How do I use barley straw to manage algae in my pond?

We offer Bags and Bales of Barley Straw

Some Questions and Answers about Barley Straw

Barley straw: The old herbal remedy that actually works! It does not work by immediately killing algae, but by impeding new growth until the natural life cycle comes to an end.

What kind is best?

All varieties of barley straw will work in a pond as long as the seed heads have been removed and they are relatively free of weeds.

How much do I need?

In a large earthen pond, you will need six bales to every acre, regardless of depth. In a small backyard pond, use one pound of straw for every 2,000 gallons.

Where do I put the straw in the pond?

Straw needs to be distributed around the edge of the pond at a depth of two to three feet. Bales and smaller units alike will need to be anchored so that they will not drift into deeper water. In an unlined pond, a stake going through the straw and into the bottom should do the trick. If your pond is lined, you might consider tying them to some form of anchor at the bottom, such as a rock or a brick, or by leashing it to a post on the shore.

Can I put whole bales in the pond or do I need to place it in bags?

This depends on how many bales you are using. If you are using one or two bales, divide up the straw and stuff it into  mesh sacks. One compressed bale will fill six sacks. If your pond needs three or more, you can use whole bales.  Barley straw bales can be purchased from us with or without bags.

What kind of pond does Barley Straw work best in?

Straw works best in hard water ponds. This means that your total alkalinity level is above 100 ml/g. Don’t  know what your alkalinity level is? Find out with one of our easy 5-in-1 Test Kits!  A sample 5 in 1 Test Kit Strip comes free whenever you buy your barley bales from us.

What if my pond water is too soft?

The simple and inexpensive addition of crushed limestone to your pond will solve the problem.  Arm and Hammer Baking Soda (Sodium Bicarbonate)  can also be used for a more rapid effect.  50 lb bags are available on our site if you need large quantities.

What if there is already algae in the pond?

Algae cells only live for a few weeks before they die naturally. So, that means once you add barley straw to your pond, all you need is patience. However, if patience is not your strongest virtue, a quick sprinkle of Green Clean on surface algae (one lb per 1,000 square feet) will provide a quick fix.

When should I place barley straw in my pond?

The best time to add barley straw is about a month before you expect algae to bloom. After that, you can add it whenever you feel like you need it. Straw that doesn’t get used over the warm season will last and be ready for use the next Spring.

What kinds of straw packages can I buy?

We keep straw stocked all year long, and you can buy accordingly. We sell Bale Kits and Bale-and-Bag Kits in a single, double, and six-pack size for large earthen ponds, and one-pound mesh bags for backyard ponds. We also offer large mesh bags for those with their own straw.


  1. scot says:

    Great post, Linda! We just wrote a blog post about algae control, too. Any feedback you have on it would be awesome!

  2. Barley is a very effective way at preventing algae blooms. This is one product I recommend to all my customers. Thanks for sharing the great info!


    Jamie Boyle
    The Goldfish Guy