Efficient Pond Management

Barely Straw

Barely straw and algae control. I see all sorts of products online claiming to use all natural barley straw or barley straw extracts to kill pond algae making it clean and clear. Problem is that the science doesn’t follow. Barley straw was first observed to affect algae by accident. A construction crew in Europe was using barley straw in one of those erosion control tubes when they noticed that the pond had decreased levels of algae. So the legend was born and people started capitalizing on the story. Now those pesky scientists like to figure things out, so they went about doing just that.

The effect of barley straw does not kill algae, it prevents it from growing.
They are not exactly sure of the mechanism.
Most mechanisms rely on actual straw being present and water flowing through a lattice of straw.

Here are a couple links to reputable information sources:
Penn Sate – Barely Straw
Rutgers – Barely Straw

If you are going to use barley straw, it has to be done before algae starts to grow and real straw has to be used. All of the extracts, powders and whatnot are probably not worth the money. They have removed the most important piece of the equation. Lastly, the barely straw has to be in a position where the water will flow through the mass of straw to maximize contact of the water with the straw.

I don’t know any lake or pond professional that uses this practice. They use herbicides, biostimulants, bioaugmentation, mechanical removal and floating vegetative islands but not barley straw. I am open for about anything and since this doesn’t appear to damage the environment, what the heck. But I wouldn’t count on it drastically help out and improving the condition of the pond.


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