, that's right, I said lake mowing! Mowing lakes is a form of controling lake weeds without using chemicals or other severe methods. There are 4 types of lake weed management: Prevention
, which is preferable, and involves keeping the weeds out, or having the right conditions to keep them from getting started, chemical
, which involves the use of herbicides, biological which involves introducing a living species into the water, and mechanical, which is the physical removal of all or part of the weed. Lake mowing falls into the mechanical category.
Lake weed management progression
I would consider this to be the normal progression for most people who find non native, invasive vegetation in their ponds or lakes: Attempt to erradicate, and failing that for long enough, attempt to control and work toward erradication. The best control is prevention, but it is now beyond that point, and the weeds are already multiplying. The next best control, and this should have been done earlier and would have been a part of the prevention program, is to produce enough phytoplankton to tint the water
for the purpose of feeding fish, and preventing sunlight from reaching the lake bed. Now, however, you must control the weeds before you can do it. Even if you already have problems with lake weeds, and especially non native invasive lake weeds, this is a step that should be taken as soon as the weeds are controlled. The final step is resignation to the fact that you cannot erradicte the lake weeds, and that continued control is a fact of life. In such a case, you have to make a few choices: Chemical, biological, or mechanical.
Mowing lakes is not something that most people think about when mowing is mentioned, but it can be an effective means of maintaining a pond or lake. Admitting this is a bit of a problem for me, you see, from the perspective of a vegetation manager with many years of experience in the field, resigning myself to the fact that we can not get rid of all the non native invasive weeds in a forest or lake is almost tantamount to admitting defeat, and everybody hates losing! After a few rounds with chemicals, and perhaps, a few rounds with biological controls like grass carp, most lake owners have resigned themselves to the fact that treatment and control will be an ongoing process with gains and losses each year. It is obviously best to get rid of invasive lake weeds if possible, but sometimes it becomes more than a manager can handle using the standard methods, so lake mowing begins to look like a good option. In such cases, when a lake or pond manager has reached the end of the proverbial rope, our next best advice is to give mowing a try. The mower to be used should cut smoothly, and with as little vibration and fragmentation as possible, because many aquatic weeds can reproduce from small fragments at a disheartening rate. Less vibration means less fragmentation. The floating remains of the pond weeds should then be gathered and removed from the water for the same reason. If you are resigned to the fact that you will have to have several chemical applications a year, or buy some foriegn fish of questionable reputation, mowing your lake is realy a less expensive option.
There is one tool on the market which is head and shoulders above the rest, because it cuts cleanly with little vibration, and is user freindly. This is not a product review, it is a product recommendation, because if you are going to have to do it, you should do it with a machine that will not cause further problems.