Pond Boss

Water Primrose getting established

Posted By: snrub

Water Primrose getting established - 10/18/14 06:30 PM

I have Water Primrose getting started in my old refurbished 1 acre pond. It was pretty thick before cleaning the pond out, and now it is just started coming back. There are single sprigs about 2-3' long scattered out maybe ten feet apart around 2/3 of the shore line. Picture below of typical size.

I've read this old thread Water Primrose control and this one. Water primrose

The pond is in sore need of some shoreline habitat for fish recruitment. No other aquatic rooted weeds that I know of yet. Water level has been low and now higher with recent rains, so some land based weeds/grass are providing some temporary habitat but they will be gone by spring.

The second link above gives some pretty good discussion of the benefits and problems associated with WP. Thought I would go ahead and ask some opinions on its use as shore line fish habitat. It looks like there are three options to managing it.

1. Kill every sprig I see next spring by hand or chemical and try to get something else established.

2. Let it do its thing till it gets too thick, then remove or kill some of it back

3. Selectively control sections of the bank so some areas are fish-able and other areas are cover for the fish.

Leaning towards the third option. Would like others opinions and their experience with WP.

My wife took a few sprigs of it this spring and put in a little concrete pool that is up against our house with goldfish in it. I got to observe close up its growth and the way it sends roots down into the water. It even bloomed with the pretty yellow flowers. It looks like tremendous fish fry and fingerling habitat for some protection from predators. It looks like it could go crazy and get out of control without regular control maintenance.


Description: WP just getting established
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Posted By: snrub

close up WP - 10/18/14 06:41 PM

Here are a couple pictures closer up of WP that my wife had in her little cement pond. The pond looks kind of nasty now as it is end of season and she is getting ready to clean it out for the winter.

In the pictures you can see how it branches out and spreads out over the water from land based roots.

These vines covered the little pool and were taken out of the little seasonal creek as just a couple short sprigs this spring. So it has grown this much with limited soil in one year in a cement pond (plastic liner).


Description: WP in cement pond
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022.JPG  (252 downloads)

Description: branches and my hand for size reference
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023.JPG  (277 downloads)
Posted By: FireIsHot

Re: close up WP - 10/19/14 12:49 AM

snrub, I'll deny I said it if anybody asks, but WP under the correct conditions is one of my favorite nuisance plants.

Small fish love the cover, larger fish love the shade, and it pens well to the bank "if" the dropoff is steep enough. Where I've had problems with it, is on gradual slopes where it can crawl with the water drop and just be a mess to deal with. I always keep a patch on the dam in my brood pond for the fry, and control it as needed.
Posted By: snrub

Re: close up WP - 10/19/14 03:33 AM

Ok, thanks.

Sounds like it is pretty easy to control chemically or even mechanically if it is not too big.
Posted By: FireIsHot

Re: close up WP - 10/19/14 11:21 AM

Originally Posted By: snrub
...Sounds like it is pretty easy to control chemically or even mechanically if it is not too big.

It can be, but it can also be a huge mess that can spread like crazy.

Most of the unmanaged ponds I see around here have something growing in them, and most of them start looking pretty ragged by summer. As much as I like WP, it can still overtake a pond and become a royal PITA.

I'm not sure I'd ever introduce it to a pond, but I've got it, and have found a way to live with it.

EDIT: Snrub, what would be an interesting thread to me, is Kelly Duffie and others commenting on what are the hardest invasives to control, and which can stay controlled. Not the actual treatment per say, but which one's cause a chemical applicator to double down on his/her efforts.
Posted By: Bill Cody

Re: close up WP - 10/19/14 03:55 PM

I don't have any experience with WP. How far out from shore will it spread? Is it correct to assume that water depth is not an deterrent since it grows across the surface?
Posted By: snrub

Re: close up WP - 10/19/14 07:09 PM

It is in many old farm ponds around here. I would venture to say most. It does not seem to be such an issue in deeper portions of ponds, but where an old pond is shallow it can spread all the way across.

I've seen none in my main pond yet, but the brand new sediment pond ahead of the main pond already has a couple sprigs, so I'm guessing birds or animals brought seeds in.

