Aquatic Plants and Weed Control

Aquatic plants are essential for a well-balanced pond and healthy aquatic ecosystem. They provide many important services such as...

  1. oxygenation through photosynthesis
  2. food and cover for aquatic animals and wildlife
  3. treatment of excess nutrients and other pollutants
  4. habitat for beneficial microorganisms
  5. shoreline stabilization and erosion prevention
  6. shade and temperature control
  7. beautification and enhanced land value

On the other hand, too much plant material in and around a stormwater pond can cause significant problems such as sedimentation, reduced volume, reduced residence time, stagnancy, noxious odors, obstructed pipes and outfalls, impediments to maintenance equipment, and overall unsightliness. 

What kinds of plants are concerning you?

ALGAE - planktonic (click here) Green Planktonic Algae

My pond has become very cloudy and green, like pea soup, or has a thin film of bright green or red "scum" floating on the water surface. 

ALGAE - filamentous (click here) Filamentous algae on a paddle

Filamentous algae form green, "hair-like" strands that grow on the surface of other plants or objects in the water. They do not have roots, leaves or flowers. In large blooms, filamentous algae can break loose and form large floating mats.

SUBMERGED PLANTS (click here) submersed weeds

Unlike filamentous algae, these plants are rooted into the bottom and have roots, stems and leaves. Some are able to break loose from the bottom and survive floating in the water. These plants are often described as"grass-like" or "moss-like." They grow from the bottom up to the surface and often have flowers below or above the water.

FLOATING PLANTS (click here) Floating-leaved plants (waterlilies and waterhyacinth)

Floating plants have leaves that lay on the water surface. Some are rooted in the bottom (such as lilypads and lotus) while others are free-floating on the surface (such as duckweed and waterhyacinth).

SHORELINE/EMERGENT PLANTS (click here) shoreline plants

These are plants that are rooted in very shallow water and at the water's edge. Some are creeping or "vine-like" and can reach out into the pond (such as alligatorweed and waterprimrose) while others grow vertically (such as cattails and rushes).

Additional Resources

For help with identifying your aquatic plants, consult your county's Extension office,


Check out these online aquatic plant identification aids...

Aquaplant - aquatic plant identification and control

IFAS - Center for Aquatic and Invasive Plants - photos and fact sheets

Beware Illegal Aquatic Plants in South Carolina!

South Carolina's Aquatic Noxious Weed List

SC DNR Stop Aquatic Hitchhikers Poster

Get your own copy of Aquatic and Wetland Plants of South Carolina (click here)