Invasive Species Highlight: Hydrilla

May 23rd, 2017

Written by Industry Expert, Emily Mayer, Aquatic Biologist

invasive-hydrilla-e.jpgHydrilla (Hydrilla verticillata) is a highly invasive aquatic plant that is plaguing freshwater ecosystems in the US, particularly in the South, Southeast, Mid-Atlantic and (most recently) the Northeast. Hydrilla has several distinguishing characteristics. Its small leaves are arranged in whorls of three to eight, and these leaves are heavily serrated and can be seen without the aid of magnification. Reproduction typically occurs through fragmentation, although hydrilla also produces tubers, which are subterranean potato like structures. These tubers can stay dormant in the sediment for up to 12 years, causing significant challenges in eradication.

Hydrilla forms dense mats at the surface of lakes and ponds, which limits recreational use and diminishes the aesthetic appeal of the waterbody. This invasive plant also out-competes native aquatic plant species, reducing biodiversity and negatively impacting water quality. Hydrilla also serves as a host for toxic cyanobacteria (Aetokthonos hydrillicola) that is responsible for avian vacuolar myelinopathy (AVS), a fatal neurological disease that affects eagles and other birds of prey at several sites in the southern US.

There are many management options to help control hydrilla; however, studies show that long-term management targeting tuber bank depletion is needed for successful eradication.

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Emily_Mayer_web-1.jpgEmily Mayer is an Aquatic Biologist based out of SOLitude’s office in Hackettstown, New Jersey. As a member of SOLitude’s Biology team, she provides clients with an array of lake and pond management solutions to help them prevent water quality problems and maintain healthy, balanced and beautiful aquatic ecosystems.

SOLitude Lake Management is committed to providing full service lake and pond management services that improve water quality, preserve natural resources, and reduce our environmental footprint. Our services include lake, pond and fisheries management programs, algae and aquatic weed control, mechanical harvesting, hydro-raking, installation and maintenance of fountains and aeration systems, water quality testing and restoration, bathymetry, lake vegetation studies, biological assessments, habitat assessments, invasive species management and nuisance wildlife management. Services, consulting and aquatic products are available to clients nationwide, including homeowners associations, multi-family and apartment communities, golf courses, commercial developments, ranches, private landowners, reservoirs, recreational and public lakes, municipalities, parks, and state and federal agencies. Learn more about SOLitude Lake Management and purchase products at

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