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Aquatic Plant Management

The Government has recently banned the sale of 5 of the most invasive species under the Wildlife & Countryside Act, however there are still more waiting in the wings to invade our countryside.

The species banned from sale are:

Ludwigia) Water Primrose:

(Ludwigia) Water Primrose
Pictures courtesy of GBNNSS

Very limited range at present but presents a real danger to our waterways if not controlled.

(Azolla) Water Fern:

(Azolla) Water Fern:
Pictures courtesy of GBNNSS

Free floating and changes colour from bright green to red can form thick mats of vegetation. Destroying the ecology of our waterways and becoming a hazard to navigation.

Floating Pennywort (Hydrocotyle ranunculoides):

Floating Pennywort (Hydrocotyle ranunculoides):
Pictures courtesy of GBNNSS

Forming dense matts of vegetation obstructing channels and impacting biodiversity, flow and navigation. Easily spread through fragments of vegetation.

Parrots Feather (Myriophyllum aquaticum):

Parrots Feather (Myriophyllum aquaticum):
Pictures courtesy of GBNNSS

Forming dense matts with similar effects to Floating Pennywort, however, it is more usual to find Parrots Feather in slow flowing eutrophic conditions

Australian Swamp Stonecrop (Crassula helmsii):

Untitled 3
Pictures courtesy of the GBNNSS

Very invasive spreading from minute fragments, completely dominating waters up to 3m deep and as well as growing as part of a grass sward.
Invasive Plant Control.

There are several forms of control currently in use Physical such as shading, deepening and covering, Mechanical including excavation and harvesting, Biological – the use of Grass Carp and the Azolla Weevil, Manual – actually getting in there and clearing the vegetation from the water and Chemical – frowned on by some but if applied by experienced, qualified operators this method can give excellent results with less environmental impacts than mechanical removal, it is especially effective on invasive species.

Each species must be tackled in a specific manner and consulting professionals is essential to prevent the spread of the problem, also it is always better to act sooner rather than later whilst amounts of the plant are still manageable. This will also manage the cost of any control!
One of the key factors is correct identification always get the plant identified so that the control regime is tailored to that species, control for one species may increase the growth of another……

Not all invaders are non native, some our native plants need management from time to time and this again falls into one of the categories mentioned above and is tailored to a specific species. One of the common species is Norfolk Reed (Phragmities sp.)useful in the management of water systems but can get out of control and need reigning in.
Algae are also basic plants and illustrate an imbalance in the aquatic system, this can also be managed effectively, however it can take time and managing a system before the problem occurs is the key to ongoing success. Re dressing the balance of the system can take time but is the best form of control for both the water and the owner!

If you have any issues with aquatic plant management do not hesitate to contact us and we can respond with a plan for tackling the problem head on whilst working with nature which we find often give the better, more permanent results.

We are an established company, specialising in all aspects of water, fishing and fishery management