of your pond, but they also play a major role in enhancing your overall water quality. The function of aeration is to increase the amount of dissolved oxygen (DO) in a water body. DO is one of the most, if not the most, important water quality parameters in a pond. Having adequate DO levels aids in the rapid breakdown of decaying vegetation and other nutrients that enter a pond. The faster this organic matter can breakdown, the fewer nutrients are available to feed algae or plant growth.

• Start early with routine inspections: Because weeds and algae are able to grow year-round in water bodies, the sooner you can begin your seasonal pond management program, the better! Once weeds or algae are visible in your pond, you’re already playing defense. If you can initiate inspection and diagnostic visits with your aquatics services provider before there is visible plant or algae growth, you’re better positioned to maintain a high level of water quality and good aesthetics all season long.

Plus, your service provider should be monitoring your water body routinely all season, typically every two weeks, and adjusting their treatment methodologies to address what’s present and maintain balance. Many service providers only do visual inspections when they visit, but you may want to consider adding water quality testing throughout the season. This will provide the most science-based and actionable insights into what is growing in your water body, so diagnosis and treatment can be precise and accurate.

A professional aquatic services company will follow through on these good management practices for your pond during peak season too. Expect them to keep you up to speed with reports and updates on their observations, sampling and analysis work, and prescriptive treatments performed to manage your weed and algae growth.

Then, when fall begins to roll through the Midwest, go back to the basics to be well-positioned for another good season the following year:

• Ask your landscapers to do proper fall clean-up, removing or trimming back all leaves, vegetation, branches and grass clippings to help keep all this organic material out of your pond.

• Clean out any fallen branches or other organic matter floating in your pond.

• Remove your fountain before the pond freezes, and expect your service provider to take care of end of season maintenance and winterization work.

• Meet with your aquatics service provider and board members to review the season’s treatment plan. This is a great opportunity to review the program and set expectations for the pond’s appearance again next season.

AIMING FOR FIVE STAR REVIEWS There is no silver bullet when it comes to aquatic plant and algae management in our community ponds. There are simply too many factors influencing our water, including the unpredictable forces of Mother Nature, nutrient

36 | COMMON INTEREST® • Spring 2020 • A Publication of CAI-Illinois Chapter

load, and run-off from neighboring properties. But with proper planning, a watchful eye, and the right service partner, your community pond can get rave reviews from your residents, exist in a state of ecological balance, and be a source of beauty. Let’s leave the green water to St. Patty’s day in Chicago!

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