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So I've noticed this issue developing in my larger, mostly neglected pond over the past few weeks and finally took some pics this evening. Here is what the pond looks like from the dam.



All of the "stuff" on the surface is what I take to be the little tip of curly leaf pondweed stalks that sticks out of the water. It is covering nearly the entire pond. It was not there last year. Here's a shot of the plant in the water.



Here are a couple of close up shots of the plant out of the water.






So I'm thinking it's curly leaf pondweed because of the, well, curly leaves. Also, according to the description on the Texas A&M site, the leaves are offset, as these appear to be, and the more mature leaves are toothed with the distinctive mid-rib that site says will be present.

Being somewhat comfortable in my analysis, the task turns now to deciding what, if anything, to do about it. Like I said, this was not present like this last year. Last year, though, was the first year that the level dropped by about half of the total depth due to apparent muskrat damage to the dam. Perhaps earlier in the year the conditions were not conducive to the emergence of this plant because of the recent change in conditions, but now a year later at the lower level, perhaps conditions were just right.

I have none of this stuff in my 1/2 acre pond, which is higher up from this one, although it does have a very tolerable small amount of American Pondweed to go along with an overabundance of chara, FA, and watermeal.

Having just this evening decided what this is, I haven't yet read the forum to see if it's been addressed already, but will be doing so. I'd love to at least get a handle on the options so I sort of know what to do if I choose to move forward in an attempt to remediate this condition. Fishing is almost impossible, though I have not really used this pond at all as the smaller one is a wonderful place for family fun and is a lot more easily accessible.

Thanks for any thoughts you guys/gals want to toss out here!


Todd La Neve

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Brother F

What is going on here? Way low water levels due to muskrat activity and heavy vegetation...am I right? How about addressing the muskrat damage, refill, then add some GC for vegetation control?


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I think the 'rat problems lowered the water levels enough to allow enough light to the bottom thru the whole pond for the Curly stuff to get going.

If the pocketbook allows, I'd forget about trying to treat it this year. I'd concentrate on doing what's necessary to get the water level back up and stable, then go after it with chemicals. Once it's whacked back, get a bloom going to lower the light levels on the pond bottom.


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Having just read up on the plant myself as I now have it in my forage pond... It's sort of unusual for a pond plant as it peaks early in the season, rather than late. By early July it should be dying and pretty much gone. So, as esshup said I wouldn't worry about it this year but would look into treating it next year... From Bill Cody: "Supposedly Sonar can kill it and not affect eel grass and some other better submerged plants. I have not had good luck at lower doses so far with Sonar only used it a couple times. Higher doses of Sonar will cause lilies to yellow and maybe kill them. Most all my curly dies back around July 4. Then it is not a problem until the next spring."

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When we bought the place last summer, the seller told me that it had been full until around January/February of last year when it suddenly drained. He really believes it was muskrats, and we certainly have plenty of them in the pond. The dam itself is not in great condition as it has some backside erosion and a lot of trees growing on it. The area where the pond is located is a ravine and when this land was stripped many years ago, the company built all the ponds, several of which are stairstepped down through the ravine, including this one. So, the point of that is while the dam is bad, the true base appears to be where my water level now sits. Much below that - a few feet tops - and I'm at the shallow end of the neighbor's pond which is separated from mine only by the width of the dam. I think if I repaired my dam, I could do so without having to go all the way down to pond bottom, which would likely save some $. But, I also worry that it may be difficult to blend the functional bottom with a new top. Need a dirt guy here for sure to give me a qualified opinion.

I agree that getting the depth back in place would likely eliminate such a bad infestation of the curly leaf, but the $ needed for doing so are probably going to be better expended elsewhere, like starting permanent living quarters at the farm so we can move there sooner than later. In the meantime, I'm killing the muskrats every chance I get. I had taken most of the winter off, but am now back to carrying my .22 mag rifle with me every time we go to the farm, so if I show up at PBIV sporting a pimped out mac-daddy full length muskrat fur coat, you'll know it's been a good year!

