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  • Writer's pictureJen

Is it legal to pull or cut down weeds around my pond (or lake or shoreline) in Tennessee?


  1. Invasive Aquatic Plants Found In Tennessee

  2. What government agencies should I know about?

  3. What laws should I know about?

  4. What tools are best for clearing weeds in my pond?

  5. Sources and Links


We all like a nice, clean lake. Swimming in the summer is a great time for the family and one of the joys of owning your swimming hole or lakefront property. Fishing too! One thing that many new property owners don't know and veteran owners do, is keeping your property clear of aquatic weeds is as important for your lake as weeding your lawn is for it!

This guide is going to go over the worst of the worst and give you a few tips on how to do it. Read on!

Invasive Aquatic Plants Found In Tennessee

According to the Tennessee Valley Authority, eight plants that are considered invasive, and more that are emerging. "Invasive" officially means these plants aren't native to Tennessee, grow very quickly, and take over ecosystems and hurt fish and helpful plant populations. For you, that means worse fishing. More weeds each year, and wear and tear on boat motors. Overall, just a gross slimy mess.

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. Removing aquatic weeds is easiest and most effective during the spring or early summer while the plants are small and before they produce seeds.

The worst offenders are below:

What government agencies should I know about? - Tennessee Valley Authority - Tennessee State Government

What laws should I know about?

We weren't able to find any laws about removing aquatic weeds in Tennessee. You can do whatever you want with your lake.

What else should I know?

"Mechanical harvesting" is the technical term for removing weeds with tools. It truly is the safest and cleanest way to remove aquatic weeds too.

While herbicides are an option too, only a few are legal. They're poisons, they need to be used carefully to keep from killing productive plants, fish and wildlife. While it's not common, some herbicide accidents have led to children being hospitalized. Even if used safely, they can require multiple applications to control the plants and take hours or days between each application to take effect, then even more time before it's safe to swim.

It’s important to remove as much of the plant fragments as possible because some of them can grow back just from pieces settling on the lakebed.

Another important thing to remember is "shading", which is done by placing a large piece of black plastic or screening over the vegetation at the surface for 2-4 weeks. Only a section of the pond should be covered at any one time, and the plastic/screening will need to be tied off or anchored to keep it in place.

What tools should I use to clear weeds in my pond? (Or lake, swimming area, or any place with water and weeds)?

For most aquatic weed removal jobs, we recommend using the Dock Weed Rake for scooping out and pulling out most of the worst weeds quickly, and ergonomically.

For stiff reeds and thick vined weeds, the Dock Weed Knife cuts above and below water. With an 18-foot handle, it's capable of clearing a wide area with ease and dealing with notoriously hard to deal with Milfoil.

The Surf/Sand Rake is great for smaller projects like docks or beaches. At just $49.99, it's priced for anyone.

Having a clear pond all summer has never been so easy, and now that you don't have to hire someone, it's affordable for every family. If you have any questions at all, reach out to us. Our experts are ready to help!

Sources and Links


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.

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