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Please forgive this long post but the more information I read here, the more I hear the advisors ask for more details and I am in need of your advice. I am a "new" pond owner having recently purchased a piece of property that borders mine and have found your site in the hopes of gaining some knowledge on how to improve our fishery. Sadly, even though we live within a half hour of one of the premier pond consultants in our part of the country, today I found out my youngest son needs braces. My budget for his consultation is now gone and I must do it on my own. Which brings me here….

We live in rural North Georgia on a road that has more cattle and horses than people….and numerous very good ponds to fish. Having access to most of these we have been a bit spoiled, but when the opportunity came for us to buy the 10 acres joining us for both pasture and an approx. .65 acre pond, we jumped on it. Nothing like fishing your own water, at least what we have caught so far has meant more to us than the bigger fish from our neighbor's ponds. The previous owners bought it as an investment 6 years ago right before we bought our land and built our log cabin and as such really didn't do much to improve it's fishing. Thankfully for us, the market tanked and they sold it to us for a very good price. At one point, they had someone come in with a back hoe and dig out as far as they could reach around the edges which helped remove some of the silt/sludge accumulated over the years but still it's probably 5' deep at it's deepest. From the best of the knowledge of those who've lived here for many years it has been here for as long as anyone can remember, at least 20 years. It's spring fed as well as runoff from a creek that runs through our hardwood forest of 27 acres. It did go almost completely dry during a severe drought 4 years ago but since then has remained a constant water flow both incoming and outgoing and is remarkably cool even during our hot southern summers (today air temps were mid 90's and the surface water temp was around 77 degrees at 6pm).

Some pics for reference:











Our primary goal is an eventual trophy bluegill fishery, specifically because we are a family of fly fishing nuts. From what I've been able to determine that can be done with a pond this small. Currently we have too many small bream (2-5") with maybe 15% over 6" and maybe another 10% above that. 90% of these are bluegills that were not stocked by humans since the drought, with a few GSN's (a couple of these are the biggest bream in the pond with only a couple small ones caught since April when we purchased it. What few bass we have moved in are very fat. I know of 3 that are 5-7#'s and probably 5-7 from under 1-3 #'s, best guess. I have seen no really small bass that I have seen. We have a school of 4-5 common carp between 2-4#'s, I have no idea where they came from. We have caught 2 Crappie and now realize from reading here any of those we catch from this point on will meet the fillet knife.

So that goal given, I need help prioritizing my actions. I think I need to improve the habitat before I work on the stock situation, but willing to hear your input on that also. I will start what I am sure is a lengthy series of questions limited to two areas: weeds, depth or both simultaneously and how. I think our biggest problem, besides it being shallow, is the weed infestation we currently have.







Can anyone positively help me identify this weed and in a pond this small, can we use chemical help without causing fish kill or detrimental effects by adding more nutrient matter with dead plants to the already obviously very rich substrate.

Should I build something to block the water flow to deepen the pond first, or deal with the weeds before doing so….or simultaneously? We have attempted some mechanical removal but I not only is it an unbelievably difficult task to do by hand but my time spent at work, and our desire to fish/hunt on the weekends has made the possibility of total mechanical removal a very daunting task. We spent an entire Saturday with myself, my wife and my 15 yr and 11 yr old sons and were only able to clear an area maybe 10'x20'…which not only muddied the water for a week and gave me great concerns over stirring up the bottom muck. It also filled in within in a few weeks. The deeper areas do not have nearly as many weeds, hence my hope that maybe increasing the depth will help me some but don't want to do that if it's counterproductive to removal. I have 2-3 dumptruck piles of topsoil from previous projects here on the farm but would I be wasting it putting it directly in the outflow?



I don't really have the money to invest in rock right now, but can certainly come up with countless large dead/dry pieces of timber for reinforcement if that will help. Thoughts on the possibility of a budget dam?

Again, sorry if this is too long but I thought more info is better than too little at this point. Please correct me if this needs to be split to multiple posts to multiple sub-forums. Any help and or advice would be greatly appreciated.

