Using barley straw ….

Discussion in 'Water Gardening' started by Sian in Belgium, Jul 28, 2022.

  1. Sian in Belgium

    Sian in Belgium Total Gardener

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    I know that barley straw is the best method of dealing with blanketweed…

    So, I’ve gathered some barley straw from the field. I have stuffed it into a plastic onion net.

    How do I now use it?
    just weight it down, to submerge it? (It is currently like a loose ball, within the net)
    Tie the ball tight, to create a sort of fagot?
    Do I use it now? Or wait until the spring?
     
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    • ricky101

      ricky101 Total Gardener

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      Hi,

      We tied ours up quiet tight and just let it sink in on its own.
      Yes, use it now, though hard to say how effective it is, ours was just a small 4x2ft pond.

      If the BW is such a problem you might want to look as some of the newer friendly types of treatments which work by reducing the elements that the BW feed on, unlike the older methods designed to kill the actual BW, but less eco friendly.
       
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      • noisette47

        noisette47 Total Gardener

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        I may well be wrong, but I thought that barley straw was supposed to get rid of free-cell algae...the pea-soup type. I never heard of it's blanket-weed repelling properties! The only solution for that AFAIK is a smooth stick e.g. broom handle and lots of patience!
         
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        • mazambo

          mazambo Forever Learning

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          Oh well that's saved me finishing my answer just about to say similar.
           
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          • Clueless 1 v2

            Clueless 1 v2 Gardener

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            Isn't the purpose of using straw that it sequesters nitrogen to decompose, thus making nitrogen less available for aquatic flora to feed on?
             
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            • NigelJ

              NigelJ Total Gardener

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              I've heard several theories on this, including that barley straw provides a safe home for things that eat the algae, that the barley straw produces chemicals as it breaks down that prevent algal growth.
              See How do I use barley straw to get rid of algae? and Barley Straw for Algae Control
              I think the jury is still out also about which algae it stops.
              My question is why barley straw? Whats different to wheat straw or hay decomposition should be the same, rate may differ, but what else?
               
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              • pete

                pete Growing a bit of this and a bit of that....

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                I put barley straw in a net bag and weighed it with a large pebble then put it in my pea soup pond back in May.
                At the same time I stopped feeding the fish for a month.
                Not much happened for a few weeks but then I noticed it turning brown rather than green and in about a week it cleared.
                I now have clear water but that has allowed the blanket weed to grow.

                The blanket weed is not too bad, but i have a waterlilly covering nearly half the pond now and a large mass of Elodea floating around.

                Was it the straw or was it stopping feeding the fish that cleared the water or is it because the plants are growing strongly.
                My money is on the 3rd idea.

                Blanket weed means you need more plants taking nutrients out of the water, which will starve it .
                I struggle to see how adding organic matter which rots down in the water can do much more than add more nutrients to the water.
                 
              • vbgr

                vbgr Gardener

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                I tried barley straw for my little pond. It nearly half filled it. Nothing happened and the pond was still green. I tried the bottle of algae killer and nothing happened. I then got a pump that ran on solar. It has two diffuser balls causing quite a bubbling and with the sun now shining from morning till night I have a clear of algae pond. But I still have to twirl a stick round the blanket weed to get that out. The blank weed is now starting to loose it’s strong strings and seem a bit mushy. I recon I’m on to a good thing. The only problem is that the solar has a limited life time and then it will have to be replaced. V
                 
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                • infradig

                  infradig Gardener

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                  If one were cynical, one might suspect that the barley had retained just enough glysophate to cause interruption in algae reproduction.Less likely with wheat and oats heading into the human food chain. Who knows for sure...
                   
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