Congratulations, you now own the finest lake weed control mat ever made, LakeMat Pro or MuckMat Pro, the ONLY control mat that gives you a firm lake bottom in just minutes. Or you might have purchased one of our BoatLift Mat series, (Pontoon Mat, JetSki Mat, Dock Mat) to give you a firm base for your lifts and docks. It’s a simple idea — make safe, green products so you and your family can enjoy the lake more, control your weeds, without toxic chemicals and have a firm lake bottom to walk on.
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Of all our Mats, LakeMat Pro is typically the one that gets moved. MuckMat Pros are usually put in a specific spot where owners want a permanent, solid lake bottom. When you move your Mat depends on the time of year, water temperature, the length of your growing season and the type of aquatic weeds you’re dealing with. In the north, four weeks should be long enough to control most submerged weeds. If you’re controlling lily pads, they have a lot more structure and can take up to eight weeks to completely decompose, though the plant is dead long before. In the south, hydrilla is an extremely tenacious plant. It’s easily controlled by LakeMats initially, but will eventually send out new shoots, around and over everything in its way. Hydrilla sends up tendrils, into the Mat fabric. To combat this, move your Mat to a different spot every month or so, to disrupt new growth. BEFORE YOU MOVE IT Depending on how much sediment is on your Mat, you may need to clean some silt off first. Here’s why: Just a half-inch of wet silt spread evenly over a 12’x24’ Mat weighs approximately one ton (2,000 lbs) on dry land. That’s only about 200 lbs in water, but it’s still pretty heavy. NEVER PULL A LAKEMAT OUT OF THE WATER WITH A MOTORIZED VEHICLE. Once out of the water, the “actual” weight comes into effect. One inch of sediment build-up weighs 400 lbs in water — and about 4,000 lbs on land! You will bend your frame or rip the fabric. If it’s fairly clean, follow the steps below. If not, see: Cleaning Your Mat (below).
Most Mat-moving is done with LakeMat Pros, but all Lacey Mats are moved the same way. First, gently pull up on one end (or both ends, with two people) and slowly rock it back and forth to loosen it — you’ll feel it break free from the bottom. Cleaning Your Mat — Yes, you really have to! Yes, you have to — if you want it to keep working. — and here’s why. The sediment that lands on your Mat contain nutrients plants need to grow, like phosphorous, nitrogen, calcium and several others. Over time, enough nutrients and soil particles can build up to provide a base for new weeds to grow.
The answer varies a lot. We (D.F.) have two docks, 40 feet apart, with a MuckMat Pro by each one. One hardly gets any sediment, I could sweep it just once a year. The other Mat gets so much sediment, I sweep it every two weeks, from spring until fall. Otherwise, the sediment gets so thick I have to use a big squeegee to push the sediment off — like a little bulldozer — then I sweep it. I have no idea why it’s so different at just 40 feet apart. The point is, it’s up to you to use your own judgment and clean your Mat when you feel it needs it.
If you plan on cleaning your Mat, the easiest cleaning method we’ve found is simply moving it through water, just below the surface. As it moves, water passing over it acts like air rushing over an airfoil. You’ll see sediment washing off, trailing behind you. Moving it every month or so, during the warm months will keep your Mat clean enough to prevent weed regrowth. Sweep it off in the Lake. If you can’t or don’t want to move it, the easiest way to clean it is right “on the lake bottom” with a push broom — they work great if there’s not too much sediment. However, if sediment has built up, use a squeegee or upside-down lake rake, (teeth pointing up) to push the heavier sediment off — then finish with a broom. Other ways customers clean their Mats (Anything that moves water) Submerge a garden hose with a sprinkler (or sprayer head). Commercial, underwater blowers such as “Aqua Sweep.” “Trash pumps” are powerful pumps made to pump water and solids. “Submersible pumps,” often used for flooded basements. (The big ones work best). Backwash from a jet ski. Clamp a flexible drainpipe (usually 4” diameter) to the exit nozzle. (This works great, but it’s a bit hard to hold onto). Kayak or canoe paddles. Amazing how much silt this moves — and a good workout. Whatever method you use, the idea is to create water “turbulence” to move the silt.
