Controlling Algae Growth in a Natural Swimming Pond

Algae is one of the most discouraging parts of natural pond ownership. It’s a natural and inevitable part of a pond’s life cycle, but it’s also unpleasant to swim through and can seem impossible to eliminate. You don’t have to immediately turn to strong peroxides and dyes just to get your natural pond to clear out again. Depending on the type of algae you’re dealing with in your natural swimming pond, these four techniques should help you deal with most of the growth.

Shade vs Sun

Reducing the amount of direct sunlight falling on the water’s surface is one of the most effective natural ways to stop algae growth. Algae thrives in sunlight and requires relatively warm water to rapidly reproduce. You can always temporarily increase the shade over the pond by hanging a shade screen or sail. This creates cooler and darker water right where you need it to fight the algae growth. There’s also no need to remove leaves every fall if you hang a temporary shade screen instead of planting shade trees around the pond.

Physical Removal

When you’re dealing primarily with filamentous algae rather than fine and grainy growth, you can use a skimmer net or scoop to remove as much as possible by hand. However, this is a time consuming and laborious process that can wear you out. Aim to keep algae from growing in the first place by preventing fertilizer sources from flushing into your pond and triggering rapid growth.

Barley Straw

Bundles and compressed rings of barley straw are one of the most popular natural options for algae control. Don’t wait until your pond is full of algae to start using this treatment, because it is primarily preventative, In order to get good results, you’ll need to add the barley straw supplements before algae grows. You can add new straw throughout the summer to keep up the effect. Use floats or mesh bags full of loose straw so it’s not in your way when you’re swimming.


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