What are Emergent Plants?
Emergent aquatic plants grow in shallow areas typically along the banks of marshes, ponds, lakes, and rivers. Unlike submerged vegetation, emergent plants are rooted in the ground with their stems, flowers, and leaves rising above the water. Emergent plants rely on aerial reproduction and get their nutrients exclusively from the soil.
There are lots of desirable species and varieties of emergent plants that add beauty and are beneficial to your pond or lake. Although they supply cover, nesting areas, and food for different fish and wildlife, many consider emergent plants a nuisance.
Common Non-Native Emergent Plants Found in Florida
Invasive emergent plants can quickly dominate your body of water and hurt your ecosystem by taking nutrients from native plants and growing out of control when not kept in check. Other problems include:
- Extreme oxygen deficiency and pH changes
- Water flow constraints, flooding
- Increased sedimentation
- Habitat loss
- A decrease in diversity and richness in animal and plant species
- Reduction in property values
- Prevention of water activities such as swimming and fishing
While Florida has many invasive emergent plant species, the following are common in Central Florida and should be removed by a qualified aquatic professional.
- Alligator Weed – alligator weeds grow quickly on land and in water. The toxic, floating mats clog waterways and drains. They also dominate pastures and crops, resulting in loss of farm production and profit.
- Hydrilla – in peak seasons, stems can grow as much as 6-8 inches per day. When not controlled, hydrilla can cover the entire surface of a body of water within 1 to 2 years after introduction.
- Hygrophila – located in rivers or lakes near river inflow, hygrophila (also known as swampweed) creates dense surface mats, especially in dormant waters. It decreases light and oxygen penetration for native plant and animal species and is costly and extremely hard to control.
- Napier Grass – the clump-forming grass grows up to 12 feet tall in wet to dry soils along shorelines. It prevents access to canals, blocking boat launches and access to shorelines.
- Water Taro – taro is an edible plant that you can grow in a vegetable garden. However, when planted near waterways, it can quickly become invasive, eliminating, or displacing native plants. Individuals should avoid planting taro outdoors where it can spread to streams or wetlands.
Keep Your Lake or Pond in Pristine Condition
Sorko Services offers aquatic weed control to help you protect your lake or pond from potentially noxious intruders while preserving ecological balance. We have years of experience and are committed to giving our customers the best experience possible. For more information or to begin creating your personalized treatment plan, please call 407-878-4492 or visit us online.