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Water hyacinth has no known direct
food value to wildlife and is considered a pest species.
Water hyacinth mats degrade water
quality by blocking photosynthesis, which greatly reduces oxygen
levels in the water. This creates a cascading effect by reducing
other underwater life such as fish and other plants. Water hyacinth
also reduces biological diversity, impacts native submersed plants,
alters immersed plant communities by pushing away and crushing
them, and also alter animal communities by blocking access to the
water and/or eliminating plants the animals depend on for shelter
Water hyacinth is a free-floating
perennial plant that can grow to a height of 3 feet. The dark green
leave blades are circular to elliptical in shape attached to a
spongy, inflated petiole. Water hyacinth leaves are fanlike and
slightly cupped. This shape makes a very effective sail and allows
the plants to spread easily over water bodies when the wind blows.
Underneath the water is a thick, heavily branched, dark fibrous
root system. The water hyacinth has striking light blue to violet
flowers located on a terminal spike. It is sometimes found stuck in
mud, appearing rooted, and it is rarely found as a single
Water hyacinth reproduces by seeds,
budding, fragmentation and stolen production. Daughter plants
sprout from the stolons and doubling times have been reported of
6-18 days. The seeds can germinate in a few days or remain dormant
for 15-20 years. They usually sink and remain dormant until periods
of stress (droughts). Upon re-flooding, the seeds often germinate
and renew the growth cycle.
Water hyacinth has shiny green leaves,
round to oval in shape, four to eight inches in diameter, with
gently incurved sides. The leaf veins of water hyacinth are
dense and numerous so leaves stand erect. Look for a mass of
fine purplish black and feathery roots hanging in the water
underneath the plant.
A. The entire
population should be treated as water hyacinth is not
native to the region.
A. Once water
temperatures are around sixty degrees or warmer.
treatments are generally required.
A. It really
depends on the product you choose. For most vegetation, control
will take approximately 2 weeks however, tissue damage may be
evident within 2 to 4 days with liquid formulations. Some
products are slower acting with results taking 30 days or more to
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