How to kill Lilly Pad roots

Lily pads are colonial plants that grow from creeping stems called rhizomes. One of the ways of rapid reproduction on ponds and lakes is by reeping rootstock of underground rhizomes.

 Lily pads might look beautiful in the water, but can quickly ruin recreational benefits of any pond or lake as excessive growth might make the water impossible to swim in.

Lily pad management is necessary when plants begin to invade the vast majority of the water body. Wildlife managers usually recommend that lily pads should only cover around 25% of a lake or pond.

Lily pads are colonial plants that grow from creeping stems called rhizomes. One of the ways of rapid reproduction in ponds and lakes is by reeping rootstock of underground rhizomes.  Lily pads might look beautiful in the water but can quickly ruin the recreational benefits of any pond or lake, as excessive growth might make the water impossible to swim in. Lily pad management is necessary when plants invade most of the water body. Wildlife managers usually recommend that lily pads should only cover around 25% of a lake or pond. 

Here are two ways how you can do it:


Thinning the leaf coat with a rake

If there are many lily pads leaves that overlap on the surface of the water, this leaf mat needs to be thinned. With a rake, you can pick up some of the leaves and remove them from the pond. This process should be repeated regularly, as the water lilies will grow back.


Use Grass Carp

Grass carp like to nibble on lily pads if they are kept short of food. Even thick plant roots are no obstacle for them. In large ponds, they could help with the lily pad problem. If you see bitten plant parts swimming on top of the pond, get them out as soon as possible.

There are different ways to manage the growth of lily pads, but control is best achieved by eliminating the growth of the root system that prevents these plants from spreading. 


Cutting with pond scissors

You can cut lily pads that have been planted deep in the pond with special pond scissors, then remove the cut plant parts from the water. If a dense root system has already been formed, it can be difficult to reduce the number of lily pads. 

If the pond is low, you can use a spade to remove all or part of the lily roots. Try to avoid damaging other aquatic plants.


Pumping the pond for better access

If all else fails, you can pump the pond to reach the lily roots. This is, of course, a huge effort. You will have to cut the roots piece by piece with a spade and remove them from the pond; otherwise, completely, new plants can start growing from the remaining tips.

Very old and thick roots can sometimes only be removed from the pond with a strong pull. You need to attach a pickaxe and take them out with the help of the car or other vehicle.

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