers or striders or skippers, I looked very carefully at FC's picture and even enlarged it. I realize I am only a humble Hick, but out here in the wilds of the Sierra Nevadas, we call those things dogs...or maybe Black Labs would be more descriptive. You people on the East Coast slay me.

Floridacracker said...

Weary,
Thing beat me to it, but he's right. I wouldn't worry about water striders.

Zanne,
You left off stingrays, sharks,jellyfish, fire coral, and tourists.

Thing,
You really do love insects. It shows in your writing. Cool.

Hick,
Heh!