I have lots of ideas for this pond, but for now, intermediate fixes are the order of the day. In reading about curly leaf last night, I found that it will evidently die off pretty quickly and not be around by mid- to late-summer (as the other guys have posted). Just like was the case when we found this place last year. Of course, all of the dead stuff is going to be just wonderful for creating a nasty bottom and high tendency for another bumper crop in 2011, so I think I'll go with the idea of dealing with it for now, then maybe later this summer I'll buy some GC and toss 'em in there so they're ready to roll come next spring. If I can keep this pond from becoming a nuisance until I get the funds in line to really fix it right, that'll be a win in my book!


Todd La Neve

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Scott, I think you are right that the increased light penetration has probably added to the problem here. Dang muskrats. See my previous post regarding the barometer of my success in dealing with those little pains in the butt!

I think I'll give the GC a try later this summer and see how they can do. The pond is probably about 3/4 of an acre at this reduced depth, so I'm thinking 5 or 6 GC should do the trick. Maybe fewer as there really isn't a lot of vegetation when this stuff is gone, so I don't want to overdo it. Then, maybe they'd be in position to help keep the growth down a lot next year when it begins again.

What's got me sort of puzzled is that the deep end of the pond is supposedly still around 8 - 10 feet deep, so I'd think the plants would have a harder time emerging in that much water, but man, that end is just as full as the shallow end. It'll be interesting to watch the process with this stuff and see how quickly it dies off. Maybe I'll try to do some raking and get out what I can.


Todd La Neve

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Agreed, Travis. I did some reading as well and found that tidbit about early emergence and death and thought it was pretty interesting. I know the water was generally clear of growth when we found the place last year, so I'm hoping that will be the case again this year by mid-summer. I'll ride it out and see how it progresses this year. As opposed to chemicals, I may go the GC route and see if that does anything to really help in 2011. If not, then maybe evaluate the chemicals for use the next year.

Lots of good thoughts, guys. Thanks for the tips.


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I've seen the curly leafed pondweed grow in water as deep as 10'-12', probably because the water was clear in the sping. Once the boats were on the lake, and a bloom was established, then it disappeared.


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Curly also does fairly well in cloudy turbid water at least in depths down to 6-7ft. Once the turions form on curlyleaf the GC don't feed heavily on the plant. Plus the plant grows best in cool waters when GC tend to be inactive.

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Originally Posted By: Bill Cody
Curly also does fairly well in cloudy turbid water at least in depths down to 6-7ft. Once the turions form on curlyleaf the GC don't feed heavily on the plant. Plus the plant grows best in cool waters when GC tend to be inactive.


Interesting details, Bill. Thanks for that.

This pond is in a ravine, as I mentioned earlier, and is surrounded by nice sized trees so it doesn't get a bunch of direct sunlight. I would guess that keeps it a little bit cooler, but don't know if it would be cool enough to dissuade GC from feeding.

Assuming I try the GC, would they be able to really work the curly leaf at it was first beginning to emerge and get a bunch of it ahead of the turions forming? At what stage do the turions normally appear? How about tilapia and curly leaf? Might even want to try that next year if they'd hit it.


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How deep of water will curly leaf pondweed grow in. I just found some in a new pond (dug last year). There was no water there or upstream before so it either blew in, came in with plants we bought, or was carried in on birds. I bought the plants from a pretty well respected native plant nursery in Indiana, but I suspect that as the source since we don't seem to have it in in our other pond, or 5 wetlands that we built.

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IMO probably 99.8% chance that it came in on purchased plants. Curly leaf is excellent at doing this type of thing despite good efforts. I will bet LOTS of money the well respected native plant nursery has curly leaf on site. About all plant nurseries have curly leaf somewhere on site. How deep will it grow, very easily 8 ft deep in turbid water (2ft vis) and 14-16ft deep in clear water(secchi disk vis 5ft).

Last edited by Bill Cody; 08/12/13 07:56 PM.

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RAH, the nursery wasn't in Walkerton, was it?

Bill, I've seen Curly Leaf in 16' deep water with conditions like you describe. It was all the way to the surface before it died back.


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We had a cooler spring this year then usual that made my curly leaf pondweed growth cause me a little panic but as usual when the warmer weather appeared the curly leaf mostly disappeared.


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Pond dyes will delay the annual cycle of wax and wane of curly leaf.


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