Sago Pondweed Stuckenia pectinatus

Thickly matted rhizomes with slender stems and threadlike leaves

  • English Name: Sago Pondweed
  • Latin Name: Stuckenia pectinatus
  • Propogate: Vegetative fragmentation
  • Symptoms: Mat of floating, delicate, feathery, oblong, bright green leaves
  • Dangers: Clogs water, inhibites other aquatic plants

How to Identify Sago Pondweed from Other Grass Weeds

The distinctive features of the Sago Pondweed are its leaves, flowers and seeds. It has very thin, thread-like, almost pine-like leaves. That's not too different from other water grasses. But sago's leaves are all underwater and look similar. Other pondweeds have some leaves on the surface plus other different looking leaves submersed.

Sago leaves also grow from a sheath surrounding the main stem at a distinctive angle makes each plant look like a fan. That explains its second name, fennel-leaf pondweed. Also, Sago Pondweeds have the strange behavior of keeping their flowers and seeds underwater. That too is different from other water grasses. The flowers are tiny but the seeds are large by water grass standards they are almost an inch long and grow in bunches near the surface.

Spread and Life Cycle of the Sago Pondweed

The Sago Pondweed, or to use its nicer name, the fennel-leaf pondweed, is native to the US and common across the country. It is a Perennial, rooted weed like all grasses, which means the foliage withers away every year but the roots remain alive and ready to sprout new foliage when the weather turns. Sago pondweeds secure their roots with rhizomes - the spreading or running roots that grow horizontally and sprout new shoots at intervals. Better still, Sago weeds roots also make tuber, tiny potato-like parts that store nutrients just in case the going gets tough.

Fennel-leaf Pondweeds further hedge their survival bets with the seeds. It produces lots of them, a task made easier by having stems with braches and each seed is viable enough to produce a new plant.

Sago Pondweeds are also not too choosy. They will grow well in low to medium elevation lakes, ponds and slow moving rivers but not is bitterly cold highlands. They will also not thrive in water with little nutrients.

Controlling Sago Pondweed

Like other native water weeds, Sago Pondweed is a popular dish for local water animals. Waterfowl, in particular love it diving ducks and swans go through the trouble of digging into the water bed just to get to those succulent tubers. Other ducks, marsh birds and shorebirds eat the foliage and seeds.

But the Sago Pondweed is a pest weed in many places. In spite of being such good waterfowl food, it grows too fast, forming thick tangles of stems particularly in shallow waters such as irrigation channels. It clogs waterways, complicates fishing and navigation and drains nutrients from the water.

The normal way of dealing with the Sago Pondweed Control is to use rakes, cutters and nets to physically drag the weed out of the water. The task is made much simpler and more effective by the Deskuzzer, the 5 feet wide floating seine with a 24 feet pull line that is one of our weed control products. But because Sago Ponweeds have strong and intricate roots, the physical removal method can be of limited effect, especially when done early in the season. The roots simply throw up a new generation of shoots.

A more effective method is using the Lake Bottom blanket. This is our lead weed control product made of a 10 feet wide sheet of treated polythene with no length limit, you unfurl it as far as you like. The Blanket works by blocking off sunlight and keeping the weed captive under the sheet. It is suspended in the water with weights and never settles on the water bed because it is made of lighter-than-water material. That means that fish and even ducks can swim freely and safely below and above the blanket.

The Lake Bottom Blanket has already been used in over 400 lakes in over 29 states, in all instances returning a 100% weed killing rate within a few weeks. The Blanket is approved for use by the DNRs and DEPs of California, Nevada, New York, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Washington.

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