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This wet weather and humidity have pond weeds growing like, well, weeds!
Nashville, Ark. – What have I been up to these last couple of weeks? POND WEEDS! This
wet weather and humidity have pond weeds growing like, well, weeds! There are many
types of aquatic weeds, but in comparison to pasture and turf grass weeds, aquatic
weeds can, on occasion, be easier to identify. There are four main types of aquatic
weeds: algae, emergent, floating and submersed.
Algae common to Southwestern Arkansas includes filamentous and planktonic algae. Filamentous
algae, sometimes called moss, although it is not truly considered to be a “moss”,
can blanket pond bottoms and clumps of it can float to the surface. Planktonic algae
are the microscopic plants that at high concentrations can make water appear green.
These algae blooms can be red, black, or green.
Some common emergent weeds are alligator weed, water pennywort, and smart weed. Alligator
weed is a non-native species, therefore we should be careful to not allow this to
spread. It forms very dense stands or mats, making shoreline access difficult. Stems
are hollow, leaves are opposite, and include a prominent mid-rib. The flowers are
small and white on long branches, resembling white clover. Water Pennywort usually
forms dense mats along shorelines, but can also be floating mats or islands. Leaves
are dark green and round with blunt indentations rising from a center stem. Tiny white
to greenish-white flowers with 5 petals arise from a single point on the stalk; to
me, they somewhat resemble a 4-leaf clover. Smart weed can grow up to 3 feet tall
and form dense colonies in shallow water. Stems are jointed, leaves are alternate,
and up to 4 inches long. Flowers are green and then turn white or light pink as the
Duckweeds and Watermeal are two of the most common floating weeds in Southwest Arkansas.
Water Hyacinth is a nonnative species, but is slowly becoming more common to the area.
Duckweeds form dense blankets that cover the surface of still water. They range in
color from light green to dark green and they have flattened leaf-like structures
with hanging roots. Leaves are small, about the size of half a Tic-Tac. Watermeal
is much smaller; it is a rootless plant that looks and feels like green cornmeal.
It forms dense blankets that cover still water. Its “leaves” are about the size of
a pin head. Water Hyacinth forms large floating masses that have deep green leathery
leaves with spongy stems and feathery roots. The flower consists of 5-20 light purple
to blue flowers with the upper petals having a pronounced yellow spot. These plants
are popular in landscaped ponds, as the flower is actually very pretty.
One of the worst submersed weeds is Hydrilla. It is a non-native species; however,
it grows quickly and has already built up a resistance to some chemicals. Hydrilla
leaves are oblong with sharply serrated edges; leaves are rough to the touch. They
are green and grow in whorls of 3-8. Flowers grow from the upper branches and are
translucent to white in color. Two other common submersed weeds that are native include
Coontail and any of the “pondweeds” (yes, that is a specific type of aquatic weed).
Coontail is rootless, submersed and can grow 15 feet tall. It forms dense colonies.
The stems are elongated, branched and rough to the touch. The leaves are whorls of
five or more and somewhat resemble the tail of a raccoon. Different types of pondweeds
are Sago, Illinois, and Variable leaf. Sago pondweed has no floating leaves; stems
are thin and have filament-like leaves. They can grow over 12 inches long. Illinois
pondweed has mostly submersed leaves. Leaves are blade-like, submersed leaves are
1-7 inches long and 2-3 inches wide. Variable leaf pondweed has both floating and
submersed leaves. Floating leaves are leathery, elliptical. Submersed leaves are much
thinner and threadlike.
Common chemicals include copper sulfate for algae. 2,4-D is commonly used for some
emersed weeds, however Fluridone is popular for both emersed and submersed weeds as
well as some floating weeds. Glysophate is another chemical for treating most shoreline
vegetation and several emersed weeds. Diquat is also readily available; it is commonly
used for submersed weeds and filamentous algae.
The most important point to remember is to read the chemical label thoroughly; do
not assume that all instructions are the same for all chemicals. It is also important
to learn your surroundings when applying chemicals. Be aware of the upcoming weather;
will it be windy? Could my chemical application drift over to my neighbors? Know what
your end goal is. What are the uses for my pond? Do I have fish colonies I want to
protect? Do I have cattle drinking water out of this pond? These are all factors that
could affect your livelihood. Without a doubt, the best piece of advice I can give
is to not be in a hurry. Do not apply chemical to the entire pond at once, as that
might result in a fish kill. Again, go back to the label and see what it indicates
for use when fish are present. And lastly, please always feel free to contact the
Extension Office at 870-845-7517 for more information. Information for this article
was obtained from UAEX publications, MP360, “Farm Pond Management” and from Southern
Regional Aquaculture Center, “Aquatic Weed Management.”
By Kaycee Davis County Extension Agent - AgricultureThe Cooperative Extension ServiceU of A System Division of Agriculture
Media Contact: Kaycee Davis County Extension Agent - Agriculture U of A Division of Agriculture Cooperative Extension Service 421 N. Main Nashville AR 71852 (870) 845-7517 firstname.lastname@example.org
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