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    Managing Golf Course Ponds Without Traditional Herbicides

    by: SOLitude Lake Management   |   Apr 18, 2019

    Golf Course Pond - SOLitude

    AS SEEN IN Golf Course Management: Written by Benjamin Chen, Fisheries Biologist 

    Golf courses are picturesque with their landscaped green fairways and winding paths. While turf management is usually the first order of business for superintendents, lakes, ponds and water features aid in irrigation and help accentuate the beauty of the environment. Without proper management, however, they can cause water quality problems that may become a huge detriment to the golfing experience. In other words, if your greens and your ponds are the same color, we have a lot to talk about.

    Luckily, proactive strategies and new innovative technologies are making lake management without traditional herbicides or algaecides easier than ever—with results that last longer.

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    Topics: Aquatic Weeds and Algae, Published Articles, Buffer Management

    Utilize Buffer Zones as a Preventative Pond Maintenance Tool

    by: SOLitude Lake Management   |   Jun 04, 2018


    Written by Industry Expert Daniel Hood, Wildlife & Fisheries Scientist

    I have always been a fan of Benjamin Franklin’s saying “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” Lake and pond management is a perfect example of this advice; preventing water quality problems at their source is often the most effective measure to help achieve long-term aquatic health. Community managers, golf course superintendents and private landowners interested in becoming more proactive in their maintenance approach may be intimidated by the many environmental variables and aquatic management strategies available to them. However, an easy and effective place to start is by creating and maintaining a shoreline buffer of native vegetation around their waterbody. 

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    Topics: Buffer Management, Stormwater BMPs

    Are Cattails Good or Bad? How Can They Be Successfully Managed?

    by: SOLitude Lake Management   |   Feb 15, 2018


    Written by Industry Expert Kara Sliwoski, Aquatic Biologist & Territory Leader 

    Perhaps you’ve heard of or seen cattails before—they’re an iconic plant associated with many types of waterbodies. Interestingly, they have the potential to be both good and bad for a body of water. Maybe you are concerned about cattail growth in your own waterbody and are looking for some answers, cattail facts and recommendations. Maybe you'd like to know how to get rid of cattails in a pond on your golf course or in your community. Regardless, you’ve come to the right place.

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    Topics: Pond Management Best Practices, Buffer Management

    Erosion & Beneficial Buffers: Like Sands Through the Hourglass

    by: SOLitude Lake Management   |   Oct 10, 2017

    Written by Industry Expert Gavin Ferris, Ecologist

    Pond ErosionIt is often remarked upon how adept beavers are at creating their own aquatic habitat, but in my observation muskrats are nearly their equal in this regard. While beavers endeavor to turn every stream into a pond and every pond into a lake, muskrats seem intent on turning every pond into a marsh. Every muskrat burrow dug into the side of the bank collapses and erodes, washing sediment into the waterbody. The rodents continue stealing land from the shoreline as they dig new burrows into what was previously terra firma and the lake or pond continues to fill with what used to be its own banks.

    This is but one example of shoreline erosion, which is (or at least should be) a concern of anyone with

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    Topics: Pond Management Best Practices, Buffer Management

    The Vectors of Invasive Phragmites Spread & Effective Control Methods

    by: SOLitude Lake Management   |   Aug 15, 2017

    PhragmitesPlants become classified as invasive species when they invade areas outside of their native range, upset the natural community they have invaded and cause considerable damage to either the ecology or economy of an area. Phragmites australis, or common reed, is a plant that most definitely meets all of these criteria. Native to Europe and Asia, invasive Phragmites is an aggressive colonizer of a variety of wetland habitats across the United States. Once established, the nuisance plant’s growth habits allow it to quickly outcompete most native species, ultimately creating a dense monoculture which reduces species richness and overall habitat value. As a result of these invasive characteristics, Phragmites has become a significant threat to freshwater and coastal wetlands across the country.

    Whether managing established Phragmites colonies or endeavoring to prevent its introduction, it is critically important to understand the plant’s methods of reproduction and dispersal. Phragmites is spread through several means, called vectors. The natural reproduction of Phragmites is accomplished in three ways: by seed, rhizome fragmentation and the use of stolons. Seeds can be spread by the wind, wetland birds, surface currents and wave action as well as on recreational and construction vehicles. Expansion through the development of stolons (lateral vegetative growth of the stem), also allows for very rapid spread of the infestation. Rhizomes, the underground root structures of the plant, when fragmented through land disturbance or other natural processes such as erosion, have the potential to become re-rooted in any suitable area they are deposited. ATVs and construction vehicles can also be vectors of rhizomal spread if the root debris is not removed when leaving a Phragmites infested area.

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    Topics: Invasive Species, Buffer Management

    Bank Erosion Control, the Importance of Buffer Zones and Buffer Plants

    by: SOLitude Lake Management   |   Mar 14, 2017

    Written by Industry Experts Brandon Tindley and Greg Blackham, Aquatic Specialists

    Have you seen the banks of your lake or pond slowly recede and retreat year after year? Have you noticed soil and silt deposits building up along the shoreline? Does the average water depth of your waterbody get shallower each year? The erosion you are seeing is the natural, yet unwelcoming process of bank erosion. This is especially problematic in man-made lakes as nature utilizes gravity to level everything out. With erosion comes the mobility of additional pollutants into your water including nutrients, chemicals, and additional pathogens. When you combine all these factors, erosion can contribute to an overwhelming amount of stress factors on water quality, wildlife balance, and functionality. In most cases, the easiest and most cost effective measure to help prevent bank erosion is by creating a vegetative buffer zone. This should also be the first consideration when designing a long term solution to an existing bank erosion problem.

