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How Do I Tell Chara & Naiad Apart? | Ponds & Lakes Q&A

How Do I Tell Chara & Naiad Apart?

Thomas – Williamston, MI

It’s very important to be able to tell Chara and Naiad apart. Why? Because Chara is actually a form of algae and you must use an algaecide, like Algae Defense or Cutrine®-Plus, to treat it. Naiad, which looks similar to Chara, is an aquatic weed and you should use an herbicide, like Pond Logic® PondWeed Defense®, to treat it.
A couple of things to look for to help you differentiate between the two pond nuisances:

• Chara lacks true leaves because it is algae. Instead, it has 6 to 16 leaf-like branchlets that grow in spirals (whorls) around the stem. These branchlets often have tiny, thorn-like projections.
• Naiad has dark-green to greenish-purple, ribbon-like leaves. Naiad leaves are arranged oppositely on the stem, or sometimes in whorls of 3.
• Chara has no defined root system
• Naiad has a well-established root system
• Chara gets a foul, musky, almost garlic-like odor late in the season

If you are still unsure what type of plant you are dealing with, consider applying Hydrothol 191. A granular algaecide/herbicide, Hydrotol 191 is proven to treat both algae AND aquatic weeds but carries a 25 day irrigation & 3 day fish consumption restriction.

Pond Talk: Have you battled Chara or Naiad in your pond? How did you treat it?

How can I control Naiad in my pond? – Pond & Lake Q & A

How can I control Naiad in my pond?

How can I control Naiad in my pond? Kristin – Modesto, CA

Do You Know Who You Are Dealing With?

When faced with an outbreak of weeds in their pond some pond owners tend to rush into buying aquatic herbicides and algaecides in an attempt to clear up the pond as fast as possible. While we agree with the idea that your weeds need to disappear on the double, you want to make sure you take some time out to identify your intruder. When you know what you are dealing with your can then chose a product to treat it that will give you the best bang for your buck. If you are having trouble identifying a particular weed you can e-mail a couple close up pictures to The Pond Guy at mrwig@thepondguy.com or check out our Weed ID Guide.

What’s The Difference?

Knowing is half the battle in your war against aquatic weeds. So what do you need to know about Naiad to correctly identify it in a line-up of other unruly pond perpetrators? Naiad is an annual plant that branches profusely and forms very dense stands of rooted submerged vegetation. Leaves are dark green to greenish-purple, ribbon-like, opposite or in a whorl of three, mostly less than 1/2 inch long and 1/8 inch wide. Single seeds are found encased in the leaf sheath. Southern naiad reproduces by seeds and fragmentation. Flowers are at the base of the leaves but so small that they can only be observed with magnification. While Naiad is often confused with Chara at first glance, Chara has a strong, unpleasant odor and a crunchy texture that sets it apart from its counterpart. Chara also is very easy to pull out since it has no attached root base.

Pick Your Pony

You will find a stable full of products available for treating Naiad each with their own application methods and water use restrictions. Hydrothol 191 for example is a granular that sinks to the bottom of the pond and is applied with a hand spreader. It carries water use restrictions such as a 3 day fish consumption restriction and a 25 day irrigation restriction. Pondweed Defense on the other hand is a liquid aquatic herbicide that is applied via a Tank Sprayer and carries no water use restrictions. Read each herbicides application instructions, water use restrictions and dosage rates to determine which product is best for you. In addition to Hydrothol and Pondweed Defense, WhiteCap and RedWing are also viable options for treating Naiad.

Revenge Is A Dish Best Served Warm

For optimal results you will want to treat your pond when your water temps are above 50 degrees. Waiting for warmer weather in late Spring and early Summer ensures that the weeds in your pond are actively growing and will eagerly take the chemical you add to the water. Once the weeds are killed it is then safe for you to rake them out of the pond using a Pond & Beach Rake or something similar. Keeping your ponds nutrient load in check with MuckAway and PondClear and proper Aeration will make sure you spend less time wrestling weeds in your pond and more time enjoying your ponding season.

POND TALK: Tell us about your experience with Naiad and/or Chara.

Control Naiad with Pond Logic® PondWeed Defense® & Cide-Kick™ Combo

Weed ID – The Difference Between Naiad & Chara (Algae) – Pond & Lake Q & A

Picture of Chara, a form of algae.

Q: I have a weed growing off the bottom of my pond. After looking at your catalog I think it is naiad. I treated my pond with WhiteCap and nothing seems to happen. I have followed the instructions on the label. What am I doing wrong? – Barbara of Indiana

A: This isn’t the first time I have had this question. To answer this we must first be sure what you are treating is naiad. After reviewing the pictures you have sent me I can see why the WhiteCap is not working…

The plant you are trying to treat is not naiad it actually is Chara which is an algae. WhiteCap is excellent for pondweeds although it will not touch chara. To your defense many people mistake naiad for chara. The good news is chara is much less expensive to get rid of! Algae Defense is very effective on chara or any species of algae.

For those of you identifying pondweeds and think you may have chara too. Chara is sometimes also referred to musk grass due to its distinctive musky odor. Chara also has a gritty feel and can become almost crispy due to calcium buildup, especially when growing in hard water. Chara also does not have a true root system allowing it to me removed fairly easily in clumps.

Indentifying Naiad:
Naiad is very leafy. Leafs are arranged oppositely of one another or in whorls of three on the plant’s stem. If you determine you have Naiad use
PondWeed Defense or WhiteCap.

Please Note: If your pond contains koi or trout with a hardness level less then 50 (hardness test kit link) we highly suggest using Hydrothol 191 instead of Algae Defense or Pondweed Defense. Koi and trout are very sensitive to any copper based products.

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