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#559637 07/07/23 07:44 PM
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Have a small pond with filamentous algae's and coontail growing out to about 4ft. Both are found around 100% of the perimeter of the pond. The vegetation is using too much of the nutrients and clearing up the water in the summer months. If I decide not to go the biological route, what chemicals would be used to effectively target the submergence coontail and algae? And would a granular approach be better as apposed to a liquid approach for targeting submergence vegetation?

ColeM #559657 07/09/23 03:11 AM
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I've battled coontail for years. I'll share my experiences with you to see if it helps any. I've finally got mine under control as of this summer, or at least so it seems for now.

We bought land with a 2.5-3.0 acre lake in our front yard. Max depth probably 12'-15'. It already had coontail in it. Over the years the coontail had become progressively more prolific until finally it pretty much choked the lake out. Even in the deepest parts it would grow to the surface and mat up. We evientually had a massive fish die off which seemed to accerlerate the issue. I eventually tried herbicides but the cost was extreme for that much growth and it still wasn't making a dent. I tried grass carp and actually stocked a total of 30 over a few year period without it making a dent. I tried raking but it was so thick and so deep it was an impossible feat for myself with that much surface area. We finally drained and dredged the lake starting three years ago. It was 40 years old at the time.

The lake finally filled up in the Spring of last year. Sure enough, moss and coontail came back and it came back hard and fast but not at the depths we had seen before. I bought a couple of landscape rakes with 6 ft. handles and was able to keep the perimeter clear enough to control it. We also bought grass carp hoping they would get it under control but I don't think they eat the stuff honestly. It looked like we would be okay though seeing that raking it was keeping the areas somewhat clear and I only had to go through the spots once or twice last summer. I also imagine that every bit I take out is also removing nutrients along with it that would otherwise have settled and decayed to feed future growth. When I rake, I drag it up onto the bank and let it sit and dry a few days before I go collect it with a pitchfork and haul it off. It's heavy stuff and back breaking work.

We had cleared all the banks of vegetation to allow more wind access and we maintain it such that we can mow around the entire perimeter. I want to limit organic material that bank vegetation will add to it. I've also installed aeration.

This Spring it came on harder, faster and at greater depths than the first year after the rebuild. I wished we would have dyed the lake at the end of winter as my wife suggested but I wanted to take a wait and see approach but it came on too fast. I started raking but this summer I had to go deeper and make a 6ft. extension for one of the rakes and actually use a jonboat to access some of the deeper stuff where I could walk. As I got to raking, we started dying heavily with black dye. I only had to rake it once this season and it has remained so much more clear everywhere I had hit it. People who had visited in the Spring were amazed at how much better the lake looked as well as functioned as a fishing and swimming hole. I've only had to rake it once this season and it looks like we should be good for the rest of the year. I'm curious to see how it comes on once again after winter.

Next year I'll start dying the lake early and then start raking as soon as the water is warm enough to tolerate. Raking and dying seemed to be what has worked best for me so far and hopefully I'll never allow it to get to the point that it covers the entire surface once again.

As for the moss, I never had a big problem with it until we drained and reworked the lake. It came up pretty strong the past two springs but it peters out after the intial onslaught. Right now the only algae that seems to stick is on top of any coontail mats. The rest of the lake remains clear. It really hasn't been a problem.

Coontail is a scourge and I feel for anyone else who has to deal with. I hope you can keep yours under control as it can completely ruin the recreational value of a lake. I'd also love to hear what other pond owners have done to try to combat their coontail issues as well.

Last edited by SherWood; 07/09/23 03:35 AM.
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Thank you for the info! I may try the same. Is the dye theoretically to keep the initial growth limited? And then raking to get any growth thereafter? I was really hoping grass carp would eat the stuff so I didnt have to mess with it!

ColeM #559673 07/09/23 08:01 PM
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We used the dye this year but it was after the grass had already got going. My thought is that if we would have gotten it in earlier, maybe it would have kept the growth down from the get go. However, we did start dyeing significantly as I started in on the raking. The growth in the areas I had already raked slowed down to the point that I can't even see evidence of new growth. For next year, we'll either use dye through the winter or return to using it towards the end of winter.

We tried dark blue first, then blue/black mix, and we didn't like the blue color. The all black seemed more natural.

I'm no expert by any means. I just wanted to share my experience with you in case it could help. I am only a personal pond owner but I'm really trying to maintain a wonderful water body for fishing and recreation. The coontail has been far and away the biggest bummer, and really the only significant bummer that's tried to get in the way of our enjoyment.

