The presence of algae or other invasive plant species can quickly ruin your enjoyment of your lake or pond. Invasive plant growth also indicates a fundamental lack of balance in your pond’s ecosystem. For these reasons, it’s important to quickly and conclusively take care of unwanted plants when they first occur.
At Aquatic Environment Consultants (AEC), we have more than 30 years of experience with invasive lake species management. Instead of providing a quick, unreliable fix, we offer solutions that get to the bottom of the issue and restore health and balance to your lake.
Types of Invasive Plants
Any freshwater plant exhibiting excessive and unwanted growth can be considered invasive, particularly if that growth is affecting the health of other species in your lake or pond. In the Midwest and mid-Atlantic regions, some of the most common invasive plants in lake and ponds include:
- Purple loosestrife — Purple loosestrife is easily identifiable thanks to its bright purple flowers, which grow on long spikes located on the top of their stems. Once it takes root in a lake or pond, purple loosestrife spreads quickly, crowding out other species and destroying the natural habitat of birds, fish and other animals.
- Brazilian Elodea — Brazilian elodea grows underwater and can be differentiated from harmless water plants by its long, wide leaves. The plant is often used in home aquariums, and it spreads to freshwater bodies when people carelessly discard the contents of an old tank. Once it has taken root in a pond or lake, Brazilian elodea grows quickly and aggressively. This causes increased sedimentation, impeding water flow, reduced oxygen, and crowding of other plants.
- Hydrilla — Hydrilla is listed on the federal noxious weed list, and it’s one of the more common invasive plants in lakes and ponds in the Midwest and mid-Atlantic regions. Hydrilla grows in thick mats and can rise to the surface of a lake or pond when its growth is unchecked. It is identifiable by its small, pointed leaves and long, branched stems. These can grow at a rate of up to one inch per day. If this growth isn’t controlled, it can alter the chemical composition of your lake or pond, putting native plants and animals at risk.
Invasive species can be either submerged underwater, floating on the surface of your pond, or rooted in shallow and emerging from the water. Each type has different implications for the health of your pond’s ecosystem, necessitating different remediation strategies. At AEC, we’ll use our expertise to help you develop a plan for combating unwanted plant growth.
Invasive Species Treatment Strategies
When we recommend invasive species treatment strategies, some common suggestions include:
- Mechanical — Rakes, seines, harvesters and other tools can clear away invasive plant growth quickly. If you primarily use your lake or pond for swimming or boating, this is an effective way to restore its natural beauty.
- Biological — A lake or pond must be a functional ecosystem. Often, plants that crowd other vegetation can be controlled by the introduction of natural predators, including certain types of fish and insects.
- Physical — Altering the physical properties of your lake or pond can be useful in promoting healthy water chemistry, which limits the damage invasive species can do. Adding an aerator or fountain is an easy, long-term solution to some of the water quality issues that promote the growth of algae and other invasive species.
- Herbicides and Algaecides — The use of commercial products for plant control in a lake or pond is a very effective management strategy. When this is required, it’s important to have the procedure done by a professional who can minimize its impact on other plants and animals.
An informed approach to invasive species management in a lake or pond may combine some or all of these methods. For example, the use of mechanical or material controls can be an effective short-term intervention that clears away nuisance weeds. When used properly, the application of materials such as systemic herbicides can lead to the eradication of invasive plant species.
Contact AEC for Assistance With Your Invasive Species Problem
AEC provides consulting and other services related to the management of invasive plant species in your lake and pond. We begin with an initial assessment of water quality and vegetation, and we develop a comprehensive, long-term plan for intervention and management.
Don’t let excessive plant growth limit your ability to enjoy a clean and healthy lake or pond. We serve a wide range of clients, including homeowners’ associations, golf courses and more. Contact our office to arrange a meeting with one of our experts today.