JC

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Hi JC and welcome to the PB Forum.
The "weed" is actually a form of algae known as Chara, muskweed or by its well-deserved nickname - skunkweed.
You can read more details about this infamous pest HERE.
Judging by the density and maturity of the Chara in your photos, it may be beyond a successful chemical treatment this season.
Water-hardness (high), excessive water clarity and nutrients are likely major contributors for its abundance.

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Thank you Kelly. I had thought it was Chara from what I've read but it really doesn't smell in my opinion. Everyone talked about how stinky it is so I just discounted that as my misidentification. It does however have all the other characteristics. This is the first time posting a picture anywhere so I will go with your identification. If I continue to mechanically remove portions then chemically treat the areas that I remove with a product like Citrine-Plus Granular, will that at least kill the weed in the areas I remove it? It was very discouraging to clear what we did only to have it fill right back in within a few weeks. I would continue the mechanical removal if we could prevent the fill in. My thought with that is to mechanically remove as much as possible in order to prevent adding even more nutrients into the pond from the dead vegetation. Can chara like this be successfully controlled if chemically treated in the early spring?

You have the water conditions correct: it is what I would classify as hard water, it is exceptionally clear, and the bottom of the pond has more than enough "nutrients" to keep tons of this chara happy and healthy.

Thoughts on increasing water depth to help with it's elimination and thoughts on how to do so?

Thanks for your help.

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Welcome to Pond Boss, JC! I agree wholeheartedly with Kelly - you have lots of chara!

One of my ponds is very similar to yours - about half an acre, deepest point is 5 - 6 feet and the rest is probably an average of 3 feet. I really like the pond, but the weeds and algae are just crazy.

In my case, I believe one of the major factors has been a large goose population using the pond over many, many years. When we bought the farm almost two years ago, the geese were rampant. It was not uncommon for me to find flocks of literally more than 100 geese floating on the pond in early morning hours when I'd go out early. They have been doing this for a long time and I suspect have pooped more nutrients into the pond than 100 ponds could have used in a lifetime!

Unlike your pond, I do not have a regular inflow and outflow of water, so I only have meaningful water exchange from late winter through mid spring normally. The rest of the year, my water is stable. I have chara, filamentous algae (FA), curly leaf pondweed, and some others in lesser concentrations that I haven't tried to identify yet. I have had serious problems with watermeal the last couple of years, but this year treated early with Whitecap (purchased from Greg Grimes at a great price) and have not seen the watermeal yet.

Whitecap kills everything, though the FA bounces back quickly. Obviously, there are a lot of nutrients left in the water using the chemical route and that is one of the big undesirable side effects. Whitecap may also not be your best solution since you have what appears to be a pretty constant outflow. To be effective, Whitecap needs to maintain a minimum concentration and if the pond flushes, that may be harder to accomplish.

Manual removal is best, but as you've learned, is incredibly time intensive. Excavation could be a huge positive for both of our situations because you end up eliminating much if not all of the organic muck built up on the pond bottom and that eliminates a lot the excessive nutrients so you can have a more balanced shot at maintaining healthy vegetation levels. But, excavation is not an inexpensive proposition.

One thought would be to consider an aeration system. I think aeration is a very cost effective way to make an impact on your pond and, while it doesn't solve all the problems, can go a long way towards moving you to your goals. Aeration will certainly aid in reducing, over time, your organic buildup. It will help clean your water via circulation and aeration that will eliminate some nutrient buildup through allowing the water to "off-gas." It will also allow you to better support the fish population that you plan to develop and will help, to an extent, eliminate some of the shortfalls of a shallow pond.

Aeration systems can be elaborate or fairly straight forward and the costs generally seem to vary with the complexity of the system you install. For my money, I will add aeration as the first thing once I get electric run to my pond.

I've got to run, but thought I'd at least toss out these few thoughts to you. Keep asking questions and be involved! Great to have you here!


Todd La Neve

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If you want trophy bluegill, you are going to have to really limit the number of bluegill that stay in the pond. For this, I suggest you kill the pond and stock hybird bluegills as they will grow bigger and will not reproduce in large numbers.

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Thank you for the welcome Todd. Greg is about 35 miles from me but recent events with one of my son's (braces) stole my budget for using him as a consultant. I will definitely get him out here as soon as the funds present themselves.