I also followed the advice of not getting grass carp until we need it and I wished I would have went with my gut and got them before I first saw the grass. Maybe it wouldn't have mattered because they don't seem to make a difference but also maybe they would have knocked it out immediately as it first tried to re-establish after our pond redo. By the time I realized I was going to have a coontail problem all over again, it just blew up and got away from me in no time at all.

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Yea that makes sense. Seems like a tough plant to get control of for sure, and every tank around here seems to be moderately infested with the stuff!

ColeM #559679 07/10/23 09:13 AM
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Are there things we can stock that would benefit fish, and at the same time use coontail? Something like PK shrimp or scuds? I have coontail, don't want to take extreme measures to deal with it but would love to find a way to make it help. Something that converted the problem into a positive would be nice!

ColeM #559683 07/10/23 10:00 AM
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Cole,

You never mentioned what fish are in the pond?

As catscratch asks, there are many organisms other than carp that also eat aquatic plants.

I am thinking(?) crayfish might do some serious damage to your coontail - but only if you DO NOT have predator fish in the pond. In a clay bottom pond, once the crayfish start thinning the plants, then the bass, etc. would quickly clear out your crayfish and ruin the plan.

I know there have been threads about crayfish clearing out the aquatic plants pretty effectively, especially after their initial stocking population increased substantially. However, I don't recall if coontail was one of the plants they mowed down?

Finally, if you do wipeout the coontail, then your algae problem will get worse, but then you would only be treating ONE problem.

ColeM #559724 07/11/23 06:43 PM
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currently there are just BG, RES,and LMB in the pond. There are quite a bit of ghost shrimp as well as Gambusia Affinis. As far as vegetation, most of it is contain, however there are a few other pondweeds mixed in that have been almost suffocated, as well as a thick algae mat that goes the entire perimeter of the pond. I would like to get rid of most of the contain while keeping the ideal 20-30% perimeter vegetation as well. I figured I would use grass carp for the coontail (however dye and raking may be a good alternative now), and spray the algae mats with chemicals. Is this a good plan? I have predators... and too many. That's a whole other issue im working to resolve lol.

ColeM #560064 07/29/23 06:45 PM
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A mixture of Cutrine Plus liquid to kill the algae along with Diquat will kill the coontail. Use the amount of Cutrine Plus that is listed on the label according to the amount of filamentous algae, and add to that anywhere from 1 qt to 2 qts of Diquat per acre foot of water to kill the coontail. The Cutrine Plus is needed to kill the algae on the coontail, then the Diquat will be able to be absorbed by the coontail re-treat as needed you can re-treat every 2 weeks until the coontail is under control.

Diquat dibromide is found in Reward and Tribune herbicides.

Try it at the rate that I noted above - it works.


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If you don't kill the coontail before it forms bunchy winter buds in the bushy ends - "coontails" of the branched plants, then the winter buds break off, settle to the bottom and sprout new plants in spring. Coontail usually occurs as tangled masses of plants that are not rooted and float freely in the water. At times the plants can form 'roots'. but plants don't seem to need the roots. The underwater flowers form spiny seeds. I would try as much as feasible to remove as much plant biomass as possible before killing it. Removal takes out lots of nutrients that were used for growth. All of it dying in the pond will release all the absorbed nutrients to grow some other plant or more coontail next year. Be sure it is coontail as it can be confused with milfoils, Elodea, and Chara (aka Stonewort).

Last edited by Bill Cody; 07/30/23 07:04 AM. Reason: clarifying

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ColeM #563299 12/30/23 11:51 PM
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I remember posting in this thread months ago and wanted to come back to it to share what has happened in my lake with my coontail problem since posting about it.

I had raked my tail off during the summer trying to get ahead of the growth. I would say I removed at least half of what was in the lake, maybe a bit more. I did all of the work in the near part of the lake, where the house, dock, and our fishing and swimming area is and I let the back half go.

Well, by Fall, it appeared that the coontail was eliminated pretty much everywhere. The large mats that I left alone disappeared. My wife thinks it was because of my work, and although I'd love for her to believe my muscle and sweat made the difference, I do believe it was the grass carp that must have turned the tide. In less than two years, the grass carp had grown to abouit 20 inches. I caught one fishing with a worm and was amazed at how large it had already grown, at least a few pounds. They may have finally grown large enough to make a difference.

The ironic thing is now I worry that maybe my fishery will be hurt by the lack of vegetation. I have several large brush piles sunk out there but plan to add more in the spring. I have a sizeable dock and am thinking about stuffing the underneath full of brush as all of my other structure I added is away from the swimming and main fishing area around the dock and our home.

