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Getting To Know Your Aquatic Weeds: Hydrilla

June 18th, 2013

hydrilla clear waterOf the number of aquatic weeds that are found in your pond there are many that can cause more issues that others. One of these plants is Hydrilla. Released in the United States in Floridawaterways in the 1960’s, hydrilla has now established in many states. The eradication of this invasive weed is costing millions of dollars each year. This aquatic weed spreads very quickly, clogging waterways, wrapping around boat propellers, and even getting tangled around the legs of unsuspecting swimmers, resulting in drowning. It is a submersed plant that can grow to the surface and form dense mats. It may be found in all types of water bodies from stagnant ponds to flowing mountain streams. 

Hydrilla stems are slender, branched and up to 25 feet long. Hydrilla’s small leaves are strap-like and pointed.They grow in whorls of four to eight around the stem.The leafmargins are distinctly saw-toothed. Hydrilla often has one or more sharp teeth along the length of the leaf mid-rib. Hydrilla produces tiny white flowers on long stalks. It also produces 1/4 inch turions at the leaf axils and potato-like tubers attached to the roots in the mud. The tubers can lay dormant for several years making control of these plants difficult. 

hydrilla 4Hydrilla can be controlled in a number of ways. The most popular way of controlling this plant is through the use of aquatic herbicides, but these only result in temporary control. Lake drawdowns (lowering the water level) are another method of control which exposes the plants causing them to die and decompose. Grass carp will consume hydrilla making the addition of grass carp to your pond also an effective aquatic weed control method that is more natural than the use of herbicides.

Due to the invasiveness of this plant, measures need to be taken for control at first sight.  This plant can grow up to an inch a day and the more that it spreads, the harder it can be to control. Contact your aquatic specialists for the best method to control and eliminate hydrilla and any other nuisance aquatic weeds.

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Since 1998, SOLitude Lake Management has been committed to providing full service lake and pond management services that improve water quality, preserve natural resources, and reduce our environmental footprint. Services are available throughout the Eastern United States. Fisheries management consulting and aquatic products are available nationwide. Learn more about SOLitude Lake Management and purchase products at www.solitudelakemanagement.com.

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