HydrillaThe Center for Invasive Species and Ecosystem Health lists a total of 79 different invasive and exotic aquatic plants that can be found in various parts of the United States. Some are wreaking more havoc than others, but one of the worst of all is hydrilla. It has invaded across much of the southern United States, and is beginning to make its way northward. Below are the basics of this invasive exotic water weed that the USDA Forest Service calls “…one of the most troublesome aquatic plants in the United States.”

  • Scientific Name: Hydrilla verticillata.
  • Origins: This is unclear, but hydrilla is probably native to Asia or Africa, although now it seems to be just about everywhere on the planet. It made its first appearance in the US back in the 1950s when it was introduced as a plant for aquariums.
  • Habitats: This submersed freshwater perennial herb prefers calm waters. It grows upward from its roots at the bottom of the pond, lake or slow-moving river. It can reach the water’s surface even from depths of 40 feet. Once at the surface, it forms a deep mat of vegetation. If you see hydrilla at the surface, you’ve got a serious infestation on your hands because it has already grown up through the water from the bottom, wreaking havoc along the way.
  • Eco-Impacts: Hydrilla mats can get so dense that they not only completely crowd out native vegetation, but actually suck up so much oxygen that fish start dying off. It clogs irrigation systems and can make waterways completely impassable for boaters, swimmers, and anglers.
  • Controls: Mechanical removal, sterile triploid Chinese grass carp, chemical herbicides.
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Hydrilla tangling up a boat propeller

 

Hydrilla Removal with Weedoo Environmental Work Boats

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Weedoo’s TigerCat® Work Boat unloading into Lake Balboa
(Photo credit: Jeff Meek Photos)

No one wants to dump a bunch of chemicals on a pond, lake, river or reservoir to get rid of hydrilla. When the community of Hot Springs Village, AR realized it had a hydrilla infestation on their hands, they turned to Weedoo Work Boats for help.

As reported by Jeff Meek in the Hot Springs Village Voice, Roddy McCaskill’s Water Weed Harvesting company was brought in to try and get the problem under control using one of Weedoo’s TigerCat® work boats.

The TigerCat® has set a whole new standard in hi-speed aquatic weed removal. The one-ton TigerCat represents the first modern weed removal design in nearly a century. Lightweight composites combined with powerful twin hydraulic propulsion drives provide far greater maneuverability and power when compared to traditional aquatic harvesters. The heavy-duty boom-style cutter operates at over 900 strokes per minute to slice through hydrilla like a hot knife through soft butter at depths of up to 5 feet below the surface. The TigerCat also features the first marine-style loader designed to remove up to 30 tons of water-soaked hydrilla per hour, which provides vastly superior productivity over other harvester-style boats.

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A barge was used to float large batches of harvested hydrilla that were eventually trucked away for disposal (Photo credit: Bill Staggs)

 

Are Lake Balboa’s hydrilla problems solved forever? Probably not. Mechanical removal is oftentimes just a good first step towards eradication. It only takes a few plant fragments to begin a new round of growth, but the initial removal gives lake managers enough time to determine their next step, which might well be some well-placed grass carp to take care of any hydrilla that remains.

The TigerCat® features a Fiberglass/Kevlar® superior hull design, deck-mounted marine boom cutter, front-end loader with universal marine bucket system, and a 1305 highway transportation trailer with emergency and safety tow kits. Its factory-installed PowerPack features fluid cooled gas or diesel engine options with electric start. VVR hydraulic reservoir provides eco-friendly fluid to high efficiency triple pump setup producing 27 GPM. System includes twin propulsion outdrives with Weedoo Weed-N-Mud propellers and quick change hydraulics for Weedoo aquatic work attachments.

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Map showing where hydrilla has appeared

Ready to tackle those wily water weeds without chemicals? Contact Weedoo today!