Vegetation – Friend or Foe?
Chara often is called muskgrass or skunkweed because of its foul, almost garlic-like odor. Many different species occupy lakes and ponds worldwide. It often colonizes new bodies of water before other vegetation is established.
Chara is found in clear, non-moving impoundments. It prefers areas with hard or alkaline water. Heavily vegetated ponds serve as a haven for baitfish, but make it difficult for your bass to feed. Chara may be seen throughout the entire pond or just along the shoreline. Ducks will consume it and many aquatic insects prefer it as habitat.
Chara is a gray-green plant with cylindrical appearance. It does not produce flowers and never is seen above the surface. It feels grainy or crunchy and often is confused with coontail. Chara becomes active as water temperature rises, especially in late summer months.
Chara can be controlled mechanically, biologically, or chemically. Raking or seining can be time consuming and back breaking work. Immediate results are seen for a short period, but it will reestablish. Biological methods include stocking 7-15 triploid grass carp per acre. Texas pond owners must obtain a permit from the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department to purchase grass carp from a certified dealer. Chemical treatment is done with liquid or granular Cutrine or Hydrothol 191. When applying aquatic herbicides, carefully follow label instructions. These products may be toxic to fish if not applied properly.
Don’t get discouraged if your condition requires multiple treatments. Call us with concerns or questions. We would be glad to help. – Joshua