Algae blooms

People on the lake probably noticed that we had a lot of algae blooms on the lake last year. By the end of the season we also had blue green algae, but it was not densely concentrated enough to cause toxicity problems.

I recently attended a seminar on blue-green algae at Michigan State University. Surprisingly to me, treating for the slimy type of algae like we do on Lily Lake can contribute to more growth of blue green algae. Turns out that there’s a balance between different types of algae just like there’s a balance between different types of aquatic plants.

Of course no one wants that slimy algae in the lake! But what can we do?

One of the main contributors to algae overgrowth  is phosphorus. Phosphorus comes from multiple sources. A few of the biggest contributors are:

1. Fertilizer

2. Animal waste including goose waste.

3. Leaking or faulty Septic Tanks.

One of the easiest ways to control phosphorus on the lake is to use fertilizer without phosphorus. When you buy fertilizer, there are three numbers on the label – the middle number refers to phosphorus. For lawns, fertilizer with a O (zero) in the middle works very well.

I checked with Trugreen and their standard fertilizer has 0 (zero) phosphorus.

For flowers and shrubs, try to use as little phosphorus as possible and try not to use fertilizer with phosphorus near the lake.

In addition, if you have a chance – it is helpful to pick up pet waste and goose waste if you know it’s going to rain so that it doesn’t wash into the lake.

One last thought, some people use TSP to power wash. The P in TSP stands for phosphate(phosphorus) – But all the hardware stores carry non-phosphorus wash now, and it works very well.