Invasive aquatic plants
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Invasive Aquatic Plants. Gary J. Burtle Animal & Dairy Science University of Georgia Tifton, GA. Georgia Invasive Aquatic Plants Georgia Exotic Pest Control Council (www.gaeppc.org). Alligatorweed Hydrilla Parrotfeather Phragmites Giant Salvinia Torpedograss Water Hyacinth.

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Invasive Aquatic Plants

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Invasive aquatic plants

Invasive Aquatic Plants

Gary J. Burtle

Animal & Dairy Science

University of Georgia

Tifton, GA


Georgia invasive aquatic plants georgia exotic pest control council www gaeppc org

Georgia Invasive Aquatic PlantsGeorgia Exotic Pest Control Council (www.gaeppc.org)

  • Alligatorweed

  • Hydrilla

  • Parrotfeather

  • Phragmites

  • Giant Salvinia

  • Torpedograss

  • Water Hyacinth


Other exotic aquatic plants sea grant univ florida

Other Exotic Aquatic PlantsSea Grant, Univ. Florida

  • Egeria densa – Brazilian elodea

  • Ipomea aquatica – Swamp cabbage

  • Lythrum salicaria – Purple loosestrife

  • Melaleuca quinquenervia –Melaleuca

  • Myriophyllum spicatum – Eurasian milfoil

  • Nympohoides peltata – Yellow floating heart

  • Pistia stratiotes – Water lettuce

  • Potamogeton crispus – Curlyleaf pondweed

  • Urochloa mutica – Para grass

  • At least eight others targeted by committee


Alligatorweed alternanthera philoxerioides

AlligatorweedAlternanthera philoxerioides


Alligatorweed ecology

Alligatorweed Ecology

  • Native to South America

  • Introduced 1890’s

  • Emersed, perennial

  • Adapts structually to the environment

  • Vegetative reproduction

  • Stem node buds take root with soil contact

  • Flea beetle, Agasicles hygrophila


Hydrilla hydrilla verticillata

HydrillaHydrilla verticillata


Hydrilla ecology

Hydrilla Ecology

  • Invaded Florida, 1959

  • Found worldwide

  • Submersed, rooted

  • Whorls of 3-10 leaves with toothed margins

  • Fast growing, reproduces from pieces of broken stems and underground propagule. Seed rare.


Hydrilla control

Hydrilla Control

  • Costs up to $5 million/yr in Florida, $2.5 million/yr in South Carolina

  • Contact herbicides followed by grass carp

    • Diquat or endothal

  • Tuber weevil, Bagous affinis

  • Stem borer, Bagous hydrillae

  • Leaf mining fly, Hydrellia balciunasi or Hydrellia pakistanae, Hydrellia bilbifera

  • Impact mature plants and destroy reproductive structures


Parrotfeather myriophyllum aquaticum

ParrotfeatherMyriophyllum aquaticum


Parrotfeather ecology

Parrotfeather Ecology

  • Native to S. America

  • Aquarium plant

  • Perennial rooted, with rhizomes

  • Deep water to mudflat

  • Yellow-green, graceful foliage above water

  • 2,4-D or other systemic herbicide

  • Contact herbicide then grass carp

  • Cover after drawdown


Phragmites phragmites australis

PhragmitesPhragmites australis


Phragmites ecology

Phragmites Ecology

  • European introduction

    • Aggressive genotype,1800’s

  • Erect along waterways in several feet of water to moist soil, perenial

  • Dense hedge-like stands

  • Systemic herbicides

    • Glyphosate, Imazapyr

  • Mechanical removal

  • After removal plant native plants quickly


Biological control of phragmites

Biological Control of Phragmites

  • Phragmites damages natural areas and reduces biological diversity

  • Biological control work is rather recent, late 1990’s

  • Native herbivores

    • Yuma skipper – Ochlodes yuma

    • Dolichopodid fly – Thrypticus sp.

    • Gall midge – Calamomyia phragmites

  • At lest 21 species of exotic herbivores have been unintentionally introduced (Tewksbury et al.)


Invasive aquatic plants

Giant SalviniaSalvinia molesta, Salvinia biloba, Salvinia herzogii, Salvinia minima, Salvinia auriculata


Giant salvinia ecology

Giant Salvinia Ecology

  • Recent invader, probably from aquarium release

  • Floating fern

  • Spreads very fast

  • Biological control

    • Wide use in Texas

  • Contact herbicides

    • Diquat, Diquat & Cutrine-Plus

  • Report all sightings


Topedograss panicum repens

TopedograssPanicum repens


Torpedograss ecology

Torpedograss Ecology

  • S. America and West Indes and widely distributed

  • Marginal and forming mats

  • Rhizomes and seeds

  • Displaces Maidencane

  • Control with systemic herbicides

    • Imazapyr, glyphosate


Water hyacinth eichhornia crassipes

Water HyacinthEichhornia crassipes


Water hyacinth ecology

Water Hyacinth Ecology

  • One of first exotic invasives, 1884

  • Federal control efforts for more than 100 yrs

  • Floating or rooted

  • Spread by stolon

  • Seeds germinate after reflooding

  • Systemic (2,4-D) or contact (diquat) herbicides


Biological control of water hyacinth

Biological Control of Water Hyacinth

  • Mottled waterhyacinth weevil - 1972

    • Neochetina eichorniae

  • Chevroned waterhyacinth weevil - 1974

    • Neochetina bruchi

  • Waterhyacinth moth larvae - 1977

    • Smeodes albiguttalis


Water lettuce pistia stratiotes

Water LettucePistia stratiotes


Water lettuce ecology

Water Lettuce Ecology

  • S. America in 1700’s

  • Floating mats or roots

  • Buds in still water

  • Not cold tolerant

  • Mosquito habitat, navigation impact, clogs water intakes

  • Water lettuce weevil

    • Neohydronomous affinis

  • Water lettuce moth

    • Spodoptera pectinicornis


Information sources

Information Sources

  • Florida Sea Grant

    • aquat1.ifas.ufl.edu/seagrant/aquinv.html

  • U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

    • www.saj.usace.army.mil/conops/apc/


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