Duckweed Control: No Quacking Matter

Welcome to Part Four of our Aquatic Plant Control blog series! The topic floating in this week is duckweed

What is duckweed?

Duckweed is a species of floating aquatic plant and is extremely small, some species averaging less than 2 mm in length. While small in size, duckweed packs a big punch.

Duckweed is often denoted by its rapid growth and reproduction which is achieved through asexual budding. In the right conditions colonies of duckweed double in surface area coverage in just 48 hours! As a result, duckweed can quickly cover slow moving water bodies in shorter spans of time than most other species of invasive aquatic plants. 

Duckweed is easily transplanted from one water body to another either through the natural flow of water or borne aloft on the bodies waterfowl. When birds land in a new lake, pond, or stream, they carry duckweed with them into a new environment and where it begins to propagate if conditions allow. 

What are the benefits of duckweed?

Across the world, duckweed is largely a beneficial species of aquatic plant. In Asia, duckweed is used as a food source due to its high-protein value and even contains more protein than soybeans! When cultivated, duckweed is a plentiful food source for humans and waterfowl (hence the name “duck” weed) and offers habitats for various other types of aquatic life. Additionally, duckweed can be used to absorb nitrates and phosphates, and the plant also decreases the evaporation speed of water in drought-prone regions.
Photo credit: Christian Fischer from Germany

What are the problems with duckweed? 

Despite the benefits of duckweed, it is an invasive aquatic weed. Duckweed plants aggressively invade water bodies, and if uncontrolled, they quickly become a problem as the duckweed covers the entire surface area of a water body. As the duckweed blocks sunlight from reaching the floor of the water bodies, native species of aquatic plants die off, reducing the oxygen dissolved in the water. Fish and wildlife are harmed or displaced. Duckweed problems are not only a common backyard pond concern. Many parts of the world struggle with duckweed control, including Asia, South Africa and parts of the U.S. including Florida Everglades, parts of Oregon, and many more regions. 

Is there a duckweed barrier I can use for duckweed control? 

Duckweed control, whether to harvest as a food source or to help contain it to a designated area, can be achieved through the use of an aquatic plant control boom (also referred to as a duckweed barrier).

Aquatic plant boom serves as an excellent means of controlling duckweed as it can coral floating plants into an ideal location for harvesting, removal, or containment. Learn more about aquatic plant control boom at or contact our team of specialists at 772-646-0597!

Did you miss our last posts in our Aquatic Plant Control series? Feel free to visit our entries on Blue-Green Algae and Water Hyacinth! Moreover, be sure to come back next time for our final post in our aquatic plant control series on Sargassum!

Water Hyacinth, the Amazonian Invader!

Welcome back for Part Three of our Aquatic Plant Control blog series! This week our topic is water hyacinth.
Photo credit: Challiyan at Malayalam Wikipedia

What is water hyacinth? 

Water hyacinth is an aquatic plant which originates from the Amazon basin in South America. This plant is a type of free-floating perennial aquatic plant native to the sub-tropical and tropical regions of the Amazon basin and is also an invasive species in areas throughout the world.

Water hyacinth is denoted by its’ thick, broad, glossy leaves and its floating characteristics. These aquatic plants can grow almost four feet off the water’s surface, and extend below the surface with purple feather-like roots. 

Photo credit: ConiferConifer from Japan
This invasive species reproduces quickly and, when it isn’t managed, the plant can rapidly cover the surface of a water body. This blocks sunlight from penetrating through the water column and leads to the die-off of native aquatic plants. The death of these native plants leads to an influx of bacteria that consume the decaying plant matter. These bacteria deplete the dissolved oxygen and available resources leading to the death of insects, fish, and other types of aquatic life. Furthermore, colonies of water hyacinth serve as habitats for mosquitos and snails carrying parasitic flatworms that can cause snail fever in humans. In addition to being a health risk, this invasive plant also interferes with boating, fishing, swimming, and shipping.

Water hyacinth has found its way into many countries around the world, including the United States. It was first brought to Louisiana at the World’s Fair in New Orleans back in 1884. The plant quickly spread across the waterways of Louisiana and is also found in Florida. The prevalence of water hyacinth in these waterways halted their use and became an economic concern as fish began to die off, and the gears of the shipping industry ground to a halt in these areas.

While chemical and biological methods have seen use throughout the years, one of the most common ways to mitigate the prevalence of water hyacinth on water bodies is through mechanical removal. The utilization of aquatic plant boom is one method used to contain, gather and remove these invasive aquatic plants from the water’s surface. The boom’s rugged design can withstand extended use in many water environments and can contain algae, duckweed, seaweed, trash or timber, in addition to water hyacinth. Learn more about aquatic weed control and containment on our Aquatic Plant Boom page at!

Stay tuned as we continue our Aquatic Plant Control blog series!

Holy Guacamole! What is Blue-Green Algae?

Part Two of our Aquatic Plant Control Blog Series this month we saw the approval of a bill creating a reservoir system to the south of Lake Okeechobee to help mitigate toxic algae blooms resulting from nutrient runoff around the lake. This discharge typically makes its way down the Caloosahatchee and St. Lucie rivers and into the coastal waterways on both sides of Florida, polluting marinas and beaches with thick green muck. The environment and economy in South Florida are hit hard by this pollution

Sometimes referred to as “guacamole” algae, blue-green algae is composed of Cyanobacteria. These organisms feed on the nitrates and phosphates from fertilizers used on farms and in urban environments, and as the excess nutrients build up in waterways from faulty dikes or stormwater runoff, algae populations thrive, and their population increases dramatically. The growth and spread of algae will often block sunlight from the floor of a water body, causing aquatic plants to die off. The resulting dead organic matter becomes food for other bacteria that decompose the decaying plant life, and with a much larger food source, these bacteria begin to use up the dissolved oxygen in the water. Fish and aquatic insects are the first to die off when the dissolved oxygen is used up, then, manatees, dolphins, and larger marine life begin to lose their food source from habitat destruction.
Blue-green Algae

Furthermore, blue-green algae produce a neurotoxin called “microcystin” which is harmful to humans, animals, and aquatic life. While this toxin primarily targets the liver, it is also a skin, eye, and throat irritant. For this reason, communities issue public health advisories during blue-green algae or cyanobacteria blooms to protect people and their pets.

GEI Works manufacturers floating containment boom that can effectively manage and section off large algae blooms, however,  for projects like the Okeechobee Lake Reservoir Plan, it is necessary to include long-term management and mitigation of nutrient and stormwater runoff. quality impacts us all. Blue-green algae and cyanobacteria not only occur in Florida but throughout the US and around the world. GEI Works provides global water pollution prevention and containment solutions such as turbidity curtain, aquatic plant boom, erosion control products, stormwater BMPs, flocculants, water trailers, secondary containment, and more. For more information contact us at 772-646-0597 or visit

Stay tuned next week as we continue our aquatic plant control blog series!