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Vegetation – Friend or Foe

Mild winter temperatures and a quick spring warm-up are ideal conditions for one of our most common aquatic plants—southern niad.  It’s an annual plant that branches to form very dense stands of rooted submerged vegetation.

According to descriptions at the extension service website Aquaplant, leaves are dark green to greenish purple.  Niad reproduces by seeds and fragmentation.  Flowers exist at the base of leaves, but are so small; they can be seen only by magnification.

Submerged plant varieties, like niad, provide habitats for micro and macro invertebrates, plus food for fish and wildlife.  Its seeds are considered a primary food source for ducks.

Niad can be removed by raking or seining, but will regrow from fragments and roots.  Grass carp consume niad.  Stock seven to 15 per surface acre depending on concentrations.  Chemicals containing copper complexes and diquat formulas control it.  See approved brands at www.aquaplant.tamu.edu. Carefully follow label instructions to prevent over treating and causing oxygen stress or a fish kill.

Balanced vegetation offers important cover for young baitfish.  Before adopting too aggressive a management plan, let’s determine if your vegetation is “friend or foe”.

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