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lotus run amok

Depauw, IN

3 yrs ago I bought 10 lotus seeds from e-bay. Stupidly ignoring the advice to plant in containers, I put them in my farm pond (fenced from horses) and now I have no pond, just a lily bog. Is there any way to eradicate these without using herbicides? Turtles, fish and frogs all call this once-a-pond home.

Thanks for any suggestions...


West Pottsgrove, PA(Zone 6b)

Is this your Lotus sp.?

Depauw, IN

No, not the trefoil. I belive it is nelumbo sp. I assume the native lotus with huge, round water-repellent leaves and gorgeous blooms. It's a beautiful plant, but I can't see the water!

Dublin, CA(Zone 9a)

You might try posting your question in Water Gardening as well if you haven't already--you may find people over there who have more experience with it.

Hillsboro, OH(Zone 6a)

You didn't say if the blooms were pink or yellow but I'll take a stab that you have this one. or possibly

I do know it can be invasive and I don't know what to do once it escapes. I guess you will have to start digging them out. The same thing happened at Thoroughbred Daylilies. They made the best of that situation. LOL I have to say that it's beautiful in person! They just can't do much else with it.

Depauw, IN

Thanks, Badseed--Yes, it's Nelumbo lutea, the white to yellowish one. I looked at the John Rice daylily site and my, my! $59 a plant?? Of course, the time and labor involved mucking one of those out probably comes to about 89 cents/hr.

Just out of curiosity, does this look familiar to you-

San Francisco Bay Ar, CA(Zone 9b)

If it's a true Nelumbo lotus, they are quite delicious to eat. Have you thought of harvesting the roots and cooking them? That would keep the population down.

Hillsboro, OH(Zone 6a)

Personally, I think $59 is a lot for this particular Lotus. There are newer named hybrids out there you can buy for that price or more or less.

As you can see, they are not particularly hard to grow. ;)

Hillsboro, OH(Zone 6a)

Oh, on the other thread, Pat did post water lilies instead of the lotus. The plants are quite different, noticeable in the flowers and leaves. Lotus leaves can actually stand up on stems sticking up above and out of the water and so do the flowers. The leaves and flowers of water lilies usually float on the water. The lotus leaves do not have a slit in them.

I'm no expert on either but from growing both, did note those differences. ;)

Pocahontas, TN(Zone 7b)

What about an animal that will wad right in and eat them up!!

I don't have any, but I've heard pigs will eat most anything. You would have to do reasearch to insure they wouldn't be harmful to the pigs, of course.

Best of luck in resolving the problem.


West Pottsgrove, PA(Zone 6b)

I don't know, it sure looks like American Lotus aka Nelumbo lutea, to me...
Badseed, did you mis-type when you wrote that pcshuster posted water lilies, because it sounds like you make a good argument for the plants being lotuses

What other thread did Pat post photos of these plants in?

Bummer, my link above doesn't work any longer.

Depauw, IN

Here's another attempt to post a photo. A closer look is on the Water Garden's forum.


Thumbnail by pcshuster
Hillsboro, OH(Zone 6a)

Blond moment! tsg posted on the other thread Pat started and accidentally inserted lilies instead of lotus. :) Thanks Clay.

Equi, sometimes that link works and sometimes not! LOL I started posting that you link didn't go to a plant but then all of the sudden it did so I erased my message. Must be wanky.

Hey Chele... blond moment, eh? I'm ok with that. Have quite a few myself but you're younger than me and shouldn't be having as many! Tsk tsk.

Hey pcshuster, Although I can't see the telltale Lotus seed pod in the middle of the flower, I presume it’s there. I also do not see the notch that is always present on lily pads in the leaves photographed above. That looks like Nelumbo lutea to me because your plants have peltate leaves. My link was/is to a photo of Nymphaea odorata. Many people confuse the two.

Couple thoughts about your Lotus which I have seen get out of control countless times up my way. People make it mad by attempting to manually remove it. Fragments of the plant inevitably get left behind which speeds up the spread. If five viable fragments are left behind as a result of a failed mechanical removal… you will have 5 Lotus plants where once there was one. Scary thought right about now isn't it. I don't think you have the depth of water there which will enable you to enjoy success with mechanical removal even if I did suggest an electric hand held cutter that is commercially available.

