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Planktonic algae (Anabaena,
Aphanizomenon, Chlamydomonas, Closterium, and many other varieties)
are the foundation of the aquatic food chain in all ponds, lakes
and rivers. The density and diversity of the planktonic algae
community in a water body determines how many and what size of fish
can be supported. Algal abundance is determined by water fertility
with higher levels of phosphorus and nitrogen resulting in
When plankton algae blooms - more commonly known as blue-green
algae, scum and water blooms - approach nuisance levels you'll know
it! The water will change to a blue-green or green color giving it
a paint-like scum appearance. Microscopic growth is often visible
as a greenish ting suspended in the upper few feet of water and
occurs Severe blooms may resemble pea soup and actually thicken the
water. Many species of algae are involved in algae blooms and these
species change over time based on temperature, light, nutrients,
and other factors.
In rare instances, nuisance pre-dawn oxygen levels can be
reduced to lethal levels for aquatic animal life when a planktonic
algae bloom is underway.
Look for a change in water color; severe blooms often resemble
pea soup; blue-green algae form unsightly, jellylike masses or a
blue, paint-like scum on beaches and shorelines.
When some species of blue-green algae
are decaying, their cells release toxic materials, which can poison
animals that drink the water. These toxic blooms are uncommon, but
it is wise to keep your pets and livestock away from the water when
any algal bloom is breaking up.
Preventive measures such as limiting the flow of nutrients into
the lake may reduce future blue-green algae blooms. You can get
temporary control of existing algae blooms using an algaecide. For
more information about blue green algae visit the Wisconsin Department of Health website (Exit
Site). To report an illness after being exposed to a blue green
algae bloom click here (Exit Site).
A. Treat when
early signs of algae appear if possible. You can generally use
lower label dose rates when algae mass is less.
A. You can easily
apply liquid algaecides and herbicides with a handheld pump-up or
backpack sprayer, as evenly as possible, over the treatment area.
Contact as much surface algae mats as possible. Subsurface algae
will be controlled as product (s) moves throughout the water
column. Granular products can also be applied by hand scoop or hand
A. Several total
or spot treatments may be required to maintain control for the
season. Good results should be anticipated.
A. Some algae
types will succumb within a few days others may take up to twelve
days. Heavy growth may require a follow up (about a week later)
treatment. Treating before dense matting occurs will be more cost
effective yielding longer terms results.
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