Your pond sounds much like mine. I am determined to get the algae problem under control, one way or another. Considering that there is no growth in the deeper areas around the edges I think increasing the depth will help me some...it certainly can't hurt because it will definitely help the fish population. I am pondering the possibility that there is no chara around the edge since that is where the bucket was able to evacuate the dirt (and sludge) when the previous owners attempted to make it deeper...but then there is definitely an area that the bucket did not dig, but is deeper and there is no chara. No clear answer with those criteria to this neophyte.

Yes, steady in/outflows, but when I restrict the outflow to hopefully raise the level about 18" (by my rough calculation) there will be a short period of time to where there will only be inflow. I wonder if that will be enough to use the product you mention. I do have FA too but it's not too terribly bad, at least it's certainly secondary to the chara.

If I could just get something to keep it from coming back, I would do mechanical removal. But seeing that area very quickly fill back in just about broke our hearts. I have since learned we may have inadvertently helped the chara by doing the removal because we stirred up the detritus in the process, further making nutrients available to the chara. Best bet would be to dredge, that would fix both problems at once....but though I am blessed beyond what I deserve, that is waaaaaay out of the budgetary question I'm sure.

From what I have read, aeration is 3rd on my list. If there is enough definitive opinion that says aeration will definitely help my weed problem more than anything else for that expense I will focus my resources there. I have access to a spare compressor, cheap source for line and at least as a trial I could rig up a bubble head. But I don't want to go through all that effort when that will only have marginal effect on the weeds. It's in the plan, just down the list.

Thank you so much for your input....much more to ponder. The more I know, the more I know I don't :-).

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jludwig, if that's what it comes down to to get monster bluegills I will more than likely just accept what I do get out of it with other management practices and leave the "trophy" title off the table. I don't have the heart to poison the fish I both transplanted and were there on their own that I have enjoyed catching. Not sure if it will get me to my ultimate goal, but I can easily legally relocate about as many bass as are realistic to work on population control, then remove them as necessary. That seems to be a viable option from what I have read hear and much more fitting to my personality than the poison. But thank you for another option to consider.

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JC, Cliff Notes: "Trophy" BG can be had if you have a dense LMB population, which limits the recruitment of YOY BG, leaving more food for the remaining BG. With lots of weeds for the BG to hide in, that puts a crimp on the LMB catching and eating the BG. Lots of LMB 16" and under will get you on your way to having trophy BG, but that precludes catching large LMB from your pond.

The Chara probably isn't growing in the deeper water because of limited light transmission. If you can get the plants whacked back enough to get a good bloom going, and keep water clarity (when measured with a secchi disk) to 18"-24", that will limit the plant growth to (ballpark) 36" deep water or less.

Regular BG will grow larger than the HBG, if you are feeding, it is generally about year 3 that they surpass the growth rate of the HBG.

Chara is hard to kill once it gets old and has the brittle covering that older plants have that are growing in harder water. If you manually remove the plants, and when new growth occurs, the new growth is easily whacked back by Cutrine plus. Since algae grows fast, you might have to whack it back on a monthly or 6 week program, but you can keep the areas that you manually clear out clean by that process. (manual removal and them treating the areas when you see new growth)

Manual removal will help the pond be removing nutrients bound up in the plants.

The Whitecap needs to be a certain PPB for a certain amount of time. I'd raise the level of the pond, making note of how long it takes to raise before overflowing. If you can drain the pond down, apply the whitecap, and have enough time to keep the pone at the correct PPB before it overflows, you're golden. If not, then probably Cutrine and Diquat based herbicides would be the best route to take.


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JC I don't use chemicals so this would be my approach to your pond weeds, chara and filamentous algae problems. Since you live in N. Georgia I'm guessing your pond temperature may not get below 45 or 50 degrees in the winter. If so, why not stock some Tilapia (that wouldn't die out because of cold water temperatures) for FA filamentous algae control, and white Amur grass carp for the chara control.

