William E. Lynch Jr., Program Specialist, Aquatic Ecosystem Management (Retired)

Pond owners can apply aquatic herbicides themselves, and need not pay a certified pesticide applicator to do it. That’s not the case in many other states, where the pond owner must pay a commercial applicator if he/she wishes to control nuisance aquatic plants.

Are there instances where it is wise to pay a licensed applicator to treat aquatic vegetation? Sure there is! Not all pond owners feel comfortable handling chemicals safely. Chemicals can be dangerous and accidents do happen. These folks should consider paying a commercial applicator. Commercial applicators are trained to handle chemicals safely and must be re-certified every three years. This same advice applies to the application of terrestrial herbicides around the house.

Misidentification of the problem plants can lead to additional costs because the wrong product was used or not enough of the correct product was used. A licensed aquatic herbicide applicator can almost always ID the plants correctly and determine what to use and how much.

Another instance a commercial applicator may be “worth their weight in gold” is if it is difficult to calculate the volume of a pond. Poor math here can cost bit dollars! Many pond owners treating their own pond grossly underestimate the pond’s volume, and therefore under-apply the product chosen. No control is achieved. Commercial applicators are quite efficient at making those volume determinations. In reality, the pond owner should ask themselves the following questions when considering whether or not to apply a herbicide themselves:

  • Am I willing to take the time to read product labels, making
  • sure to pay close attention to warnings, safety instructions, and restrictions?
  • Am I able to correctly identify the plants causing the problem?
  • Can I accurately calculate the amount of product required to do the job?
  • Do I have the proper application and safety equipment to apply the herbicide?
  • Do I really feel comfortable handling chemicals?

A “no” answer to any of these questions should cause the pond owner to consider a licensed applicator. Two “no” answers and the owner should pick up the phone and call a licensed, commercial applicator.