Separating the wheat, er, weeds from the chaff

This is a Guest Post from Ed Ouellette

I think we should clear up any myths and concerns people may have about fertilizer use by pond residents. It seems to be a re-occurring statement, made by people who are possibly allowing their fears to cloud their better judgment and understanding. I’d like to help set the record straight with my personal account and observations.

I’ve lived on the pond for 5 years, and I enjoy frequent canoeing and fishing. I also enjoy eating the legal-sized fish I catch, and I do not want my fish to be tainted with toxic chemicals.  In fact, our pond has some of the best bass and pickerel fishing in the state of Massachusetts, and it attracts fishermen and recreational boaters from all around.

On a beautiful sunny day, just count the number of boats you see on the pond. How many of them are actual residents on the pond? In my experience, I can recognize maybe half of the boats and people. I’ve watched many fishermen launch their boats on our pond from the public areas on Central Ave. or Oakridge Drive.  Many public fishermen also fish from the shores on Sandy Pond Rd. and Central Ave. Also, many kayaks and boats traverse our pond and Sandy Pond by going under the Sandy Pond ‘bridge’ when the water levels are properly maintained. Our pond is a true gem which attracts people from all over, and it should be preserved for all to enjoy.

I researched the water quality of the pond before I moved here to make sure it was safe to eat the fish. Therefore, I hand pick my weeds instead of using nasty chemicals, I mulch my lawn, pine cones, and leafs instead of picking up the clippings so that the lawn, in effect, fertilizes itself naturally.  I rake my lawn and re-seed every spring. Because of the acid soil, I sometimes need to use a bit of lime to stabilize the soil pH. However, I NEVER, and I mean NEVER apply or have applied chemicals anywhere near 100 feet of the pond!

And I’ve never once seen a single person in all my canoe trips around the pond applying chemicals on their lawns, EVER! Has anyone else ever observed people fertilizing near the pond? I bet not! So where’s the real evidence that pond residents are improperly fertilizing their lawns? I certainly don’t see it. Unless people have night vision goggles and are applying chemicals during the night, I find this claim preposterous and unsubstantiated!

Proper weed management requires a comprehensive plan (dam / water-level management, weed treatment, raking, water quality control, etc.), as Chuck and others have pointed out many times. In my honest opinion, based on actual observations and practice, the weeds in our pond are NOT caused by simple fertilizer run-off! I’m sure others will chime in and agree. And to the people making unsubstantiated claims, I would like to challenge them by saying, instead of pointing a finger at one imagined cause, wouldn’t our time be spent more productively by openly and honestly addressing all of the real issues so we can achieving proper, working, and long-term solutions?

This is a Guest Post from Ed Ouellette


About saveourpond

I am a lifelong resident of Ayer who lives on Flanagan's Pond.
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