    What are some benefits of a vegetative buffer?

    The number one benefit of a beneficial vegetative buffer is its ability to act as a natural filter for runoff. The longer and wider the buffer zone extends, the more particles it can slow down, intercept, and settle before reaching the pond. Vegetation can also protect the bank from rain impact erosion. Rain drops that hit bare soil can displace a lot of soil in a short amount of time. Another critical defense a buffer zone can provide is protection from wind and wave erosion. Plant roots can also help hold soil together whether it is along the shoreline in the water or even upland.

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    Topics: Water Quality/Nutrient Remediation, Buffer Management

    Protecting Your Shorelines Through Bank Stabilization

    by: SOLitude Lake Management   |   Mar 01, 2016

    Written by Industry Expert John M. Phelps, III, Environmental Scientist and Regional Director

    06_bank_stabilization_e.jpgWater is the most powerful force on earth. Year after year, wet weather events cause property loss and result in significant remediation costs.

    Calm-water banks and shorelines around lakes, ponds and stormwater basins erode at a gentler rate than coastlines and river banks because the water has a lower velocity. Common causes of calm-water bank and shoreline erosion include rainwater sheets flowing over unprotected areas, high-traffic spaces where people and animals are accessing the water and small-wave action caused from wind.

    Proper bank stabilization is one of the easiest methods to protect calm-water shorelines. There are many shoreline stabilization methods, like the use of rock, synthetic materials, vegetation, or a combination of the above, with varying results and costs.

    Rock effectively dissipates the velocity of moving water and is ideal for foot traffic. Stone, rock and rip rap come in various sizes. Choosing the correct type of rock and size is as important as the correct technique for placing the rock. Larger stone is more expensive, so protecting a long stretch of shoreline could go way over budget. Small stone can migrate and cause future problems if placed in areas of high flow.

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    Topics: Pond Management Best Practices, Buffer Management

    Pond Buffer Zones: Creation and Benefits

    by: SOLitude Lake Management   |   Jul 09, 2015

    AS SEEN IN North Carolina Turfgrass Magazine, May/June 2015: Written by Industry Expert David Ellison, Aquatic Biologist with SOLitude Lake Management

    NC_Turfgrass_Buffer_Zones_First_Page_06.15_e-1Establishing buffer vegetation has long been known to help stabilize the shorelines of lakes and ponds. While ponds and lakes are often vital sources for irrigation and a challenge to the golfers, the idea of providing aesthetics to these features is sometimes secondary for many golf courses. Increasingly, however, “natural” landscapes have become important features in golf courses and horticulture, as many people enjoy features without a “human influence.”

    Benefits of buffers

    In addition to increasing the aesthetic value of your course, establishing appropriate landscaping along lakes and ponds can provide long-term benefits. For instance, buffer zones along aquatic banks serve to reduce the transport of nutrients and sediment through the system and out to the watershed.

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    Topics: Pond Management Best Practices, Buffer Management

    Pond Management: Harnessing the Power of Beneficial Plants Around Your Pond

    by: SOLitude Lake Management   |   Jun 08, 2015

    AS SEEN IN The Golf Course Trades, June 2015: Written by Industry Expert Gavin Ferris, Ecologist, SOLitude Lake Management

    Buffer_Button_2RiversCC-16Tee_eKeeping a golf course’s pond in a pristine and presentable state can often be challenging and a lot of work. Bank erosion, suspended sediment, nutrient runoff, wind-blown trash, and hordes of potentially destructive geese can easily turn a waterbody into a muddy, green, slimy, stinky mess. In contrast, when you see a beautiful pond or lake in a natural setting, a healthy ecosystem is working to balance out all of these potentially destructive influences. Controlling all of these problems artificially may require multiple herbicide treatments, labor intensive cleanup and expensive repairs. Why do so much work yourself, when the plants that you want to be there are willing to do so much of it for you?

    Many pond and lake issues start on land. Surface runoff from rain and melting snow causes bank erosion and transports sediment and nutrients into the water. Excess nutrients and sediment lead to pond algae, weeds and turbidity. Geese graze on terrestrial plants, sometimes causing turf damage, and then transfer those nutrients to the water in their droppings. Allowing the shoreline area to develop a community of taller, diverse native plant species can help to protect your waterbody from these harmful influences. These plants slow runoff to prevent erosion while absorbing nutrients. This band of vegetation around any waterbody – a pond, lake or even a stream – is called a buffer zone. And, it is the single most effective means of protecting your course’s ponds from surface runoff.

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    Topics: Pond Management Best Practices, Buffer Management

    Top 5 Reasons to Have a Beneficial Vegetative Buffer Around Your Pond

    by: SOLitude Lake Management   |   Nov 20, 2014

    Written by Industry Expert Kyle Finerfrock, Environmental Scientist

    Kinsale_Glen_2_Buffer_Rehoboth_Beach_DE_Greg_06.24.14_contest_winner_cShoreline vegetative buffers surrounding a pond can be a great natural enhancement to the aquatic environment. Allowing a proper vegetative buffer to grow is a proactive way to increase the lifespan of your waterbody and help improve the overall health of your pond.

    • Buffer zones improve water quality and prevent pond algae blooms by filtering excess nutrients such as phosphorus and nitrogen from entering the water column.

    • Beneficial vegetative buffers help to maintain shoreline stability and prevent erosion and sedimentation.

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    Topics: Buffer Management