Alligator weed is a perennial plant native to South America and often forms very dense stands or mats that make shoreline access difficult. Aquatic stems are hollow and can be single or branched. Leaves are opposite, long, elliptical or lance-shaped up to 3/4 inch wide and 5 inches long with a prominent midrib. Often roots develop at leaf nodes. Soft, whitish hairs are found in the leaf axis. Single flowers are small (about 1/2 inch in diameter) white, fragrant clusters of 6 to 10 florets, borne on long branches (to 3 inches). The flowers resemble those of white clover. A single seed develops within the fruit. Submerged portions of all aquatic plants provide habitats for many micro and macro invertebrates. These invertebrates in turn are used as food by fish and other wildlife species (e.g. amphibians, reptiles, ducks, etc.). After aquatic plants die, their decomposition by bacteria and fungi provides food (called "detritus") for many aquatic invertebrates. Alligator weed has no known direct food value to wildlife and since it is a non-native should not be spread.
Herbicide Management Options:
Habitat: contains the active ingredient, imazapyr, which inhibits the plant enzyme AHAS (acetohydroxyaced synthase). Habitat is a systemic herbicide that is effective on post-emergent floating and emergent aquatic vegetation. Imazapyr is effective at low-volume rates and does not contain heavy metals, organochlorides or phosphates, making it safe to humans and livestock. Habitat requires the use of a non ionic surfactant when applying on post-emergent vegetation.
Rodeo: is a liquid (glyphosate) formulation and has been effective on Alligatorweed. This is a broad spectrum, systemic herbicide. Systemic herbicides are absorbed and move within the plant to the site of action. Systemic herbicides tend to act more slowly than contact herbicides. An aquatically registered surfactant (see the label) will have to be added to the Rodeo solution for good results.
Biological Management Options: There are no known Biological Management Options.