Basics of Hand Picking Milfoil

Picking Milfoil - A very basic guide.

With milfoil reduced, in some places, but still actively present in both lakes. I've been reminded that it would be a good idea to submit frequent entries and notes on the finer points of picking milfoil for those who haven't yet experienced the joy of aquatic pest removal. 

Picture yourself wearing a mask and snorkel in shallow water within easy reach of the bottom. You can also do this while wading (no mask or snorkel required). The accompanying drawings are crude but should suffice to illustrate the how-to of this.

Approach the plant to within easy reach taking care to not disturb the bottom silt which will hinder visibility.

Step One: Gently reach behind the plant with your palm towards you and your fingers pointed downward and slightly spread.

Step Two: push your fingers into the bottom behind the plant stem (as far as you can, if necessary, and pull towards you. Your fingers should be below the root crown of the plant .

Step Three: Whenyou have the bottom of the stem in your grasp, pull it upwards out of the bottom. Use your hand as though it were a rake. 

You should have the plant, roots and all, free of the bottom. At this point, if you have a fine mesh bag of some sort you can gently place it inside. You can also gently ball the plant up the plant and place it in a net or container, held by an assistant, or in a kayak or canoe along side of you. I know someone who uses a colander. Make sure to collect any stray fragments that may have come off the plant.

Remember, you will have accomplished something. Any plant you remove is gone from the lake and will not reproduce through fragmenting, rhizomes or budding. Just make sure you put your removed plants in a place from which they cannot be moved back into the water by flooding, rainfall, erosion or accident. A compost bin with solid or close meshed sides would do. Ideally, it should be at least 100 feet from the water,but many of you might not have that luxury so ask a neighbor if they have a spot or contact the lake association. 


Remember you can report milfoil at