Garden Thyme

Pond Planning and Maintenance: Dealing with Milfoil


Hello friends and welcome back for another post in my Garden Thyme series. Today I am sharing a quick post about pond care and how to specifically deal with milfoil, an invasive aquatic plant. If  you have considered adding some type of small pond or water feature to your landscape it is  definitely important to do a little research ahead of time to be aware of all the pros and cons of having a pond.*This post contains affiliate and/or sponsored links.


Seating area around pond in modern Mediterranean style garden

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Small ponds can be relatively easy to install and can add so much beauty and tranquility to a landscape. We had a pond at a previous home and I loved it, but I still haven’t decided whether I want to commit to the upkeep. 


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Cascade head of garden stream in late spring by Four Seasons Garden, via Flickr


I love the idea of seeing the pond come alive with vibrant green foliage and spring flowers after a long winter. 


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One of the drawbacks of installing a pond is maintenance. Watermilfoil is an incredibly invasive aquatic plant often known for dwelling in you guessed it, ponds. According to the Lake George Association, apart from the invasiveness of the species, milfoil is a problem as depletes biodiversity, crowds native plants, and has a negative effect on wetland and fish habitats. If you do happen to come across milfoil one day, or currently have it, make sure to engage in the following three steps to stop it from clogging up your pond.


SPIKED WATER MILFOIL BUNCHES (MYRIOPHYLLUM SPICATUM) Myriophyllum spicatum. Good for pondlife and a great trailing oxygenator. Sold in bunches suitable for one square metre of surface area. Zone F



1. Get your milfoil identified and inspected.

Professional identification of your milfoil is vital. Why? Milfoil can easily be mistaken for other native plants. Some milfoil look-a-likes include water marigold, common bladderwort, water crowfoot, common waterweed, and coontail.


If you do have a milfoil problem, the plant will feature fine, feathery, grayish-green leaves with thin leaflets, fibrous roots, and yellow or red flowers that are divided into four parts that extend a few inches past the water.


Apart from identification, a solid inspection is a must to determine how serious the milfoil growth is, which can come in handy when deciding the correct treatment method.

2. Opt for professional removal.

At some point, milfoil removal will be an absolute must as the further it spreads, the bigger the consequences will be. In fact, in just two years, milfoil can take over an entire lake, so imagine how detrimental the effects could be on a pond! For this reason, getting the issue addressed ASAP is critical.

Although removal can be done on your own, performing removal on your own is not recommended, especially if the use of strong chemicals will be involved. On the other hand, many professional services make sure to tackle milfoil by the root to ensure it doesn’t regrow shortly after removal.

3. Treat your pond with a milfoil preventative dye.

Milfoil isn’t like the chickenpox; it doesn’t just show up once and never return again. Rather, milfoil can be something recurring. Even when you think you have a good handle on it, it might later come back, and sadly, the second time may be even worse.


Even if milfoil appeared in your pond in the past, and you already took charge of it, it can most certainly show up again. That said, it’s a good idea to add a milfoil preventative dye to your pond to deter future infestation as much as possible.


Besides, creating a beautiful Koi pond is itself a hobby for you. But it is not a create-and-forget sort of hobbies. Rather, you need to be extremely careful for the living beings inside your fondly created pond.

Other pond problems such as algae overgrowth or mosquitos breeding can be managed with a good filter and pond fish such as koi or algae eaters. 


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While there are still several weeks of cold winter weather left to enjoy, spring isn’t too far off so it’s time to start making serious landscape plans if you are thinking of adding a pond or updating your current pond. Remember that pond care is essential and to keep a constant eye out for milfoil to keep it from getting out of control.

Happy spring garden dreaming! Thanks for visiting today!

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