Duckweeds, also known as water lentils, are aquatic plants which can be found floating on the surface of slow-moving bodies of water. These plants are simple in form, lacking both leaves and a stem—they consist of a plate-like structure that floats on the water’s surface, either with or without “rootlets”.
Duckweed was first introduced into freshwater aquariums and ponds, where the plant began to spread rapidly. Once duckweed is established in a large pond or water body, it becomes difficult to eradicate. This is because the plant is often carried on the feathers, coats, and shells of native animals and wildlife. Duckweed is spread by birds, turtles, reptiles, and aquatic mammals regularly visiting multiple rivers, ponds, and lakes in search of food. This isn’t the case for water bodies with currents and overflow — duckweed does not thrive in moving water channels. Even if water bodies experience a calm period, duckweed may grow but later be swept away during high water flow periods or rainy seasons. Although waterfowl rely on duckweed for a food source, an excess of duckweed is unnecessary and despite their advantages, they can easily overgrow bodies of water. It’s best to keep them under control.
Duckweed spread rapidly across quiet water bodies and under ideal conditions, they can double their area coverage in a few days. Duckweed is designed for rapid growth, spreading 30% faster than other water vegetation (the water hyacinth included). Duckweed is extremely resilient and difficult to eradicate—this plant keeps returning and can actively re-establish their population in a few days if a few fronds are left behind. Seeds and other submerged remnants may germinate when conditions improve. Once a water body is covered with duckweed, natural oxygen transfer from the atmosphere is greatly reduced. Many times this leads to massive fish kills.
The ideal solution is to manage duckweed without chemicals (disruptive to aquatic ecosystems and threatening to native aquatic wildlife and plants) and without the use of machines—disruptive and only temporarily effective. Aeration systems are ideal. By increasing dissolved oxygen in an environment depleted of oxygen, water quality improves and fish and other aquatic wildlife thrive. Aerobic bacteria thrive off increased oxygen levels, resulting in improved water quality and a natural decomposition of organic matter—reducing duckweed and other plant life.
Using aeration to reduce pondweeds is a natural process. This natural process reduces pondweeds and contributes to a healthier pond ecosystem based off the natural principle that ponds are self-cleaning and can restore themselves using their own natural processes. Ponds usually keep free and clean from excess pondweeds because they contain ecosystems with food chains to absorb excess nutrients and prevent plant growth. When runoff overwhelms delicate ecosystem balances, the overgrowth of pondweeds such as duckweed is a result. Aeration is the natural way to restore natural water processes, accelerating them to keep up with today’s increasing amount of pollutants. Learn more about how to combat duckweed, reduce pond weeds, and improve the health of your pond by aeration.