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Chara (commonly known as
Stonewort; Skunkweed; Sandgrass) is an advanced form of
algae often mistaken for a plant. Chara stabilizes bottom
sediments; provides food for waterfowl and cover for fish. Chara
also supports insects and other small aquatic animals, which are
important foods for trout, bluegills, small mouth bass, and
Submerged portions of all aquatic
plants provide habitats for many micro and macro invertebrates.
Chara is consumed by many species of ducks. Identified by a strong
musky odor when crushed and a gritty feeling texture due to calcium
deposits on the surface.
Chara can benefit water quality and clarity. It is a good
stabilizer and considered valuable fish habitat. However, due to
its ability to grow rapidly, Chara can take over a small pond if
left untreated. This can become a problem in that is reduces
available fish habitat, clogs intakes on golf course irrigation
lakes, makes swimming or boating difficult or reduces the overall
aesthetics of a lake or pond when it becomes overgrown.
Chara is often called muskgrass or skunkweed because of its
foul, musty almost garlic-like odor. Chara is a gray-green branched
multicellular alga that is often confused with submerged flowering
plants. However, Chara has no flower, will not extend above the
water surface, and often has a "grainy" or "crunchy" texture. Chara
has cylindrical, whorled branches with 6 to 16 branchlets around
Aquatic Biologists, Inc. field
techs raked chara out of this pond creating piles as tall as our
When removed from water chara will dry out within just a few
hours of sunlight exposure appearing ashen to white once dry. Dense
growths, attached but not rooted may cover entire bottom of
shoreline areas or ponds.
Gritty, bristly feel due to mineral deposits on leaf surfaces;
emits a strong musky odor when crushed; is sometimes mistaken for
coontail or milfoil, but chara has a lighter green color than most
other aquatic plants.
A. Small areas can
be hand raked. Chara is a heavy algae type. Treat only if
causing nuisance conditions.
A. Cutrine Plus
granules can be spread by a small hand-held spreader or can be
tossed by a hand scoop. A hand held pump up sprayer or Solo
backpack sprayer can apply liquids such as Cutrine Plus liquid.
A. If you catch it
early one treatment can last the season. Two or more treatments may
be required when chara is mature.
A. Generally within
six to fifteen days depending upon water hardness and growth cycle
things will be cleared up.
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