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    Barley is a natural approach to eliminating string algae, improving water clarity and naturally balancing pond water. Barley is one of the few pond additives that will work at any temperature.

    Barley is available in three different forms. The Barley bale, once placed in your pond, will slowly decompose and as it does so, it will release gases that aid in the elimination of string algae. One 8 oz. bale will treat an 800 to 1200 gallon pond. It will take several weeks for the barley to start decomposing and will continue to work for about 3 months. Microbe-Lift Barley Straw Pellets will break down faster than the bales, plus they are rich in organic peat which softens pond water, reducing the negative effect of phosphate and generally improving the environment for your fish. Two pounds of barley pellets will treat a 400 gallon pond for 4 months. Last, but not least, and my favorite is the Microbe-Lift Barley Straw Extract. The extract goes to work on contact. Decomposition starts immediately and one bottle is equal to a multiple of barley straw bales.

    Barley will not kill algae, but it will prohibit it from growing and help eliminate it from your water garden. When the water temperatures are still cool, this is one product that will immediately go to work for you.

    We've covered water temperatures, so what else should we do early spring prior to adding pond plants? We would like to mention a few things you should check when opening your pond for the season.

    Check your pond to make sure there are no tears or leaks in your pond liner.  Check around the edges of your pond to make certain the ground has not settled, and your pond is not leaking around the perimeter.  Check out all your tubing, connections, pond pumps and filters to make sure they are all secure and working properly.  If you have left your pump run throughout the winter make sure it is working properly.  And for those who have turned off their pumps, you should check and clean them thoroughly. Turn your pump back on once the water temperatures are consistently above freezing which is around 40-45 degrees.

    Remove any debris that has accumulated in your pond during the fall and winter. For those of you that have a pond vac, now is the best time to use those to rid your pond of small unwanted particles.  You can begin putting MicrobeLift Spring and Summer in your pond to help with the cleanup.  MicrobeLift Spring and Summer contains cold weather bacteria cultures that will work in the cooler water temperatures of spring. This will start establishing  good bacteria and help accelerate the break down of debris.  The spring rains help to flush your ponds, so if possible drain some of the water out of your pond and let the rain rinse and fill it up. 

    Once everything has been checked out you can begin thinking about feeding your fish, if you have them, and dividing some of the pond plants that have out grown their planting containers.  We will discuss this in our next addition to Here Comes Spring.

    A Dragonfly Aquatics Best Seller! The Muck Vac does not cause turbulence in the pond because all the muck, dirt and fish waste are vacuumed out of the pond into your yard or garden. If you place the out-take hose in a flower bed, it is great fertilizer for your surrounding flower beds around the pond. The Muck Vac requires 50 PSI garden hose pressure to work effectively. It comes with a power head, a telescoping pole, a waste hose and a vacuum head brush. The Muck Vac sure makes Spring cleaning your pond simple!

    Check out Pond Vac here.