Northern Watermilfoil Myriophyllum sibiricum

Rooted weed with mostly underwater, dark-green, feathery leaves grouped in fours around a hollow pinkish stem.

  • English Name: Northern Watermilfoil
  • Latin Name: Myriophyllum sibiricum
  • Propogate: Vegetative fragmentation
  • Symptoms: Underwater weed with dark-green, feathery leaves grouped in fours around a hollow pinkish stem
  • Dangers: Clogs water, inhibites other aquatic plants

The Life and Times of a Northern Watermilfoil Weed

The Northern Watermilfoil Weed is a rooted plant with a pinkish hollow stem and those famous dark green feathery leaves. It is a native weed of Maine and New England but is now common across the US.

It is a perennial weed that, like most weeds, sheds its foliage in winter. Its winter survival technique is to form winter buds that stay put until the weather recovers enough for new growth.

As weeds go, the Northern Watermilfoil Weed is a fairly successful weed. Part of its survival secret is that it is an adaptive plant. It will stoically survive the bitter cold of frozen lakes and ponds of northern states and Canada but will also do just fine in the shallow, over-heated bays of southern states. It also employs an efficient system of producing baby weeds. Any piece of stem that breaks off the mother plant soon grows into a new plant.

The weed also produces tiny flowers that form fruits which are held slightly above the water by tiny spikes. But it does not rely much on the fruits for propagation.

How to Control Northern Watermilfoil Weeds

Water fowl will feed on Northern Watermilfoil foliage and fruits but do not seem to particularly love the taste. They feed on it only occasionally and mostly when there is no other dietary option at hand. Where the weed is not overly thick, it also provides good shelter for aquatic animals.

The problem is that Northern Watermilfoil is a very competitive weed that can fill a lake from shore to shore, blocking sunlight for other plants and rendering the water impassable. It is in fact mostly a nuisance weed wherever it takes root.

The typical method of clearing the weed away is the mechanical way by cutting, raking and using nets to drag the mass of weeds to the shore. If you choose this method you may need to employ the use of the Deskuzzer, a 5 foot wide floating seine with ultra tough screen and a 24 foot pull line. This is one of our weed control products that has been used to good effect, especially to clean up after harvesters and cutters, on water bodies that don't want to spread this weed to other areas.

But, of course, physical removal of the Northern Watermilfoil is only temporary since fragments of the weed remain behind to start a new wave of weeds. A more effective method is to use the Lake Bottom Blanket. This is our lead weed control product that destroys weeds by denying them sunlight - all without interfering with the environment. It is a 10 feet wide sheet of treated polyethylene that can be as long as ordered, that is weighted down into the water to just off the lake bed. The lighter than normal material keeps the sheet suspended within the water, allowing fish and other aquatic life to freely move below and above the sheet.

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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