Tuesday, June 23, 2020

My Milfoil Fight

Last night I soaked my feet in a tub of warm, soapy water whilst watching TV. I was trying to get all the silt and pond-stink out from under my toenails. UGH!

I've been digging in the deep mud with my feet for the past 5 days, lifting chunks of silt and Variable Leaf Milfoil to the surface. Pulling them out from the top, leafy bit just causes them to break off, and stimulates re-growth. No wonder this invasive weed is so successful. Boating and other mechanical disturbance helps it thrive!

I found this tiny 'fragment' on my beach, looking like it had been freshly washed up. I slowly pulled it out, to reveal an established plant, well rooted!


Look at how long the thin white roots can be, spreading down from the coil of viney-looking stem at the top of the next picture:

It's amazing how tall these plants can grow. I placed this dried piece next to my rake for comparison. It begins at the acorn cap in the bottom of the pic, all the way up to the plastic attachment. They can create an impenetrable jungle in deeper water.

I also shudder when I see them dried out afterwards - they remind me of shed snakeskin!


Shelley Burbank said...

Oh my! Milfoil is the bane of that lake.

Deb said...

Yes, true. After listening to an online presentation on Invasive Aquatic Plants, the DEP rep said something along the lines of "once you've got it, you've got it" There's no getting rid of it, we can only maintain and control it as best we can. So, there you have it!

Unknown said...

Thanks! Now I understand the challenges of Millfoil better.

Deb said...

Good! And I forgot to mention how the stems break (I think it's a very clever mechanism) if you try to pull the plant out by the top of its leaves and stems. You have to get down to the mud interface between roots and stem, right at its base and dislodge a huge dollop of mud with it to be sure to get the whole root structure. It's quite heavy to lift and bring up to the surface, at least until the mud falls away.