Weeds are a common problem in ponds and lakes, especially here in the great state of Minnesota. They can reduce the oxygen levels of the water, cause harm to aquatic life and make boating and swimming difficult. Not something we want to deal with when our summers are so short to begin with. Investing in a lake weed cutter could be the answer to this problem. In this blog we will provide you with a comprehensive guide to all things involving weed cutters for lakes; including the different types, how to operate and when is the best time to use them. Although we recommend our by-the-root removal process for best results, these cutters can help you maintain a healthy and beautiful lakeshore all season long.
Types of Lake Weed Cutters
1. Weed Shears
Weed shears are a popular and most commonly used type of aquatic weed cutter. They consist of a long handle with 2 blades attached at the end. With this tool you can either enter the water to do the cutting, or you can tie the rope to your wrist, toss the shears into the weeds and pull back. This type of lake grass cutter is best suited for small to medium sized shallow areas along the shore.
2. Electric or Gas Powered
Electric or gas powered cutters are another type of underwater weed cutting tool commonly used. They are definitely more powerful than the weed shears version, and stronger too! This type of underwater weed cutter has a longer reach – making it easier to get to those hard to reach areas of your lakeshore, and they are designed for cutting through thick and heavy weeds in deeper water. However, this type of cutter is more expensive and can require regular maintenance for upkeep.
Tow-behind weed cutters are attached to the back of a boat and cut the weeds as it’s being towed through the water. They are designed to cut through larger areas of aquatic weeds more quickly and efficiently.
4. Handheld Rakes
Handheld rakes, although it’s not technically a weed cutter for lakes, is another effective tool for removing weeds in small areas along your lakeshore. These rakes have a long handle and a series of sharp prongs that are used to pull weeds out of the water.
Just like anything else, each of these cutters have their own advantages and disadvantages. When choosing the right lake weed removal tool for you, consider the following: the size of the area you are wanting to cover, the types of weeds that need removing and how much are you willing to spend.
How to Use a Lake Weed Cutter
1. Identify the Weeds
The first step in using an underwater weed cutter is to identify the type of weeds you are dealing with. Different types of weeds may require different cutting techniques and tools. Some common types of Minnesota lake weeds include milfoil, curly-leaf pondweed, and cattails. Do your best to identify the weeds you are wanting to get rid of as some weeds may require permits from the DNR prior to removal. Using a weed identification guide or consulting with an expert is always a great idea!
2. Choose the Right Cutter for the Job
Once you have identified the type of weed, you can choose the right aquatic weed cutter for the job. As previously discussed, handheld shears are best suited for small to medium-sized areas, while electric, gas-powered and tow-behind cutters are better suited for larger weed infested areas of lakes or ponds.
3. Position the Cutter
Next, you will need to position the cutter over the weed infested area. For the weed shears, you will need to stand in the water and position the cutter over the weeds manually or throw the cutter off the dock. For electric or gas-powered versions, you can operate the cutter from a boat or the shoreline.
4. Start Cutting
Once the cutter is positioned over the weed bed, you can start cutting. Begin at the outer edges of the weed bed and work your way inwards. Use a back and forth motion to cut through the weeds, and be sure to keep the cutter at a consistent depth to avoid damaging the lake bottom. You may need to adjust the angle of the cutter or move it to a different location to cut through thick or stubborn weeds.
5. Remove the Debris
When you start to cut through the weeds, the remnants will begin to float to the surface of the water. Once you’re finished cutting in the desired area, you can use a rake or net to remove the debris from the water. Be sure to dispose of the cut weeds properly to prevent them from re-entering the lake or pond.
Remember, it’s important to follow all of the safety guidelines when using a lake weed remover tool. Always wear appropriate clothing and footwear, and be careful not to injure yourself or others with the sharp blades of the cutter. If you are using the gas-powered option, make sure to follow all safety instructions for starting and operating the machine.
