Rooted multi-branched, underwater plant with dark green, blade-like leaves and small white Flowers above water

  • English Name: Elodea
  • Latin Name: Elodea canadensis
  • Propagate: Vegetative fragmentation
  • Symptoms: Mass of small white-flowered plants

The life and times of an American Elodea

Each American Elodea weed has several branches and is anchored to the water bed by roots. Its fragments, however, do survive and grow for long as floaters before finding a new place to set root. The plant grows entirely under water, leaving only its tiny white flowers floating on the surface on delicate stalks.

Elodea likes nutrient-rich water with silty sediments but will do with whatever is available, from shallow to deep water and just about any type of sediment.

It is a perennial plant that produces winters buds and releases leafy stalks that float away to start new plants every fall (Fragmentation). It also propagates through seeds, although that is more like its secondary reproduction system.

How to Control Elodea Canadensis

American Elodea is a generally useful weed. Because it is native to northern America, it has many natural feeders, such as ducks, beavers, and muskrat – unlike the Brazilian Elodea which is also common in the US but is native to South American.

The “American weed” is also attractive and easy to maintain aquarium plant and is, in fact, the recommended, more environmentally friendly replacement for the larger but more destructive Brazilian Elodea.

Where it becomes necessary to control or eradicate American Elodea, the typical method is to mechanically remove it from the water, like hand pulling and the different types of dredging. If you do decide to mechanically harvest this weed you will need a tool to make sure you catch all the fragments that will be floating around, for instance using the Deskuzzer. This is a 5 foot wide floating seine that is dragged along the surface of the water to collect the weed fragments and debris. The Deskuzzer is much easier and more effective than a normal rake or seine because it clears a larger water surface area thanks to its extra strong screen material and a 24-foot pull line. This is one of our products that has proved very popular in clearing weed from small water bodies such as ponds or streams.

Grass carps are also quite effective in controlling the weed, though less so in eradicating it. Carp are known to spread the weed via its constant fecal output. There are, too, a variety of herbicides that may be used to clear away the weed, provided the risk of contamination is taken care of.

For more thorough and totally environment-friendly destruction of the American Elodea, the Bottom Lake Blanket is the clear winner. This is another of our products. It is a specially formulated polyethylene sheet – about 10 3/4 feet wide and as long as required – that is weighted down into the water to deny the weed access to sunlight. The blanket is made of lighter-than-water material which means it floats slightly above the water bed, ensuring that fish and other animals are not restricted. The Blanket has already been used effectively in over 400 lakes in over 29 states and is fully approved by the DNR’s and DEP’s of California, Nevada, New York, Connecticut, Massachusetts, and Washington.

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