Florida is home to many different walks of life and vegetation. Though sometimes it inherits something it never intended to, and it eventually becomes an invasive issue. One of the most significant examples of this is the hydrilla plant. This plant is native to southeastern Asia and made its way into Florida's waters, becoming the most aggressive submersed invasive species of plant found in Florida to this day. Here you will see a brief history of the hydrilla plant in Florida and how it affects the state today.
The existence of hydrilla dates back centuries but has only been introduced to Florida back in the 1950s. If you've ever swum in a local fresh body of water, there's a good chance that "seaweed" you see in the water is the hydrilla plant. It's considered to be the most invasive weed to have found its home in Florida waters. The source of the exposure comes from an aquatic plant trader who disposed of several bundles of Hydrilla into a canal in Tampa Bay. The weed wasn't discovered until almost a decade later as it made its presence known in Crystal River.
The problem that soon came to be was the overabundance of Hydrilla began to clog dams, damage power plants, and cause issues with various water control structures. To this day it's still a big issue with these as well as blocking other native vegetation with its dense nature. This prevents any light that is typically retrieved by the native plants and they eventually die off.
Indeed the only benefit Hydrilla brings is food and shelter/habitat for aquatic wildlife in the same lake/pond/etc. The weed offers home and nourishment for largemouth bass especially and acts as a deterrent for predators. Unfortunately for fishers, the predators Hydrilla keeps out are humans since the weed causes problems for anyone looking to cast their line out.
This invasive plant species won't be going anywhere any time soon, but there are various ways to get rid of the weeds in private ponds and lakes on your property. Different herbicides can do the trick in making sure your share of the invasive Hydrilla dies off and doesn't come back. The best way to fight the sneaky weed is to detect it early and get rid of it just as fast. The longer it's ignored, the bigger the problem will be!