It is thick in the seasonal creek below the dam. Very common plant for us.
Posted By: Bill Cody

Re: close up WP - 10/19/14 08:42 PM

Let's say we have a 1/2 to 1 acre pond that has 3:1 side slopes and 12 to 16 ft deep. How far out from shore will this WP spread? Does shoreline depth have anything to do with its spread out from shore?. Or is wave action maybe the main controlling factor? Is it beneficial to fish parallel to the outer weedline?
Posted By: Cecil Baird1

Re: close up WP - 10/19/14 08:47 PM

I had primrose a few years ago in the biggest pond but it's gone now for some reason. Never got out of hand for me. perhaps competition with other plants? Or my steep slope in thevpond?
Posted By: Shorty

Re: close up WP - 10/19/14 10:14 PM

I fished a private sandpit this summer with WP, it seemed to grow no deeper that 2-1/2 to 3 ft max.
Posted By: Bill Cody

Re: close up WP - 10/20/14 12:18 AM

Anyone else with water primrose that grows deeper than 2.5 to 3 ft depths?
Posted By: Cecil Baird1

Re: close up WP - 10/20/14 01:05 AM

Not me.
Posted By: dlowrance

Re: close up WP - 10/20/14 01:48 PM

I had it fairly heavily on the large pond last year. It never expanded beyond a depth of maybe 4 feet. No farther. It did eventually surround the entire perimeter of the pond.

Honestly I like the stuff. It is pleasing to the eye when it blooms, it does a phenomenal job absorbing nutrients (which almost guaranteed no algae bloom), it's a great place for small fish and invertebrates to grow and subsequently provide a food source for the larger fish, and an added benefit for me, it prevents shore fishing...that helps me be sure the neighbor kids aren't sneaking over.

For some odd reason I didn't get any this year...and correspondingly had a pretty rough year algae-wise.
Posted By: snrub

Re: close up WP - 10/20/14 02:34 PM

That is interesting.

We sure had a terrible FA bloom this year in the main pond. Not in the old pond though.

I've seen the stuff around in ponds for years and years. This old pond we refurbished had lots of it before cleaning it out. But not being that interested in ponds previously really never paid much attention to it.

I can see where it would be great fish habitat, based on what the small amount looked like that my wife placed in the little pool beside our house. And the yellow blooms did look pretty.

If I can control the stuff as needed with a hand sprayer and a reasonably priced glyphosate product, then letting it go for the time being is the best course. Like stated, the pond could use some more cover for fish fry and fingerlings. If I let it go for a while next spring, then kill it back either with mechanical or chemical control in the areas we want to fish from, that should work out well.

I mainly wanted to be sure it was not going to be "the weed from hell" and setting myself up for a nightmare.

This pond had fairly steep sides, but then using a backhoe I went around 2/3 of the perimeter (all but the dam) and made it larger. This caused a steep bank with water 5-6' deep out about 6-8', then shallow water again of a couple feed deep till it drops off again steep to the bottom. So I have some concern if it reaches out over this first area of water it can establish roots down again and extend even further out. But if it is reasonably easy to control even that should not pose much of a problem as long as I'm willing to do some maintenance each year with it. If I ever get tired of messing with the pond and just let it go, then it could get to be a mess as I see it.
Posted By: ewest

Re: close up WP - 10/20/14 06:55 PM

That is about a deep as I have seen it Bill. Not a hard plant to manage - get some goats.
Posted By: snrub

Re: close up WP - 10/21/14 12:39 AM

No goats for me ewest.

I don't think my daughter would take kindly to me requesting she take care of the goats during the winter while we are basking in the sun in the Caribbean. She does a lot for us while we are gone the way it is. I think goats would be the straw that breaks the camels back, so to speak. laugh
Posted By: Vortex 4

Re: close up WP - 05/16/19 02:30 PM

I have new WP popping up in a few places in my pond. So far it is great. The little fish love it and it is attractive.

I used google lens to ID it and get a mixed bag on benefit vs threat. This thread reflects the same bifurcated view.

I can probably pull it all up today and keep it from coming back. It hasn't bloomed yet.

Should I kill it?
Posted By: dlowrance

Re: close up WP - 05/16/19 02:55 PM

Originally Posted By: Vortex 4
I have new WP popping up in a few places in my pond. So far it is great. The little fish love it and it is attractive.

I used google lens to ID it and get a mixed bag on benefit vs threat. This thread reflects the same bifurcated view.

I can probably pull it all up today and keep it from coming back. It hasn't bloomed yet.

Should I kill it?


5 years later and I still like WP. I now recognize that SOMETHING is going to grow if nutrients are present - so I just try to make sure the plants I get match my management goals. Given that both my larger ponds have steep sides, WP is a good solution to absorb that nutrient load from the water. I also encourage lily pads and reeds along the shore, and the shorter sub-species of cattail in certain areas.
Posted By: Vortex 4

Re: close up WP - 05/16/19 03:04 PM

Thanks Dale.
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