Things that move air, like air pumps and leaf blowers. Pushing air doesn’t require much torque and it wants to immediately rise to the surface. Things that move fast, like weed trimmers. Water (at sea level) is 874 times denser than air. Don’t do it, you’ll ruin your trimmer.
The safest place for your Mats is underwater. If possible leave it in year-round, in water about two-feet deep. Ice and cold won’t hurt it. The only downside to leaving it in all winter is sediment may build up, which you’ll want to clean off in spring. Some people want to take out their Mats in the fall. In areas where aggressive weeds, like hydrilla, grow, this may be a good idea where growing seasons are longer.
First, clean your mat. Once your Mat is fairly clean and moves easily through the water, bring one end to shore, by hand, only as far as you can comfortably pull it. Let it drain a few minutes, and pull it up a little more. Repeat this process until it’s entirely out of the water. Let it dry completely. If possible, store the fabric away from sunlight. If that’s not possible, then don’t clean it until you’re ready to use it again in spring. The silt particles left on your Mat will act as a partial sunscreen over the winter.
The MuckMat Pro works great — and even better if you can put beach sand on it. Holding soil in place is what our fabric and grid are made for — building roads in soft, wet soils. MuckMat Pro provides excellent soil separation and prevents your sand from sinking in the muck. When placing sand (or gravel) on your Mat, start around all the outside edges first. This presses the fabric into the grid, locking it in place. Then spiral inward, placing sand in the center of the Mat last. Three inches of sand is usually plenty.
Some parts of your beach may be fish bedding areas in the spring. Circular “fish beds,” cleared out by spawning fish are unmistakable. Putting a Mat in during this time prevents a lot of fish eggs from hatching. Don’t do that. Put it in before, or after the fish spawn. The good news is, MuckMat Pros and LakeMat Pros can create new spawning areas. Mucky lake bottoms have few fish beds. Areas choked with invasive weeds like starry stonewart, often have few beds because they’re difficult for fish to clear. Here’s how you help.
In early spring, before fish start to bed, place your LakeMat Pro that’s traditionally choked with weeds each year — hopefully, a spot where you watch the spawning process. After three weeks, move it to another spot, (not on fish beds). You’ll have a large, rectangular “weed-free” area that fills up with new fish beds. Fun to watch!
Install your MuckMat Pro when fish aren’t bedding. add a little sand. (or pea stone gravel — fish love it). It may take until the next spawn, but you’ll have wall-to-wall fish beds, right on top of your MuckMat Pro! It’s amazing to behold. Once fish start using the new bedding area, watching them is captivating. You can feed them fish pellets or bread. They’ll get used to you and actually swim towards you when they see you coming — honest! But if you do, you may start seeing them as your pets — which could really mess up your “fishing.
LakeMat Pro and MuckMat Pro fabric is gas and water permeable — allowing all the little critters (benthic organisms) to breathe and move about freely. Materials such as plastic tarps suffocate microorganisms that are vital to a healthy lake. Be Responsible Don’t contribute to Lake Pollution. In the past, people have put lots of stupid things in lakes, trying to control weeds or firm up the lake bottom. They’ve used plastic tarps, old carpet, chain link fences, box springs, landscape fabric, wood pallets and all kinds of other dumb stuff. The worst I ever saw was a mucky beach where a previous owner had sunk several round bales of “barbed wire” fence — I can’t even imagine what they were thinking. Horrible! Once people found these things didn’t work, they often just left their bad idea in the lake. Once this stuff gets covered with silt and weeds it becomes a real mess and difficult to remove. Don’t do this.
In most states,“seasonal” additions like roll-in docks and swim rafts require no permit. Some require permits for “permanent” structures like fixed docks and seawalls. Your mat is “seasonal” if it’s installed in spring and taken out in fall. Adding sand is “permanent.” States that allow sanding also allow (or require) “barriers” to preserve the sand — MuckMat Pro is the best “barrier” there is! You may wish to consult your state agency regarding permitting. Bluegills bedding on MuckMat Pro. Previously this area was mucky and full of chara (algae that look like thick weeds). There were very few fish beds, now there are dozens.