Your concern is, "Turtles, fish and frogs all call this once-a-pond home". I share the same concerns and wish more people did. There are aquatic herbicides specifically formulated which I believe effectively minimize impact on those critters. I've used them with no ill effects. These chemicals are out there but you're not going to find them on the shelf at WalMart of Lowes. I've used Rodeo almost exclusively but am now in the process of beginning to use AquaMaster or AquaPro to cut costs. Which ever is cheapest works for me in this particular situation as all three should be effective against Lotus and Water Lilies. I've also begun to use these products on terrestrial plants that are undesirable. It's the surfactant used in these products that is appealing to me in that it doesn’t build up in the tissues of turtles, fish, and frogs. I've been using Rodeo a lot more lately even in areas that aren't wetlands. Active ingredient is the same as readily available products I use to rid myself of some invasives but the surfactant is completely different and doesn't build up in the tissues of herps and such. Bottom line is that I am surrounded by wetlands and wetland critters that move through non-wetland areas so I’ve begun to use “herp safe” aquatic herbicides in terrestrial areas. Although aquatic herbicides can be more expensive, they are considerably less toxic than herbicides used for agricultural and residential applications and are therefore generally not restricted use herbicides.

Please consider this product-
Follow the label if you choose to use it please. More is not better. Timing of an application will be important too. This might be a situation where you may want to consider hiring someone with an applicators license to come and help you “clean up” and re-growth of vegetation is not uncommon which would dictate a second application to remove plants missed the first go around. It has been my experience that these plants do not start dieing immediately although we would like them to do so once treated. It can take two to three weeks to begin seeing the fruits of any labor. If you choose to use this product, try hard to be patient and resist the urge to re-apply the product right then and there when you don’t see a massive die off of Lotus immediately.

Here’s where I believe it’s going to get real tricky. I looked at your photo and you inundated yourself with the Lotus. Been there done similar before myself. You have a tremendous amount of plant material there that wasn’t present in subsequent years. That vegetation is going to use a heck of a lot of oxygen when it begins decomposing. In addition to the fish in that pond, you have other life forms depending on that oxygen and frog eggs as well as early stages of dragonflies and damselflies come to mind. Your fish need dissolved oxygen to survive and if they don’t get it they will die. I have seen massive fish kills due to attempts to kill off vegetation that was out of control. This is merely my suggestion but perhaps you might want to consider treating half of your former pond first. Give the chemical enough time to work its way through the entire plant and at the 3 week mark, manually remove as much of the dieing Lotus as is humanly possible. Compost it or something. Glyphosate is a relatively short life chemical. Once you have as much of the treated Lotus removed as is humanly possible, then go for the other half of the pond and repeat the same process. Benefits to removing the treated plant material would be that you would provide yourself with room to work which would enable you to have better access to the re-growth that is most probably coming your way and it removes the plant materials that built up in the past few years that could result in a fish kill.

If it isn't too much trouble, would you be in a position to contact your Department of Natural Resources. Maybe a fish and wildlife specialist? I have no doubt they have addressed situations such as yours in the past and these people would be far more qualified to help you come up with a plan of attack than me. I can only share with you what I have done in the past based on my personal experiences and I am very concerned about the sheer amount of plant material I am seeing present in your pond.

You'll get this under control. It takes time so try hard not to get upset.

I went poking around a little bit on line. Your State DNR is recommending the use of Rodeo so please skip what I said about AquaMaster and AquaPro.

Depauw, IN

Thanks, everyone. I will certainly look into the herbicide even though I'm loathe to do it. I have also considered hiring a front-end loader type thing with an extended scoop (have no idea what they're called) to remove some of the sediment (and lots of lotus'). In fact I've considered this before, but have been reluctant since this is sinkhole country. If the bottom should break through (there's a sinkhole about 75 feet from the pond) it would be sayonara for pond, water and everything. The holes are close to impossible to patch unless you happen to own a cement plant or at least that's what I've read. Well, lunch break is over-back to work for me--Oh, I had to wait to download the carolina nature site while I was here. Dial-up is all I have at home and it wouldn't do it. And no, as you can tell, the leaves are not notched.

