MN Lakes Association Home

Deer Lake Association
A member of the Minnesota Lakes Association

    Purple Loosestrife Crisis on Deer Lake!!

Purple Loosestrife Crisis on Deer Lake

The Time is Mid-Summer to go out and pick the blossoms and remove them from the lake area before they turn to seed and spread!

Please check your own shoreland and assist your neighbor!

Boat out to the public islands on the lake (such as Battleship and its surrounding islets, or those on the east end) and fill your craft with chopped down Loosestrife (a machete or garden clippers work well).

The DNR has requested our assistance in removing this invasive species that threatens to overwhelm the lake if left to its own.

Purple Loosestrife is a pretty plant but also an aggressive and persistent exotic species which crowds out our native species.  If left on its own our wetlands and lakeshore would become very purple, and not much else.  The diversity upon which a healthy ecosystem depends would be compromised, with a heavy toll on the wild rice, fish and wildlife whose habitat would be smothered in those pretty purple petals.

The DLA, in conjunction with the Minnesota DNR is doing all it can to eliminate this purple perennial.  You can help too!! 

 We have three methods of control:
1) chemical spraying, which must be done under DNR supervision;
2) setting out colonies of special beetles which eat the plants;
3) simply chopping down and removing the flowers before they develop into seed.

This last method can be done by everyone!  Check your own property for Loosestrife, help your neighbor identity the invader, or join in the DLA’s sponsored seek and destroy missions on the public islands.

The time to chop is NOW, from mid July into August.  Dispose your harvest in large garbage bags.

For more information and pictures to identify Purple Loosestrife, click these links:

*  Invasive Species in Itasca County: DNR Report (2011)

General Information on PL

National Park Information on PL

Minnesota Information on PL

Pictures of PL

Contact Bob Baker for Deer Lake Information: 327-1807 or grumpacrb (at)



Following is last year's report from Bob Baker on the Loosestrife management for Deer Lake.  The news for 2008 is much the same: we have chopped a bunch down and will continue with the beetles, but there are some areas where we will be conducting spraying of Loosestrife under the supervision of the DNR.   Aside from the various public islands such as Battleship and those near Kocemba Bay, private property in Echo Bay has been found to have the most serious infestations.  Private property owners will be contacted for permission and access.









Purple loosestrife continues to increase in the lake, most noticeably this year on the islands in “Hole in the Wall,” on the east side of the lake; also in the northeast end of the lake. There has been noticeable effect on the plants from previous beetle distributions in Echo Bay.
We did three beetle distributions in June in Echo Bay, the lake just south of “Hole in the Wall” (with Gerry Ratzlaff’s help), and in the small lake south of the bridge on Ct. Rd. 19.
Approximately l800 beetles collected by Rich Rezanka, MN DNR, were distributed. Rich felt these distributions were significantly effective. He spent two whole days in early August spraying loosestrife everywhere on the lake (entire south side, east islands, Battleship and Grass Islands, north shore of west end, northeast end, Comfort Cove, north side of Echo Bay). 
Areas not sprayed included Echo Bay, south side of Star Island (where we did not obtain landowner’s permission), west end of lake, and where we had distributed beetles. These sprayings were markedly successful.
Blooms were picked by Lisa Dorn, and possibly others not known to me. It is not necessary to pick blooms from plants that have been sprayed. This coming week will be about the last opportunity to harvest blooms for this year.
Beetle distributions are planned for next spring.
Rich Rezanka is the DNR’s loosestrife specialist for northern Minnesota, operating out of Brainerd. He has been enormously helpful this year, giving us more than a week of his time. He feels we are getting ahead of our loosestrife problem, but our effort is a ten plus (l0+) year project and complacency should be resisted. Rich may attend our Frolic next week. If he does, I hope he will hear many expressions of appreciation from us.
Bob Baker
Previous Reports:





There has been an explosive proliferation of purple loosestrife on and near the lake which is alarming in its scope.  Our efforts to distribute beetles on a few locations last summer, though time-consuming, were inconsequential.  Likewise, our effort to pick blossoms (several boatloads) to decrease seed distribution.  For this year (2006) we have several options, as recommended by the DNR:

     1. Growing beetles on plants to distribute
     2. Picking blossoms again
     3. Use herbicides - will need to obtain permits
       to do this - spraying (with Rodeo R) is done
       late summer.
     4. I will look into have the DNR exotic plant
       people to do some spraying of large areas -
       but we can spray smaller areas ourselves.

Last summer a few people were involved, including myself, Tom Nelson and two local volunteers, Mike Young and Luke Zupan, pictured below. We did accomplish some good, but soon realized that this is a very big and potentially overwhelming problem on our lake.  If we are to have any success at controlling loosestrife we will need to have many more volunteers during the next several years.  Please consider helping us this year, beginning as soon as we can start raising beetles this spring.  Contact me at any time if you're willing to join the "Loosestrife Legion".

Bob Baker, 327-1807
e-mail: barbj10 (at)  or grumpacrb (at)  



Websites on Purple loosetrife:


A double boatload of Purple Loosestrife last summer: