Pond Algae and Plant Identification

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Filamentous Algae

Single algae cells that form long visible chains, threads, or filaments. Starts growing along the bottom in shallow water, or attached to structures in the water. Gives off oxygen that becomes entrapped in the mat of strands causing it to rise to the surface. Often a persistent problem because it reproduces by plant fragments, spores and cell division

Good Solutions

Cutrine-Ultra/Captain XTR

Better Solutions

Copper Sulfate

Best Solutions

Cutrine-Plus/Captain

Spirogyra

Very fine bright green filaments, slimy to the touch, normally encountered during the colder months.

Good Solutions
Copper Sulfate

Best Solutions

Cutrine-Plus/Captain

Pithophora

Often referred to as “horse hair” algae, very coarse and thread-like with a texture of steel wool. Normally brownish-yellow or brownish-green in color. Forms dense clumps as it rises to the surface. Common in farm ponds and nutrient rich ponds.

Hydrodictyon

Easily identified by septagon shaped cells. Net-like pattern in early matting stages. Normally yellowish-green, occurs later in the season, likes clean, eutrophic water.

Better Solutions

Cutrine-Plus/Captain

Oscillatoria

Long blue-green, unbranched filaments that oscillate naturally. Common in ponds devoid of aquatic plants. Thick muscelligenus, algae w/ attached leaves and silt make chemistry penetration very challenging.

Best Solutions

 

Cutrine-Ultra / Captain XTR

 

 

Planktonic Algae

Microscopic free-floating plants. Blooms cause water to appear pea soup green or brown in color. Can cause problems for fish if a sudden die off occurs. Extremely difficult to control.

Best Solutions

Cutrine-Plus/Captain

Microcystis

Microscopic in size, but in bloom proportions, will turn water a blue-green color and form surface scums. Some strains produce a toxin known as Microsystin which in abundance can be harmful to animals.

Good Solutions
Copper Sulfate

Better Solutions
Cutrine-Plus/Captain

Best Solutions
Cutrine-Ultra/Captain XTR

Aphanizomenom

Forms strands in bright green in color. In abundance will form surface scum. Toxin producer.

Good Solutions
Copper Sulfate

Better Solutions
Cutrine-Plus/Captain

Best Solutions
Cutrine-Ultra/Captain XTR

Anabaena

Causes strong odor even in small numbers. Forms surface scum. Toxin producer.

Good Solutions
Copper Sulfate

Better Solutions
Cutrine-Plus/Captain

Best Solutions
Cutrine-Ultra/Captain XTR

CHARA

Has the most complex structure of all green algae. Often called stoneworts, skunkweed or muskgrass. Becomes encrusted with calcium carbonate with maturity. Has a “skunky” smell when crushed. Easily confused with Naiad pond weed. In managed levels, this algae acts as a great natural filtration system for ponds. Provides lots of dissolved oxygen, sediment stabilization, and fish structure.

Best Solutions

Cutrine-Plus Granular

Curly Leaf Pond Weed

Very invasive exotic species of weed. Grows in spring with cold water and will naturally die off when water temperatures approach 70 degrees.

Good Solutions

Nautique/Komen

Better Solutions

Reward

Best Solutions

Sonar

Aquathol K

Eurasain Watermilfoil

Very invasive exotic weed species. Rapidly disperses through fragmentation. Will form canopy. Very competitive and able to completely dominate a plant community within a couple years.

Good Solutions

Nautique/Komen

Aquathol K

Better Solutions

Reward

Best Solutions

Sonar

Coontail

Native species. Distinguished from Watermilfoil by the forking of leaves rather than the feather like divisions. Will calcify later in season.

Good Solutions

Nautique/Komen

Better Solutions

Aquathol K

Best Solutions

Reward

Sonar

Clasping Leaf Pond Weed

Leaves are wide and wavy with a broad base.

Good Solutions

Sonar

Best Solutions

Aquathol K

Aquathol Super K

Sago Pondweed

Bush-like appearance with narrow thread shaped leaves. Nutlets are arranged like beads spaced on a string and emerge from the water.

Good Solutions

Sonar

Best Solutions

Aquathol K

Aquathol Super K

Elodea (Common Waterweed)

Brazilian Elodea is an exotic species transferred from aquarium industry. Will canopy, create plant monoculture & grows by fragmentation.

Better Solutions

Aquathol K

Nautique/Komen

Best Solutions

Reward

Sonar

Brittle Niaid

Exotic species from Europe. Very invasive. Grows in warmer water temperatures. Can grow by fragmentation.

Better Solutions

Nautique/Komen

 

Best Solutions

Aquathol K

Sonar

 

Bladderwort

Can grow in nutrient poor water. Free-floating plant with bladders.

Good Solutions

Reward

Best Solutions

Sonar

 

Hydrilla

Very invasive exotic plant. Will out compete all other plants forming a monoculture. Provides poor fish habitats, clogs intakes, and disrupts recreational activities. Grows by fragmentation. If you think you have this plant, please contact AQUA DOC or Cleveland Metroparks Invasive Plants immediately.

Good Solutions

Reward

Better Solutions

Aquathol K

Best Solutions

Sonar

Cattails

Native species of perennial plant. Provides excellent habitat for wildlife. Can spread quickly if not managed on a regular basis.

Best Solutions

Shoreline Defense

Phragmites

Very aggressive growth. Not preferred habitat for birds or aquatic animals.

Good Solutions

Shoreline Defense

Purple Loosestrife

Adapts readily and as it establishes itself, it out competes and replaces native grasses, sedges, and flowering plants that provide a higher quality nutritional source and habitat for wildlife.

Better Solutions

Shoreline Defense

Creeping Primrose

Can be difficult to control because ½ the plant is in water and the other ½ of the plant is above water. Prevents adequate coverage with herbicides. Best to treat mid-summer when pond levels are down.

Best Solutions

Shoreline Defense

Spatterdock

Relatively heart-shaped leaves that stand above the surface on thick, stiff stems, has yellow flowers in summer.

Good Solutions

Reward

Better Solutions

Shoreline Defense

Best Solutions

Sonar

Water Lilies

Large leaves that lay flat on the water’s surface. Leaves can be round or elliptical and could have a slit in one side.

Better Solutions

Shoreline Defense

Best Solutions

Sonar

Spike Rush

Commonly uprooted by amurs, muskrats & waterfowl then found floating. Difficult to control if plant is not entirely submerged or exposed. Once plant is uprooted, it cannot be killed with herbicides. Plant is desirable because it only grows a couple of inches in length and provides great shoreline and bottom stabilization.

Better Solutions

Aquathol K

Better Solutions

Reward

Best Solutions

Shoreline Defense

Watershield

Leaves are oval, green on top and reddish purple on the bottom and the stem. Stem is attached in the middle of the leaf. Difficult to control because of the waxy leaf covering-must keep herbicide on leaf for control.

Good Solutions

Shoreline Defense

Better Solutions

Clipper

Better Solutions

Sonar

American/Illinois Pond Weed

Native species, usually do not grow to nuisance levels. Provides good fish and wildlife habitat.

Good Solutions

Reward

Better Solutions

Sonar

Best Solutions
Aquathol K

Watermeal

Smallest flowering plant. Rapidly spreads through budding. Thrives in stagnant, nutrient rich waters.

Best Solutions

Sonar

Duckweed

Cousin to watermeal. Identified by three leaves with hair-like roots dangling below.

Good Solutions

Reward

Best Solutions

Sonar