In most cases, it takes a trained professional to accurately identify aquatic vegetation.  There’s one plant, however, that even amateur pondmeisters can recognize—chara.

Why is chara easy to recognize?  The unmistakable odor!  It’s common name is “musk or skunk grass”.  The reference stems from its foul, almost garlic-like aroma.  Chara is a member of the algae family and often is confused with submerged flowering plants.  However, chara has no flower, will not extend above the surface, and often has a “crunchy” texture.

This pesky plant can be managed with fertilization or color dyes to limit sunlight stimulation.  Fertilization produces a strong food chain for pond fish.  Dyes prevent sunlight, but do not enhance food chains.

Mechanical management methods are not effective.  Grass carp readily consume chara. They may be stocked at seven to 15 per surface acre with a permit from the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department.

Copper-based chemicals effectively control chara.  Approved brands include Cutrine Plus, K-Tea, Captain, and Clearigate.  Our staff biologist is a licensed applicator and can provide safe treatment procedures to prevent a fish kill.