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No ecological benefits are associated with Hydrilla within the
United States. Introduced - locally established; potentially
invasive; Federal Noxious Weed.
Hydrilla is sometimes called an invisible menace because most of
the time you don't know it is there until it has filled the water.
It will shade out native aquatic plants until they are eliminated.
This forms a monoculture, which will reduce biodiversity and alter
the ecosystem. Hydrilla not only poses a threat to other plants but
to animals as well. When hydrilla becomes over abundant, fish
population imbalances are likely. The dense mats of hydrilla will
alter the waters chemistry by raising pH, cause wide oxygen
fluctuations, and increase water temperature.
Hydrilla is an economic drain. Millions of dollars are lost due
to reduced recreational opportunities as hydrilla mats interfere
with boating, swimming, fishing, etc. In flowing waters hydrilla
will greatly reduce flow and can cause flooding. For operations
that require water intake, hydrilla can pose a problem by clogging
the intake pipes. Waterfront property values drop in areas infested
with hydrilla. Millions of dollars are annually spent trying to
control this aquatic pest.
Hydrilla is a perennial plant that forms dense
colonies and can grow to the surface in water over 20 feet deep.
Hydrilla branches profusely and after reaching the surface it
extends across it forming thick mats.
Hydrilla can reproduce by fragmentation, from seeds, from
turions (axilary buds), and from tubers. Leaves are blade-like
about 1/8 inch and 3/8 inch long with small tooth margins and
spines on the underside of the midrib which make them feel rough.
Leaves are usually 4 to 8 in a whorl.
Hydrilla is often confused with the native Elodea. Hydrilla has one
or more teeth on the underside of the midrib; Elodea does not have
midrib teeth. The teeth make Hydrilla feel rough when drawn through
your hand from base to tip.
Note: See also Elodea a
submerged plant that looks similar.
Hydrilla - Averages three to five leaves per
whorl with rough toothed leaf edges. Americana Elodea
- Averages three leaves per whorl with smooth leaf
A. Once water temperatures are around sixty degrees or warmer
and the plant is viable.
A. Hydrilla can grow quickly. Wait, watch and
see after the initial treatment but two applications are not
unusual. Be aggressive with this aggressive exotic plant.
A. Generally within two weeks things will be cleared up.
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