Time for spring pond clean-up

New product, barley straw extract helps clean up backyard ponds as a clarifier

That harmonious balance between water, plants and fish is a tricky recipe that requires patience, natural bacteria and time. You may be in short supply of one or all three.

Pond clean-up just got a little bit easier with barley straw extract.

Barley straw has been around for a long time. No one knows exactly how it works. Theories are out there on how, as the barley straw decomposes, it releases chemical compounds that prevent the growth of new algae. Others suggest the straw may release carbon which feeds the water microbe population. The microbes limit the amount of phosphorous in the water for the algae. Some say the straw produces hydrogen peroxide as it breaks down in the presence of sunlight and oxygen.

Myself, I don’t really need to know the intimate chemical reactions. I just need to know if it’s safe for fish and pets and that it works. Yes, it is safe for fish and pets and what I hear from our customers is that it does work to prevent the growth of new algae.

When barley straw first hit the market as a pond clarifier we placed the straw loosely into net bags and anchored it so it floated near an aerator. This was done in the early spring and again in fall. Barley straw is not an instant fix as it takes time for the straw to decompose and ferment which could take from 4 to 6 weeks to occur.

Now, by using the concentrated extract of the barley straw you can skip the fermentation process. It is as easy as opening the bottle and adding it to the pond.

The best time to apply this extract is in early spring. Two applications a month to begin, then every three weeks as maintenance are required. Just simply add it to the water. Customers also say using the Microbe-Lift Spring/ Summer Cleaner, along with the barley straw has the best results. This is also a natural, non-toxic cleaner which adds natural bacteria to the water to revitalize your pond after a long winter.

Jean Atkinson is a horticulturist with Richbar Golf and Nursery.