Mechanical harvesting versus chemical herbicides is the great debate when it comes to tackling water weed problems. When you’re faced with an infestation of any of the water weeds we’ve covered in previous articles (and there are plenty more to talk about as well), you can feel so overwhelmed and frustrated that you just want the problem to go away as quickly as possible. This causes many people to turn to chemical herbicides, thinking they are the quickest route to solving the problem. In this article, we’ll cover two important issues to carefully consider before making any decision about Mechanical harvesting versus chemical herbicides: The biomass factor and the safety factor. Please make an informed decision!
The Biomass Factor in the Mechanical Harvesting Versus Chemical Herbicides Debate
Part of the problem with chemical herbicides is that many people don’t think through the additional problems that can occur after using them. Case in point: Biomass issues. If you read our recent post about Water Hyacinth, you may have been shocked to read that an acre of the plant can weigh as much as 200 tons! That’s a huge amount of biomass. Now, let’s say you spray a chemical herbicide on the plants and it kills them. They’re dead, but not gone. In other words, now you have hundreds of tons of dead plants in the water. The rapid decay of so much plant matter in the water causes a spike in nutrients such as nitrogen and phosphorous that make the body of water vulnerable to other kinds of plant invasions of both native (such as Starry Stonewort, Duckweed and Cattails) and non-native species (such as Water Chestnut).
Furthermore, all that decaying plant matter sucks up a lot of the available oxygen in the water, which can contribute to the die-off of fish and other aquatic animals. Chemical treatments don’t remove the biomass, thereby creating a viscous cycle of nutrient spikes and further water weed invasions. Mechanical harvesting, on the other hand, is all about actually removing the plants from the water, thereby getting rid of the biomass. If you don’t physically remove the biomass, your problems won’t go away and will probably get even worse.
The Safety Factor in the Mechanical Harvesting Versus Chemical Herbicides Debate
Then of course you have to ask yourself how safe it is to use any given chemical herbicide. Just because you’re legally allowed to use a chemical doesn’t mean you should. First of all, it probably won’t be you who actually does this work. You’ll probably have to hire a chemical contractor, and it will be expensive. How will you know what they’re really doing? How can you know if they’re using the right dosage or applying it correctly? With mechanical harvesting, it’s easy to see and monitor progress because the process is simple and effective. Many chemical herbicides are going to be toxic to fish and other aquatic life, representing further damage to the ecosystem by using the chemicals. When chemical herbicides are used, the water treated has to be put into a restricted-use mode. It cannot be used for drinking, watering animals, swimming, fish farming, or even irrigation until the water is safe again after treatment, which could be anywhere from 10 days to 90 days depending on what is used. And again, remember that you’re not removing the biomass, which will decay and cause elevated nutrient levels that result in yet more weeds!
Weedo Work Boats Win the Mechanical Harvesting Versus Chemical Herbicides Debate
Given the dangers of dumping chemicals all over the beloved bodies of water we’re trying to protect and preserve, not to mention how they often end up making the problem worse over time because of the biomass factor, we think it makes much more sense to use Weedoo Workboats to address your water weed problems. Read the Weedoo Story to learn more about our company’s history and our philosophy of mechanical harvesting versus chemical herbicides to get rid of water weeds. Our main products include the Weedoo Compact Workboat, the Weedoo Aquaharvester, Weedoo Shoreline and On-Board Conveyors, and a range of Weedoo Accessories that will help you get the job done!
Ready to tackle those wily water weeds without chemicals? Contact Weedoo today!