LWTF News Archives: Summer 2009New Invasive Plants Found | Lake Friendly Lawn Care
New Invasive Plants Found in Lake SurveyTwo new invasive aquatic species (Water Chestnut and Water Clover) have been discovered in Lake Waramaug, and Curlyleaf Pondweed has returned in several new locations, according to an extensive LWTF survey conducted over three days in May and June.
The study, by Dr. George Knocklein of Northeast Aquatic Research, was the most thorough ever executed a result of the increased threat from invasive plants which the lake has experienced over the last few years. The Task Force immediately arranged for removal and control using hand-pulling and benthic barrier cover techniques.
All infestations have been accurately mapped using GPS technology (see map), allowing the Task Force to return to the exact locations for monitoring.
Curlyleaf Pondweed (Potamogeton crispus), first identified in 2004, has returned in 16 sites primarily along the north shore of the lake. At eight of these sites, there was either a single plant or a small number of plants that were immediately pulled. No plants were found at sites identified in previous years, indicating that the Task Force's management and removal efforts have been effective. It appears that the cool spring and early summer, as well as the unusually heavy rainfall, has contributed to the plant growth. The plants also seem to favor cooler water provide by stream outlets.
Water Chestnut (Trapa natans) was found at one location on the eastern shore of the northwest bay, at the mouth of a small stream. It was immediately removed during the survey. Water Clover (Marsilea quadrifolia) made its lake debut in seven small beds at the northern tip of the same bay. The plants will be removed and the area closely monitored.
The invasive plant discoveries have added a sobering note to an otherwise positive lake report card, which shows water clarity at its best level since regular monitoring began over thirty years ago.
Lake-Friendly Lawn Care: Use Zero Phosphorus FertilizerPhosphorus does not break down well in soil thus it ends up in the groundwater that flows into the lake. Because Waramaug is already phosphorus nutrient rich (which causes excessive algae and aquatic weed growth) we strongly discourage use of lawn fertilizers near the lake.
On any lawn near the lake or a feeder stream property owners should use "zero percent" phosphorus fertilizer. The middle number on the bag is the phosphorus amount (e.g. 27-0-3). It is available if you ask for it at your lawn supply outlet or tell your applicator you want only lake friendly "zero percent" phosphorus fertilizer.
...we strongly discourage use of lawn fertilizers...
The Task Force has surveyed, and will continually update, a list of lawn care providers and stores who use or sell zero-phosphorus fertilizers.
Consider adding native plants to your lawn area. For ideas, please visit our buffer planting at 149 West Shore Road. After four years, it has become a natural looking country landscape, doing its job as a native habitat for many insect and bird species, filtering runoff and preventing erosion. A list of the plant materials used there can be found in a box at the site, or you can download a PDF of the list of plants.
Lake Saving Lawn Care Practices:
- Consider smaller lawns with shrub borders or native plantings to replace the lawn area.
- Choose grass and/or groundcover that minimizes maintenance, fertilizer and pesticide application.
- Consider allowing natural vegetation to reestablish itself.
- Water infrequently but thoroughly.
- Mow only when necessary -- the ideal height for healthy grass is 2.5 to 3 inches.
- Use non-motorized lawn mowers for small lawns.
- Leave grass clippings on the lawn.
- Avoid using fertilizers and broadleaf herbicides.
- Pull weeds by hand in small yards.
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