What’s Growing in Your Waterway?

Aquatic weeds can cause a lot of problems in your waterway. Some of the most upsetting issues cause problems for fishing and watersport enthusiasts:

  • Lower dissolved oxygen levels mean that fish and other living organisms in the water can’t get enough oxygen.
  • When water flow is limited, the habitat changes, so it isn’t as hospitable to fish as it once was.
  • As weeds clog waterways, boats and other vehicles have a harder time getting through.
  • A beautiful pond or lake can quickly become overgrown and murky.

Even if you just want a beautiful water feature on your property, it’s important to keep aquatic weeds to a minimum.

There are three basic types of water plants: free-floating, submersed, and emergent. Free-floating plants hover on the water’s surface without connecting to the bottom. Submersed plants are rooted in the soil and sediment at the bottom of the water and don’t reach the surface. Emergent plants are rooted at the bottom of the water and reach the top of the water with growth easily visible on the surface.


Duckweed, or lemnoideae, is a free-floating weed and may require aggressive tactics for removal. This plant is often spread by the birds and mammals living near the water on the animals’ bodies. Although this plant is beneficial for waterfowl and small aquatic animals, it can proliferate to the point that it disrupts the waterway’s ecosystem.


Watermilfoil, or Myriophyllum, is recognizable by its feathery leaves that barely peep above the surface of the water. This submersed weed is a big problem in the North and grows very well in cooler water. This species is highly invasive and requires consistent aquatic weed control.

Water Thyme

Water thyme, or hydrilla verticillate, is an invasive species that has spread from the warmer climate in Florida across the country, reaching California and Canada. This species of aquatic weed presents huge problems in waterways as it displaces native species.

Beautiful waterways require consistent maintenance and weed control. Management programs should typically include visits monthly and quarterly. The more you know about aquatic weeds, the better you can control them.

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