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Ohio Aquatic Weed Removal

A friend of mine told me I needed government approval to clear my shore of aquatic weeds. Is that true?


Water Hyacinth (Image From University of Minnesota)

Only if you are using poisons or large mechanical removal tools that will put the lake or pond at risk if not carried out safely by an experienced professional.


If you're just cutting them out so the kids can swim in the pond this summer, all you need is tools and a little elbow-grease.

Are there any invasive plants that I should be aware of?


Yes. In fact, there are 26 of them we could find!


It's best to take care of them early and often, so if you're starting to show signs of them appearing it's time to take action today.

Invasive plants displace or crowd native plant species, impact wildlife which rely on native plant communities for food, shelter and breeding habitat, and form monoculture plant communities which reduces biological diversity.

It took us longer than usual to find a list of invasive aquatic plants found in Ohio, and the only government based source we could find is a pretty comprehensive pamphlet here.

The quick list:

  • Brazilian Waterweed

  • Brittle Naiad

  • Common Reed

  • Creeping Water Primrose

  • Curly-Leafed Pondweed

  • Eurasian Watermilfoil

  • European Frogbit

  • European Water-clover

  • European Water-starwort

  • Fanwort

  • Flowering-rush

  • Giant Salvinia

  • Hydrilla

  • Moneywort

  • Mudmat

  • Narrowleaf and Hybrid Cattails

  • Parrotfeather

  • Pink Lotus

  • Purple Loosestrife

  • Reed Canary Grass

  • Starry Stonewort

  • Water Chestnut

  • Water Hyacinth

  • Water Lettuce

  • Water Floating Heart

  • Yellow Iris


What do I need to know about the law before I start cutting?


We encounter people with misconceptions of questions about the law out at trade shows all the time, so we sifted through the various laws and departments to make it easier for you. Laws can change and we’ll update these guides as quickly as possible. As always, you should contact your local office of the Department of Environmental Quality or Department of Natural Resources for advice on your exact situation.

Note: AquaticWeedTools is not a law firm. As such, AquaticWeedTools does not provide legal advice. The material in this guide does not constitute legal advice nor does contributing to the guide or communicating with AquaticWeedTools or other contributors about the guide create an attorney-client relationship.

The State of Ohio lets you do a lot to clear up the weeds in your ponds or lake without a permit if it’s your land and you’re using mechanical tools.


All it takes to pull plants is effort. Since most plants grow in water less than 5 feet deep, this can often be accomplished by wading into the water and scooping them up by hand. A garden rake may expand your reach. Extensive mechanical control involves using heavy equipment to remove plants and is usually expensive. These extreme measures are only necessary for heavy concentrations of plants with strong root systems, such as cattails or spatterdock.

While you need a permit to use herbicides or biological treatments, there is no such requirement for using tools and removing them yourself.


What tools should I use to clear out the weeds around my dock?


The Aquatic Weed Rake from Prime Waters Manufacturing is designed to clear pesky weeds out with minimal effort, and safe enough to be used by any contractor or anyone in the family.

For Michigan weeds, we recommend using the Dock Weed Rake and Dock Weed Knife, and the Surf/Sand Rake to remove them once you're done cutting them down. Simply dispose of them like you would yard debris, compost them or there are companies you can hire to haul them away.

Having a clear pond all summer has never been so easy and safe for your family. If you have any questions at all, reach out to us. Our experts are ready to help!

Sources and Links

Ohio State University Aquatic Invasive Species Field Guide

Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR)

Ohio Pond Management Handbook

Ohio State Aquatic Plant Removal Permit Requirements

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