One oddity I wanted to share...

After the coontail appeared to be gone, I was mowing along one of my banks and clippings were going out into the water. It looked like grass carp were feeding off the floating clippings. I could see them swimming in the shallows and tapping the surface and it looked to me like they were actually eating it. Now I am left wondering what drawbacks I could expect if the carp don't have much of anything left to eat that is growing in the water.

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ColeM #563301 12/31/23 09:26 AM
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Thanks for the good follow up post, Sherwood!

Are your carp triploids, or can they reproduce in your pond?

If triploids, then it is possible to manage your numbers with some doughball fishing or archery. However, I highly recommend watching the plant cycle over next year before making any radical decisions.

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They are triploids. I probably put too many in the lake but I got a bit panicked when after the pond redo the grass came back in a bad way. Before the redo, the carp never seemed to put a dent in the coontaiI which made me believe they might rather starve than eat that nasty stuff. I think I put 12 to 14 in at about 8 inches. I've caught three now while fishing with worms and powerbait for catfish and bluegill. I've thought about taking some out but as you said, I believe I will wait to see how the grass is over the next warm season.

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Sherwood, how many did you put in the pond? Without underwater weeds, your algae problems might be worse than they were last year. Without underwater weeds to feed the TGC, you probably see turbid water from them rooting around in the bottom to find things to eat. With them following the mower, that tells me that they are running out of things to eat. Mowing the clippings into the pond is adding nutrients, which is not a good thing, try to blow them away from the pond if possible.

Typically you want 7-14 TGC per vegetated acre.


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Originally Posted by Bill Cody
If you don't kill the coontail before it forms bunchy winter buds in the bushy ends - "coontails" of the branched plants, then the winter buds break off, settle to the bottom and sprout new plants in spring. Coontail usually occurs as tangled masses of plants that are not rooted and float freely in the water. At times the plants can form 'roots'. but plants don't seem to need the roots. The underwater flowers form spiny seeds. I would try as much as feasible to remove as much plant biomass as possible before killing it. Removal takes out lots of nutrients that were used for growth. All of it dying in the pond will release all the absorbed nutrients to grow some other plant or more coontail next year. Be sure it is coontail as it can be confused with milfoils, Elodea, and Chara (aka Stonewort).

Any chance the huge flocks of ducks that winter on our pond are eating the winter buds on my coontail, helping to keep it under control during the summer?

esshup #563322 01/01/24 11:32 PM
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Originally Posted by esshup
Sherwood, how many did you put in the pond? Without underwater weeds, your algae problems might be worse than they were last year. Without underwater weeds to feed the TGC, you probably see turbid water from them rooting around in the bottom to find things to eat. With them following the mower, that tells me that they are running out of things to eat. Mowing the clippings into the pond is adding nutrients, which is not a good thing, try to blow them away from the pond if possible.

Typically you want 7-14 TGC per vegetated acre.


I believe I have around 14 in a 2 1/2 acre BOW. Much of it had extreme amounts of coontail growing in it. The guy I bought the fish from was adamant that I was buying too many but I wanted to do what I thought I needed to try to do.

I truly wasn't expecting that kind of decimation of the plants and I do worry about the repurcussions. Our water is still very clear at least. As for the mower, I almost always try to keep it from blowing into the water to limit organic matter entering the pond but I can't remember why I decided to allow for it on that day. It looked like the carp were eating the clippings although that wasn't my intention. They do eat my fish food at least. I've seen them do that.

I'm not sure what I am going to do other than take a wait and see approach. Talking to my wife about it the other day, she says I am always finding something to worry about with the pond management. At this point, we both feel that beating the grass back was the most urgent and important thing we could do. That was the biggest reason we did a full draining and redo in the first place.

As for the FA I expect at least some kind of bloom in the Spring. We've had it the past couple of Springs but it goes away as it warms up. We rarely saw it before the redo.
Hopefully the catfish and carp will feed on it, but I'll just have to cross that bridge when I come to it. Maybe it will decrease in severity, maybe increase. I am extremely curious to see how things turn out moving into our third Spring and Summer after the pond refilled.

One thing is for certain. Although I am sure my work has been far from perfect, the improvements have been enormous for the most part and we are incredibly pleased and relieved to have put the time and money into working on it. The difference is night and day with the mess we had before and the beautiful situation we have going now both visibly and recreationally. Of all the problems, the coontail infestation was the worst.


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