There are a lot of people searching for ways to control lake Cookies Weed lately. Yes, they are an increasingly frustrating problem. Each year, there seem to be more aquatic weeds growing, despite efforts to control them with herbicides, harvesting, “lake draw downs” and several other methods.
Surprisingly, many of the techniques used to control aquatic weeds actually make the problem worse.
Any type of physical removal, harvesting, raking, pulling, blowing them out, or cutting disturb the weeds. In the process, seeds and small plant fragments are released into the water. These seeds and fragments sink to the bottom, sprout or take root and create thousands of new lake weeds. This is not a good long term solution, obviously.
Chemical treatment has several drawbacks. Aside from the issue of putting expensive toxic chemicals in you lake, there is an underlying, long term problem. With each application, a few aquatic weeds survive. Of those that do survive, many have become “resistant” to the herbicides being used.
As a result, the next crop of weeds will have a higher percentage of “resistant” plants, requiring higher concentrations of the chemicals to control them. And then, process repeats itself and the aquatic weeds become even more resistant.
The effect is, over time more herbicide application becomes more expensive and less effective. At some point (some lakes have already reached this point) the amount of herbicide needed is too toxic for fish and other wildlife.
In recent years, using mats (“benthic barriers”) to control lake weeds has become a far better solution. New materials that are gas and water permeable have made aquatic weed mats more efficient.
Benthic barriers are placed over areas such as swimming beaches and around docks and boat lifts where aquatic weeds are most unwanted. They prevent sunlight from reaching the plants and provide a barrier to the nutrient rich lake bottom soil.
There are several other benefits to using benthic barrier to control aquatic weeds. They are lightweight and easy to install, usually in just minutes. They are a very “green” solution; they use no chemicals, no electricity. Perhaps best of all, benthic barriers are a very low cost solution.