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Common Pond Weeds and Pond Weed Management

Floating Pond Weeds & Plants

In shallow ponds, floating weeds and plants are more common.Some floating plants such as water lilies or water hyacinths can produce beautiful flowers in small quantities.However, as they grow in number, these floating plants can cover your entire pond. This reduces oxygen levels and can cause fish deaths.Certain types of aquatic plants and weeds are more dangerous and invasive than others.


Watermeal and duckweed are the two most problematic pond weeds . They are unattractive, difficult to control and can negatively impact your pond’s quality.Watermeal reproduces quickly so you should act fast if you see these tiny green plants that resemble cornmeal or sand grains.


Duckweed can be mistaken for algae because it is larger than algae. However, algae do not have a root system while duckweed does. It has a small hair-like root on its underside.Once established, duckweed can quickly take over the entire surface of your pond and cut off oxygen for fish and other wildlife.

Submerged Pond Weeds

These pond weeds, as the name implies, are usually found under or near the water surface.American pondweed is the most popular, with its soft stems and oval-shaped foliage.Some leaves are submerged while others lie just below the water surface.There are many varieties of pondweed available, including Illinois pondweed, curly-leaf, and Sago pondweed.

American Pondweed

You can grow a wide variety of milfoil species in your pond. However, Eurasian watermilfoil is quite aggressive.These plants produce distinctive, feather-like leaves. Sometimes they will even produce a reddish flower that extends above the surface of your water.

Eurasian watermilfoil, which is so invasive, is considered a prohibited species. It is also illegal to purchase, import, or transport it.Northern watermilfoil is a related plant and is considered to be a beneficial native species.Here’s a picture showing Eurasian watermilfoil.

Eurasian Watermilfoil

To easily distinguish between Eurasian watermilfoil and northern watermilfoil, gently lift a section of the plant from the water.It is likely to be northern watermilfoil if the leaves are stiff or still.It is most likely an Eurasian variety if the leaves become limp.Eurasian watermilfoil has 12-20 leaflet pairs per leaf. The northern varieties have only 8-10 leaflet pair.

We are only highlighting a few types pond weeds. There are many submerged weeds such as naiads coontails, elodea, hydrilla, and naiads.Chara is also called Muskgrass. It is foul-smelling, and looks like a pond grass or weed. However, it is actually multi-cellular algae.It can quickly grow from the bottom of your pond and outgrows control.

Emerged Pond Weeds

Emerged Pond Weeds tend to gather near the shoreline, and can grow very tall, such as cattails, purple loosestrife, or shoreline grass.Bulrushes are also a problem around the shoreline.

White water lily, another emergent pondweed, can be a problem. While a few white water lilies may look beautiful in your pond’s landscape, they can also cause serious problems.This invasive weed is a hardy one that can quickly grow and outcompete native plants along your shoreline.This is a picture to show what can happen if these lilies don’t get controlled.

It is important to plant plants along your shoreline.Beneficial plants can help prevent erosion along the shoreline and protect your property from runoff.These emergent pondweeds can grow quickly and decrease the habitat for beneficial native plants.

Pond Weed Management Tips

You can place many aquatic plants in compost bins that you later use as compost for your garden and flower beds.They can be composted and provide valuable nutritional support for your plants and flowers. These plants should be removed from water sources like streams, rivers, and lakes, and placed in a trash facility.

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