Green Algae Control Lake Management

Vegetation Identification

     As previously stated, Vegetation Identification is a very critical first step in managing your pond. With the vast numbers of plant species that you could potentially encounter it's often difficult for the average pond owner to narrow down their choices. Most aquatic plants can be broken down into four major groups, Algae, Submerged, Emergent and Floating.
Algae - This group of "plants" is often the most problematic, but these can often be easily controlled.
Submerged Plants - These are the plants that grow, typically rooted from the bottom, and grow near the water’s surface. Some species will even have portions of the plant slightly above the water line. Of all the plant groups these are the most difficult to control. Hydrilla is the most well know submerged plant.
Emergent Plants - Shoreline vegetation and any other rooted plant that grows above the water line is considered Emergent. Cattails are a perfect example.
Floating Plants - Floating vegetation is just that, free floating on the surface of the water; often with exposed roots just below the waterline. Some of the most invasive plants are floating plants such as, Giant Salvinia, Hyacinth etc.

Native and Non Native Plants

The following was taken  from the United States Environmental Protection Agency.

What is a Native Pant?
    Native plants (also called indigenous plants) are plants that have evolved over thousands of years in a particular region. They have adapted to the geography, hydrology, and climate of that region. Native plants occur in communities, that is, they have evolved together with other plants. As a result, a community of native plants provides habitat for a variety of native wildlife species such as songbirds and butterflies.

What is a Non-Native Plant?
    Non-native plants (also called non-indigenous plants, invasive plants, exotic species, or weeds) are plants that have been introduced into an environment in which they did not evolve. Introduction of non-native plants into our landscape has been both accidental and deliberate. Purple loosestrife, for example, was introduced from Europe in the 1800's in ship ballast and as a medicinal herb and ornamental plant. It quickly spread and can now be found in 42 states.

    In general, aggressive, non-native plants have no enemies or controls to limit their spread. As they move in, complex native plant communities, with hundreds of different plant species supporting wildlife, will be converted to a monoculture. This means the community of plants and animals is simplified, with most plant species disappearing, leaving only the non-native plant population intact.

     For example, purple loosestrife colonizes wetland areas, replacing native plants unable to compete for available sunlight, water, and nutrients. Wetlands infested with purple loosestrife lose as much as 50% of their original native plant populations. This limits the variety of food and cover available to birds and may cause the birds to move or disappear from a region altogether

Leaf Arrangement for Identification

    One critical aspect of plant identification that is too often overlooked is Leaf Arrangement. The manner in which the leaves of a plant are arranged on the stem can often be the determining factor in properly identifying it. There are three basic styles that we will concentrate on for now; Alternate, Opposite, and Whorled.
    An Alternate pattern is when the first leaf is on the left side and the second leaf is located up the stem and on the right side of the stem this pattern then alternates left, right, left right and so on. However the very tips of the plant may be too closely grouped to distinguish a pattern so be sure to take multiple sample from the same plant before declaring the pattern.
Alternate leaf Pattern
Opposite leaf Pattern
    Opposite leaf patterns are somewhat easier to identify. They are straight forward, having two leaves directly across from one another, each on opposite sides of the stem. In an opposite pattern you could draw a line from leaf 1 to leaf 2 and it would be perpendicular to the stem. See drawing at left.
Whirled Leaf Pattern
    Plants that exhibit a whorled pattern have three or more leaves attached to the stem at the same level and basically circle the stem. This can often give the vegetation a tubular appearance.
     Not all Plants that we encounter in and around our ponds will fit into these categories. Cattails for example can't clearly be defined as one of our three choices but the bulk of plants will. Something as simple as leaf arrangement can help you clear the last hurdle of identifying your vegetation and should be something that you condition yourself to look at. For example, early in the growing season Bushy Pondweed and Sago Pondweed closely resemble one another; at these times knowing that Bushypondweed is always opposite and Sago ponweed is alternate can be the difference. When you consider that the products used on Sago Pondweed may not be effective on Bushy Pondweed you begin to see the importance of proper Identification.