Floating Plants can be divided into two groups: free floating and rooted. Free-floating surface plants derive their nutrient needs directly from the water and are not attached to the bottom while rooted floating attach to the sediment layer. Rooted floating plants provide natural, aesthetic qualities to lakes, ponds and rivers with showy flowers, large leafed foliage and habitat for wildlife. Approximately 15 to 20% coverage of your pond or lakes shallow areas is desirable.
Floating plants are notorious for overspreading in lakes and ponds, inhibiting recreational activities, especially if the water is shallow and clear. Use the pond and lake weed guide below to identify your floating plant problem; then choose one of the recommended solutions. Not sure what your plant is? Our biologists can help! Send us a sample (click here for directions) or call us at 1-800-442-6648.
Common Problem Floating Weeds:
American lotus plants are often confused with water lilies. The leaves of American lotus are simple, circular in shape and up to 2 feet in diameter.
Finely divided leaves scattered along the stem with numerous bladder-like structures on leaves. Stems have many branches and are densely leafy at the tips. Flowers are yellow and rise above surface.
Common Duckweed is an oval or rounded shape plant that floats on the surface. It has a minute root that hangs beneath. Giant Duckweed is very similar except has multiple roots and the underside is usually red. Typically found in ponds
Just recently found in Wisconsin, Sacred Lotus produces individual leaves and flowers directly from the root system with thick rhizomes. The blades of the leaves either float on the surface of the water or are held up to 6' above the water by their petioles.
Salvina is a small free-floating plant that grows in clusters and develops into dense, floating mats or colonies in quiet water, undisturbed by wave action. The floating leaves of salvinia are more or less round.
Water Hyacinth is a real problem in the Southern United States. The plants are free floating, sometimes attached in mud. Plant height in variable from a few inches to three feet. The flower can be blue, violet or white.
Water Lettuce (Pistia Stratiotes) is an invasive weed found mostly in the southern United States and as far north as Maine. Water Lettuce has velvety foliage resembling a head of lettuce found in the produce isle of your local supermarket. Water Lettuce spreads like strawberry plants across the surface of lakes and ponds.
Watermeal appears as minute green grains floating on the water. This one is often mistaken for algae or fine seeds. Watermeal does not have a root structure.
Watershield resembles a shield. Leaves may be two to five inches in length. Watershield blooms in early summer, with a dull purple flower.
White Water Lily plants have large mostly circular floating leaves with a slit from the edge to the center of the leaf. White Water Lily produces a distinct white or pink flower.
Yellow Floating Heart, an aggressive exotic aquatic plant, is native to Asia but now occurs in over 15 states taking over ponds and lakes. Key identifying traits - heart-shaped floating leaves have wavy margins and fringed flowers.
Yellow Water Lily plants are heart shaped. Look for a distinct yellow flower. Leaves can float or reach above the surface.