Milfoil, also known as myriophyllum heterophyllum, has become quite the problem for homeowners with bodies of water on their property. It can start to interfere with the natural operation of ponds and lakes, making it very difficult for anything else to grow.
So is it really that much of a threat? Do you really need to spend that much effort and money trying to get rid of it?
What is Milfoil?
Milfoil is a very invasive aquatic plant that has been causing problems in America’s water bodies since the 1960s. It looks pretty harmless, with its fuzzy green stems and small reddish flowers. However, this plant can grow to at least fifteen feet long, allowing it to form dense mats of vegetation. This essentially eliminates the competition, choking off sunlight and nutrients to other plants growing in the water until they die. That’s why milfoil removal is so important.
What Else Can It Do?
Milfoil not only kills other aquatic plants, but it also depletes the oxygen levels in the water when it starts to decay. This can kill other aquatic animals as well until everything in the water is completely dead.
It’s also a problematic plant for swimmers, water skiers, boaters, and those who enjoy using jet skis. The vegetation is so thick that it’s hard to get through the stuff normally without cutting it.
To make matters worse, milfoil’s thick vegetation creates more stagnant pools of water, making it a perfect breeding ground for mosquitoes. And that makes enjoying the lake even less possible.
Where Is It Found?
It is found mostly in Maine and New Hampshire because there are no natural predators to get rid of it. In these two states alone, it is found in over 90 bodies of water, so it’s definitely a major problem that should be dealt with.
The big problem with milfoil is that it grows very fast from fragments of it that have been cut up by boat propellers. That’s how it manages to spread so fast if every piece isn’t removed from the source of water.
The best way to remove milfoil is by hand. This ensures that every single frond is out. But this process takes an extremely long time and can become very expensive. There are other options, such as certain weevils that have been used to eradicate these aquatic plants, but they only target certain strains of milfoil, leaving others alone. So far, there is no known algaecide that works at killing milfoil.
Because there’s a general lack of milfoil awareness throughout the country, keeping this invasive plant under control can become quite difficult. Improper harvesting and removal can lead to fragments of it drifting away so that it can start growing again somewhere else. Thus, starting the cycle all over again. Knowing what it looks like can definitely help the ordinary citizen to keep an eye out for it so that it can be removed as quickly as possible before it becomes a bigger and more expensive problem.