I purposely planted Eurasian Milfoil in my one acre pond. It grew so thick that I couldn't lift the boat oars out of the water because so much EM was draped over them. I put in 6 GC the first year and another 12 the second year (too many) and in four years it was completely gone.
I see Chara is one of the plants GC like to eat.


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Originally Posted By: Todd3138
Whitecap kills everything, though the FA bounces back quickly. Obviously, there are a lot of nutrients left in the water using the chemical route and that is one of the big undesirable side effects. Whitecap may also not be your best solution since you have what appears to be a pretty constant outflow. To be effective, Whitecap needs to maintain a minimum concentration and if the pond flushes, that may be harder to accomplish.

Thought it best to amend Todd's statement to avoid any misunderstandings.
Whitecap, Sonar, Avast (all are fluridone-based herbicides) will only control a limited group of susceptible vascular plants - and have NO AFFECT on any specie of algae (a group to which Chara belongs). If anything, fluridone may actually enhance algae-growth by triggering the release of nutrients from the macrophyte plants that subsequently die and decompose. However, Todd is absolutely correct in respect to fluridone's inappropriate use in transient/non-static BOWs. Extended periods of contact-time, at lethal concentrations, are required for fluridone's cost-effective performance. Flow-through aquatic environments required a completely different approach; and since Chara is the primary issue in this particular case, fluridone is definitely not the answer.

@John - it gets pretty darn cold in N. Georgia. Didn't they have snow in Atlanta last winter?? Also, isn't Eurasian watermilfoil on the invasive-species list in IN? Lastly, to say that GC "like to eat" Chara is a stretch (IMO). They might subsist on it - after eating everything else that ranks higher on their food-preference list. But, I've seen numerous ponds and lakes with plenty of grasscarp - and Chara issues.

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Kelly the reason I said GC eat Chara is only because I looked it up on their eating list, and not from my own personal experience. It was listed in the primary list of foods they like and not the secondary, but it’s really up to the fish.

Eurasian milfoil is on the invasive-species list here in IN but they might as well make it a native plant as it is everywhere I go kayaking and it's probably here forever as are thistles and wild carrots. My pond is isolated and bermed and there is no inlet or outlet into the wild, just an overflow into my farm field so I can experiment without effecting others. But the toothpaste is out of the tube concerning Eurasian milfoil. For all the efforts to stop this plant the battle has been lost. When I put GC in my pond the Eurasian milfoil was listed as a secondary plant that they didn't eat well, on the list I had at the time. But they really went after it. Eurasian milfoil is a plant that spoils human recreation but from my experience the aquatic life loved it.


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Thank you all for the input.

Esshup, that is our stocking plan for bass, "small" bass we catch in neighboring ponds will go in ours, at least until we get the small bluegill under control. I'm not sure how many we should strive for though. I caught one small LM the other evening on a popper that might have been 12" and so fat he looked like he was going to pop. 2-3 times in the last few weeks I've had a bream hooked up that was grabbed by a bass while playing it....both let go but it was a wild few minutes on a 2wt fly rod. Incidentally both bream were around 5". I do want to mix in some HBG simply to find out if they are indeed more aggressive as some say. I REALLY appreciate the confirmation that the Cutrine+ will help prevent recurring growth after manual removal. That is going to be our main plan of attack for now to see what effect we can make immediately/short term. After the Cutrine we will be budgeting for a few grass carp just to see if we can keep it under control with predation.

John, I'm not a fan of chemicals either but we are at the point of an epidemic in my opinion and I think for the immediate future I need to do something drastic to get the weeds under control. Maybe the GC will help keep it under control.

As far as Talapia, they are illegal to stock in ponds/lakes in GA. You must have a special permit and very controlled conditions to keep them in anything other than an aquarium, and then even then you are not allowed to keep them in a pond/lake, especially with an outflowing water source. We also see a couple of weeks per year with lows in the low teens and sometimes less. Not as cold as you guys in IN but cold enough for a southern boy. Even though the pond is spring fed, it usually gets a thin crust of ice on a regular basis during the winter so even legalities aside, they would have a very short growing period here.