Bureau County, IL(Zone 5a)

I can understand being loathe to doing it, so I would get a hold of the DNR as Equil suggested and see what they recommend. Tell them everything about the pond and what all lives there and let them give you suggestions and why they suggest what they do. Gain all the knowledge you can, so you can make an informed decision. Good luck!

Walkerton, VA(Zone 7a)

My father introduced sterile Israeli Carp to control these plants in his pond on the Eastern Shore of Virginia. It was a long process, but it worked. He had to get a license from the state and he had to buy them from a licensed hatchery. Maybe this will help

The issue with any carp, regardless of whether they are sterile or not, is that native fish hunt by sight. Carp are notorious for increasing turbidity because of their feeding habits. Water clarity will have both a direct and indirect effect on both her flora and fauna in that pond. Most fish native to her area are not adapted to turbid conditions created by introduced koi, carp, or even the goldfish won at the county fair that gets "freed" by a parent who no longer wants to care for it never suspecting that "Goldie" can overwinter quite nicely in a pond. Basically, native fish can suffer from clogged gills created by muddied waters. Muddied waters from carp reduce the visibility and have frequently spelled death for native fish. If she were to introduce say Ctenopharyngodon idella, she'd be compromising the existing fish. Other than that, I've seen these carp grow to well in excess of 40lbs and in the long run, their presence merely controls undesirable vegetation and never eradicates same.

There are other issues with such an introduction given this pond is in Indiana where Water Milfoil (Myriophyllum sibiricum) has become a cause for concern -

Delray Beach, FL(Zone 10a)

I can tell you from experience that Myriophyllum sibiricum is a problem as far North as zone 4, maybe even higher. It looks so pretty in an aquarium. It's so invasive in the wild. Pity!


Bureau County, IL(Zone 5a)

Carp eat frog eggs....
I did some searching and I found the below quote from here

How do carp affect frog populations?
Carp eat almost anything they come across including tadpoles and frog eggs.
They can destroy habitat by reducing the amount of plants in a waterway.
Frogs, Tadpoles and frog eggs are very sensitive to changes in their environ-
ment. The destruction carp cause is one of the reasons why frog numbers are

and the below from here they eat fish eggs

Besides fish eggs, carp eat algae, other water plants, insects, earthworms, aquatic worms, snails, mussels, crayfish, and rotifers. They also eat old dead plant parts from the bottom.

and this link which tells that the lotus plant is usually not controlled

Hi Sylvain, we're battling M. sibiricum here too.

Terry, nice links. You sort of hit it on the head. Carp, Koi, and goldfish in a natural pond/lake or all the goodies like turtles, frogs, salamanders, dragonflies, damselflies, and an assortment of fish to keep the community healthy and in balance. I released an albino sterile Carp in my largest natural pond about 6 years ago before we moved in. One of those times I could just kick myself. That carp wasn't all that hard to finally get out but I can tell you I was rather shocked at how much he had grown in a year. We're talking mammoth. Neighborhood kids then released goldfish in that pond without asking us. One of those deals where the kids didn't keep the fish tanks clean so the tanks started smelling like mini sewer treatment facilities and the parents said get rid of the fish. I finally got those former pets all out but it took a while training them to come to the goldfish pellets before we could net them. One problem... carp are rather prolific and we didn't get them out before they reproduced so I ended up offering pellet food again to train the offspring to come to the surface. I then offered a "bounty" for every goldfish the kids hauled out. They're gone now... I think.

Seems as if there's no quick and easy fix when ever water is involved. Extremely frustrating and demoralizing. You want this stuff gone the minute you realize you made a mistake but then the fixes can have such horrible consequences that round-robin you back to square one. What's that old adage,"the cure is worse than the illness". This is one of those times when I'd break down and go for an appropriate chemical to save the wildlife that's already there before the whole pond fills in. I know I'd do this because I've been faced with the decision before and that's what I did. It sucks when these things happen as a result of my own actions.

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