Aquatic plants supply oxygen, provide cover, and can be food for insects that are eaten by fish. Plants protect shorelines from wave erosion and serve as feeding and nesting habitat for waterfowl (ducks, geese, etc.). Aquatic plants are desirable and beneficial to fish communities but can cause problems with fishing by interfering with angler access. Largemouth bass and bluegill populations do the best when aquatic plants cover 20% to 30% of the pond surface in the summer. Plant densities greater than 30% can cause fish kills and could result in unbalanced fish populations. Fish kills can occur when overabundant vegetation dies and decays, causing oxygen depletion. Aquatic plant problems usually do not occur in properly constructed ponds.
Aquatic plants are grouped into five general categories: algae, floating, rooted floating, submergent, and emergent. Pond owners can use our plant identification key or have a qualified person identify the plants in their ponds.