When to Use a Lake or Pond Weed Cutter
The best time to use these beneficial tools depends on the type of weeds you are dealing with. Generally, it is best to cut the weeds before they become overgrown and difficult to control. Some common times to use a lake weed cutter include:
1. Spring and Summer
Spring and summer is the most common time to use an aquatic weed cutter. This is when most weeds begin to grow and can quickly become overgrown. Cutting weeds early in the season can help prevent them from taking over the lake or pond – so you can enjoy a weed-free lakeshore all season long!
2. After a Storm
Do you love a good ole fashioned MN thunderstorm? Unfortunately, after a storm or heavy rainfall, lake weeds can become uprooted and spread throughout the lake. Using a weed cutter after a storm can help prevent the spread of weeds and keep them under control.
3. Before Winter
Cutting lake weeds before the winter months can help prevent them from overwintering and spreading in the spring. This is especially important for invasive species that can quickly take over a lake or pond.
4. As Needed
In addition to the times mentioned above, you may need to use a lake grass cutter as needed throughout the year. If you notice a particular area of the lake or pond becoming overgrown with weeds, using an underwater weed cutter can help prevent the problem from getting worse.
Benefits of Using a Lake or Pond Weed Cutter
Using these devices can provide several benefits for our many MN lakes and ponds. Some of these benefits include:
1. Improved Water Quality
Excessive growth of lake weeds can reduce oxygen levels in the water and harm aquatic life, even causing fish kills (see pic below). Removing weeds can help improve water quality and create a healthier environment for fish and other aquatic species.
2. Better Recreational Opportunities
Minnesotans live for the warm summer months, typically from June to August, and spend as much time as possible on the lakes. Unfortunately, lake weeds can make swimming and boating difficult, and can even become a safety hazard. By removing weeds we can create better recreational opportunities for people enjoying the lakes, and truly capitalize on the short summer months before the harsh winter air creeps in.
3. Preventing the Spread of Invasive Species
Invasive species can quickly take over a lake or pond and harm native species. Using a lake grass cutter to remove the invasive species can help prevent them from spreading and taking over the ecosystem of the lake.
Below are some ways that cutting the weeds can help prevent the spread of invasive species:
- Preventing seed production: Invasive plants can reproduce and spread through seeds. By cutting them down before they have an opportunity to produce seeds, the chance of spread can be limited.
- Cutting back growth: Regularly cutting back the growth of native and non-native aquatic vegetation can prevent invasive species from taking over and establishing a foothold in the lake.
- Cleaning the equipment: When a weed cutting tool is used, it can pick up fragments of the invasive species. It is important to clean the equipment thoroughly after each use to prevent the spread to other bodies of water.
- Monitoring and reporting: Property owners and professionals using these cutters can monitor the lake for the presence of invasive species and report any findings to the appropriate authorities. This also helps prevent the spread to other nearby bodies of water.
Lake Weed Cutters Vs. Root Removal Systems
Removing lake weeds by the root is generally considered to be the superior solution vs. cutting them down when it comes to lake weed control. While cutting weeds may remove the visible part of the plants, it does not get to the roots. If the roots are left untouched they will oftentimes regrow, which will require more frequent cutting to maintain control. By removing the entire root system, you are effectively eliminating the entire plant which prevents regrowth.
Another bonus of opting for a root removal option is the positive environmental impact. When you cut aquatic weeds it can leave a significant amount of organic matter in the lake — this can cause an increase in nutrient levels and harmful algal blooms. The last thing you want is a build-up of scum on your lakeshore. By pulling the weeds up by the root you can eliminate the potential for harmful effects and ultimately improve the water quality of the lake.
Throughout this blog we have learned that lake weed cutters are an effective tool for creating and maintaining the health and beauty of our lakes and ponds. By removing excess weed growth, it promotes the growth for more beneficial plants and improves the water quality – which is essential for the survival of aquatic life. Additionally, by cutting back the weeds it enhances recreational activities such as swimming, boating and fishing; something all Minnesotans can appreciate!
There are many methods for removing lake weeds. Letting professionals remove them by hand is a great, long term solution for your personal lakeshore goals.
Our representatives are more than happy to tell you more about how our divers help keep lakeshores clean. Reach out at (952) 356-0614 or at firstname.lastname@example.org to connect with someone!