Rooted, submerged ditch grass with single or multi-branched stems
- English Name: Widgeon-Grass
- Latin Name: Ruppia Maritima
- Propagate: Seeds, Vegetative fragmentation
- Symptoms: Mass of submerged ditch grass with single or multi-branched stems
- Dangers: Chokes out other aquatic plant species
The Ways of the Widgeon Grass
The Widgeon Grass scientific name, Ruppia Maritima is a shallow water plant. It typically grows to depths of less than five meters in ponds, lakes, rivers and streams. Because it can tolerate salty and alkaline water, it is often also found in tidal flats, estuaries and salt pens. In the US, it is most common along the Atlantic coast and in the western side of the country.
Widgeon Grass is also sometimes called the Ditch Grass, the Ruppia Grass or Tassel Pondweed.
It is a perennial plant like most grasses, growing to maturity within a year but retaining roots across several years. Also like most grasses, it can produce new shoots from broken stems and roots but relies more on massive numbers of seeds. The Widgeon seeds small, greenish and pear-shaped are dispersed by water and currents. As a result, this weed can grow in incredible concentration of up to 30,000 shoots in a hectare of water.
But, despite being such a profusely growing grass, the Widgeon Grass is rarely an environmental problem. The reason is that it is a very popular source of food for waterfowls. Given a choice, water ducks and just about every other water bird that feeds on vegetation will choose a diet of Widgeon Grass stems, leaves, flowers and seeds against any other option. There have been reports of dead ducks being found with up to 5,000 Widgeon Grass seeds in its stomach.
When it does become necessary to get rid of the weed, the typical method is to cut and drag the weed to the shore. Any variety of cutters, rakes and nets may be used quite successfully. A faster and more convenient method is to use the Deskuzzer. This is a 5 foot wide floating seine with sturdy abrasion, ultra tough screen, and a 24 foot pull line that greatly improves the reach and ease of dragging the weed to the shore. The Deskuzzer is one of our lake weed control products and has been used widely across the US.
In docks and permanent swimming areas where the weed needs to be totally eradicated, the sure option is to use the Lake Bottom Blanket, our lead water weed control tool that totally destroys weeds within weeks by simply blocking their access to sunlight. The Blanket is a 10 feet wide sheet of specially treated polythene that is made of lighter-than-water material. The Blanket is anchored in the water by weights, which means it remains suspended in the water without touching the water bed. It therefore leaves plenty of space for fish water fowls to safely swim above and below the sheet.
The Lake Bottom Blanket has already been used in over 400 lakes in 29 states, in all instances scoring a 100% weed killing rate. It is approved for use by the DNRs and DEPs of California, Nevada, New York, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Washington.