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Novel approach to flowering rush: some weed it by hand

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Novel approach to flowering rush: some weed it by hand
Detroit Lakes Minnesota 511 Washington Avenue 56501

After having some problems with flowering rush growing in the water along their beachfront, some residents on Deadshot Bay took matters into their own hands -- literally.

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Last summer, the Deadshot Estates Condominium Association eradicated the flowering rush in its beach area. In a letter to the Detroit Lakes City Council, the association said it has proved almost a 100 percent eradication success by hand-harvesting in the immediate beach area.

Members of the association pulled up their gloves to wrap the stalks around their arms, jimmy the roots loose with their feet and then pull the invasive plants out of the shallow areas.

Tera Guetter, Pelican River Watershed District administrator, said the amount of flowering rush throughout the lakes in the Pelican River system is too great for hand harvesting, but that doesn't mean individuals can't clean up their own beach areas.

"Fifteen years ago we probably could have done that," she said. "When people call me to pick it, I say 'go ahead.'"

She suggested taking a pitchfork to get the entire plant, otherwise it will grow back.

"I tell people, especially when they have small clumps just starting, get out there and pull it out. Don't wait for it to spread across your whole beach area," she said.

It could be a never-ending battle, though. With one clump removed, another could blow into the area and the plant will re-establish.

"I think if we, back when it was discovered back in the '70s, had done that, and kept at it, we would have been ahead of the game," Guetter said.

Unfortunately the hands of time can't be turned back.

She added that removal technique is listed in the DNR handbook, but again, it needs to be a small area. For the problem that has grown in Detroit Lakes, the Pelican River Watershed District will continue with chemical spraying treatment.

The Deadshot Bay Condo Association got the hand harvesting idea from Monroe, Mich., and its Flowering Rush Eradication Days, found at www.yes2fred.com.

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