Kelly, I am going to risk a few GC after we make some progress with manual removal just to see if they will help. My hope is the Curtrine+ will help minimize re-growth and the areas that we may miss with either method will be eliminated by the GC and overall new growth will be controlled, or at least minimized, by their appetites. There's not much else growing in there now besides FA and Chara so they will either resort to eating it or we'll have expensive fertilizer after they float.

Again, thanks for the great input guys, every little bit helps steer me towards a better decision.

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Manually removing chara will spread it and late season treatment might be ineffective.


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NEW MEMBER TODAY CAUSE I THE SAME QUESTION, I HAVE SOME QUESTIONS THAT I NEED ANSWERED. FIRST WHAT IM DEALING WITH.

i JUST INHERTED A 4 ACRE BORROW PIT (POND) THAT WAS DUG IN 1965 TO BUILD NIEGHBORING OVERPASSES. STOCKING OF FISH IS SATISFACTORY. LARGE BLUE GILLS (GREENS, PUMPKINS,BLACK CRAPPIE, WAR MOUTHS ETC...), FAIR SIZED LMB, RANGING IN SIZE FROM MINNOWS TO ADULT(DONT KNOW PROPER LINGO YET)

POND IS LOCATED IN NORTHERN OHIO ON THE ERIE SHORE, THE POND IS SURROUNDED BY TREES, THAT EVERY WINTER SHED THEIR LEAVES INTO THE POND, SO PLENTY OF NUTRIENTS AT THE BOTTOM. CHLARA IS ALL AROUND THE RIM OF THE POND, IT STINKS ESPECIALLY ON HOT DRY DAYS. IMPOSSIBLE TO FISH, FROM SHORE (GREAT FOR KEEPING THE LOCALS OUT OF IT). THE OTHER WEEK I MANNUALLY REMOVED SOME. SAME THING HAPPENED, MUDDIED THE WATER FOR A WEEK AND DAYS LATER IT WAS THE SAME.

MY qUESTIONS ARE:
HOW MUCH IS TOO MUCH?

WHAT IS A GOOD AMOUNT?; BECAUSE IS DOES PROVIDE HABITAT RIGHT?

GRASS CARP HAVE TO BE STERILE RIGHT? DONT LIKE CHEMICALS. DONT LIKE INVASIVE SPECIES

ARE GC EASILY HARVESTED?(READ A LITTLE ON THEM;BUT JUST JOINED TODAY)

cAN YOU TEST YOUR WATER WITH ACCURACY TO FIND NUTRIENT LEVELS AND WHICH ONES ARE PRESENT?

cAN YOU SPOT TREAT (THINKING OF JUST PUTTING IN A SWIMMING LANE TO THE FLOATING DOCK) WITH EFFECTIVENESS?

i KNOW ITS ALOT OF QUESTIONS BUT AS WITH AS NEW THINGS I HAVE PLENTY OF THEM............ THQANKS............

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Originally Posted By: Kelly Duffie
Originally Posted By: Todd3138
Whitecap kills everything, though the FA bounces back quickly. Obviously, there are a lot of nutrients left in the water using the chemical route and that is one of the big undesirable side effects. Whitecap may also not be your best solution since you have what appears to be a pretty constant outflow. To be effective, Whitecap needs to maintain a minimum concentration and if the pond flushes, that may be harder to accomplish.

Thought it best to amend Todd's statement to avoid any misunderstandings.
Whitecap, Sonar, Avast (all are fluridone-based herbicides) will only control a limited group of susceptible vascular plants - and have NO AFFECT on any specie of algae (a group to which Chara belongs). If anything, fluridone may actually enhance algae-growth by triggering the release of nutrients from the macrophyte plants that subsequently die and decompose. However, Todd is absolutely correct in respect to fluridone's inappropriate use in transient/non-static BOWs. Extended periods of contact-time, at lethal concentrations, are required for fluridone's cost-effective performance. Flow-through aquatic environments required a completely different approach; and since Chara is the primary issue in this particular case, fluridone is definitely not the answer.


Thanks for setting me straight on that, Kelly. That's an important distinction and one that definitely needed to be pointed out. That's why I consider myself a rank amateur at this stuff! I've been away from the forum for about a week and have a lot of catching up to do, but, again, I appreciate the info in your post and will catalog that away in my mental stores!


