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Copper algaecides see a lot of use in lake management as cheap and effective ways to eliminate unwanted plants and algae.  However, the use of copper sulfate is now being scrutinized in many states because of long-term environmental impacts, and many homeowners and HOAs are asking applicators to reduce the amount of chemicals they use in their lakes and ponds.

How They Work

Copper algaecides and herbicides take the form of either the more common copper sulfate or the growing-in-popularity copper chelate. In either form, the copper kills plants and algae through binding to their proteins and causing them to leak and die. The concentrations of copper found in algaecides and herbicides can also kill plants and algae by inhibiting photosynthesis. Copper algaecides and herbicides remain toxic for a period of time between hours and days after application.

Advantages and Disadvantages

What do you get when you use copper?

Copper Sulfates

Copper Chelates

  • Low cost
  • Low cost
  • Effective against algae (incl. diatom and filamentous)
  • Effective against algae (incl. diatom and filamentous)
  • Sensitive to pH, alkalinity, and temperature
  • Stays in water column longer than copper sulfate
  • Can kill helpful bacteria, snails, and fish
  • Sensitive to pH, alkalinity, and temperature
  • Can result in dangerously low D.O.
  • Can kill helpful bacteria, snails, and fish
  • Non-selective: leads to tougher species (Lyngbya, Oscillatoria, etc)
  • Can result in dangerously low D.O.
  • “Burning the top” allows resting structure to quickly regrow
  • Non-selective: leads to tougher species (Lyngbya, Oscillatoria, etc)
  • Can lead to copper buildup and sterile pond bottom
  • “Burning the top” allows resting structure to quickly regrow
  • Copper buildup is hazardous waste—expensive to dispose of
  • Can lead to copper buildup and sterile pond bottom
  • Short term effectiveness

Reducing the Use of Copper Algaecides and Herbicides

There’s no need to choose between a budget and a healthy environment.  At Naturalake Biosciences, we maintain a complete laboratory that works with applicators to develop solutions with fewer chemicals.  In almost every pond, the most powerful bacteria and fungi found are the ones naturally present.  We’re dedicated to developing products that empower these pond helpers, and pond applicators say we’re helping their chemicals clean ponds they’ve never been able to touch before.  We realize that treating lakes is hard work and the more we can help you stay out of the boat the better off we all are.

See our newsletter for more information on reducing copper use.  To request a mailed copy, contact us here:

info@naturalake.com

1-888-757-9577

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