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Year after year, we hear good comments from barley straw users. It's a natural and ecologically sound treatment to clear water, and you only need to use one 1/2-lb bag per 1,000 gallons of water. When applied correctly, barley straw for ponds works for up to 6 months.
At Pentair AES, we offer barley straw in several easy-to-use sizes. Choose from pre-packaged 1/2-lb bags, designed for easy placement directly in your pond, sump or filter; a box of six 1/2-lb bags; or an 11-lb box of loose straw that you can bundle yourself. Remember that it's important for water to be able to move through the straw freely, so make sure that you place the barley for ponds in a location with moving water.
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Barley Straw — Tech Talk 37
Research through the Aquatic Weeds Research Unit U.K. indicates that barley straw is highly effective in the control of algae. Many people appreciate having an organic approach to algae control. It takes six to eight weeks for the straw to become active after it is placed in moving water. After that, the barley straw will remain an active algaecide for approximately six months.
Microbial growth, oxygen, and warm water temperatures activate the decomposition of the straw. With sufficient water flow through the barley straw, lignins oxidize into homic acids and, with sunlight and oxygen, destroy algae with no negative effect on higher plant and aquatic life. Barley straw for ponds decomposes slowly, so its oxygen demand does not cause problems unless an excessive amount of straw is used. Stagnant water will go anaerobic inside the straw bundle, killing the microbes, so be sure to keep the water moving.
How much barley straw should I use?
Barley straw is most effective in shallow (1 m) water that is exposed to sunlight and has good circulation. Clear water needs less straw, but with turbid, muddy water and less sunlight, more straw is required. It's also less effective in low temperatures. Water surface area is used to calculate dosage. In still water ponds, the minimum quantity of barley straw needed to control algae is 2.5 grams (.09 oz) of straw per square meter of water surface. In water with a severe algae problem, high first treatments up to 50 grams (1.8 oz) per square meter may be required. Start with small quantities and monitor the effects. Barley straw may be prestarted in non-algae problem areas with good oxygenated water flows. The research unit suggests that you can use the straw effectively by tying it in small bundles, making flat sheaves, or stuffing it into net bags. Weight or stake the straw to the bottom of the pond in an area with water movement.