Todd La Neve

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jdank I found that trying to take out GC is hard. They are very smart. I would feed my fish a little every day so I could see what I had and how big they were. I had 18 GC in the 20 to 30 lb range and most would come to the deck with the rest of the fish at feeding time. So I bought a five prong fish spear and nailed one but I couldn't hold on to the spear and it was pulled out of my hand, and later I found the spear on the bottom and retrieved it. From that day on not one GC would come up to eat so I could get another chance to spear one. The following winter I bought an even bigger pronged spear and in the spring only one GC would sometimes come up to feed. I speared him and again he was too big to hold, and again I found the spear on the pond bottom. Neither of the GC died. The rest of the year not one GC showed up to feed. Then I had a fish kill last winter and they all died except one I still see swimming in the pond. So that solved that problem.

I was reading online of a lake association that had stocked GC and was trying to take some of them out and nothing was really working. Finally one guy made up a dough ball mixture and he was catching them by hook. I can't remember what was in the mixture but maybe you can do a search and come up with the post or article. I knew I should have saved it.


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Well I was finally able to scrape up enough to get Greg Grimes and crew out to take a look at my pond last week. Greg, his associate Matt, and Tommy who came along to discuss my dam, were very professional and knowledgeable. The good news is, what I have isn't chara.

Note From B.Cody. I agree with weed professional K.Duffie - Chara. "G.Grimes and crew" have misidentified the plant. Although it is possible that G.Grimes & Co. happen to see a different plant from the pond than the one pictured. However the plant is definitely Chara in the above pictures.

I purchased a supply of Diquat from them and am now making periodic and sectional treatments of the pond. The mechanical removal was a seemingly endless task with lots of work getting very little effect. I am very happy to have a potential answer that doesn't seem as quite as hopeless as perpetually dragging tons of the weed to shore for disposal. I am going to wait for a few weeks before I spray a new section in hopes of preventing any adverse dissolved oxygen effects from the dying plants. They agreed I needed to get the plants out as my DO levels dramatically fluctuate from daylight/dark periods further stressing the fish. They also recommended added numerous grass carp to help keep the weeds down in the future....after I deepen the pond and control my outflow so they don't escape.

Sadly, I don't have the skill or the equipment I will need to get the dam done but Greg brought along Tommy who was very knowledgeable and will do the work as soon as I can come up with the price of admission. He thinks we can easily gain 2 feet overall from the dam + really how much ever I want from digging out with the bucket around the edges of the pond. This will go a long way to helping control the weed problem as well as overall fish health, now all I have to do is find the money.

The best news was my water quality. I knew my pond was spring fed but didn't realize how unique it was to have as much water flowing out as I do, especially this time of year. They all thought my outflow was amazing considering the conditions of many of the local ponds this time of year. With the air temp at a balmy 88 at 9:30am, the surface water temp was 75...and I'm sure much colder than that in the are of the spring's source. pH was 6.9, hardness was 80 and alkalinity was 86, apparently both good numbers for raising quality fish from their reactions.

Eventually I will add a feeder and aeration, but it will take me quite a while to get the funds for the dam so that's not happening any time soon. The main thing is, they all think it's a project that I should set high expectations for and will see my eventual goals reached by following the plan.

If you guys get the chance to use Greg's services, I highly recommend him and his team as an investment well worth the price.

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JC, what did they identify the weed as?


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Sorry esshup, I'm sure they told me but I kind of glazed over a bit when I was told the cost of the Diquat. But, still will be cheaper in the long run than the amount of time to remove it manually considering how long it has taken us to put even minor dents in it. It may be wishful thinking but it already looks like it is making a difference in the area I sprayed Thursday evening.

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Just so you can feel better about it, price Whitecap for treating your pond. grin


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3/4 to 1 1/4 ac pond LMB, SMB, PS, BG, RES, CC, YP, Bardello BG, (RBT & Blue Tilapia - seasonal).
Joined: Jul 2011
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J
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J
Joined: Jul 2011
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Wow, I DO feel better after seeing that price! shocked shocked shocked shocked


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