Effective Use of Barley Straw, Pellets, and Extracts
Spring is here and it is time to start preparing your pond for another season. Most pond owners struggle with algae outbreaks from time to time. These voracious blooms can quickly reduce your beautiful pond into an unsightly and stressful mess. Rather than waiting until you have an algae problem, use barley straw in early spring to prevent summer algal blooms.
Barley straw is one of the most effective tools for preventing all forms of algae from invading your pond. Unlike chemical algaecides, barley straw does not kill algae directly. As it decomposes, it produces enzymes that prevent new algae cells from forming. Existing algae is unharmed. Follow these tips to make barley straw work effectively in your pond.
It takes 2 -4 weeks for the decomposition process to begin and active algae inhibiting enzymes to start being produced, so place barley straw bales or pellets in your pond shortly after your initial spring cleanup. The straw should be in the pond prior to significant algae growth, which happens as the weather warms.
Barley straw or pellets should be soaked in a bacterial solution prior to use to start decomposition. Since the straw only works against algae when it is rotting, speeding up the process is advantageous. Soak the barley for a couple of days in a product such as Laguna’s Bio Sludge Control to seed aggressive bacteria that will accelerate decomposition.
You can use barley straw extract all season, but it is especially effective to use it early on. Aquascape EcoBarley Straw Extract is a concentrated liquid form of the active anti-algae enzyme. With barley straw extract, there is no waiting time for decomposition, and you need much less of the product to achieve the same results. Use barley straw extract in the spring while your straw or pellets are decomposing to give your system a head start.
Using barley straw and barley straw extract does not replace the need for proper maintenance and taking steps to establishing a healthy ecosystem in your pond. However, using it correctly can prevent algae problems and enhance your water gardening experience.