Remove lily pads from pond

The Pond Guy’s Blog

Q: I have a lot of water lilies in my 1/2 acre pond. How do I control them?

Dan – Newnan, GA

A: In ornamental ponds, water lilies planted in pots are prized possessions—but in a shallow farm pond or lake, lilies living wild can be an invasive species that takes over the water surface in no time.

Of course, water lilies aren’t all bad. Their leaves and roots provide food for beaver, moose, muskrat, porcupine, and deer. Their seeds are gobbled by waterfowl, and their leaves provide protective coverage for largemouth bass, sunfish, and frogs. Left unmanaged, however, water lilies can restrict lake-front access, eliminate swimming opportunities and quickly take over shallow areas.

But before we get into how to control these beautiful but troublesome aquatic plants, let’s learn a bit about them.

Habitat, Growth

The water lily is a floating-leaved aquatic perennial herb that grows rooted in mucky or silty sediments in water 4 to 5 feet deep. It prefers quiet waters like ponds, lake margins and slow streams. When unmanaged, the plant tends to form dense areas covering hundreds of acres.

Each spring, new shoots appear from the rhizomes and grow up through the water until they reach the surface. The flowers appear from June to September. Each blossom opens in the morning and closes in the early afternoon for two to five consecutive days. After the flowers have closed for the final time, the flower stalk corkscrews and draws the developing fruit below the water.

The plant over winters underground as the rhizome. These rhizomes, along with the plant’s seeds, are how it reproduces. A planted rhizome can grow to cover a 15-foot-diameter circle in just five years!

Limiting Those Lilies

You can control water lilies with several different methods.

  • Mechanical Control: First, you can cut/harvest the water lilies or dig up the rhizomes to create open areas of water. If you cut the lilies, you must do so several times a year as these plants thrive in shallow water and grow rapidly. If you dig up the rhizomes, it can be an intrusive and costly though permanent process; they can be difficult to dislodge, but it can be done via rotovation (underwater rototilling) or excavation. Either way, mechanical control is a difficult method because the plant will likely regrow from seeds or remaining rhizomes.
  • Chemical Control: Another more effective method is to use reactive chemical treatment, like Shoreline Defense®, to manage lilies that are actively growing and have reached the surface. When applied directly to the foliage—along with some Treatment Booster™ PLUS to break down the plant’s protective surface—the herbicide’s active ingredient penetrates the lily and makes its way to the rhizome. Once it has turned brown, use a Weed Cutter to remove as much of the decomposing plant as possible to prevent an accumulation of dead material and muck. If you use this method, treat your pond in sections, dosing only half of the lilies at a time; if the weather is hot, decrease that to a third or quarter, waiting 10 to 14 days between treatments.
  • Preventive Control: In addition to mechanical and chemical control, you can also prevent—or at least slow down—the growth of water lilies by treating the pond’s water with Pond Dye. By blocking the sun’s rays early in the season, the lilies will not get the light they need to develop.

Controlling water lilies can be a challenge. But these methods, you can manage them and keep them contained in a particular area, making them a beautiful addition to your landscape.

Pond Talk: How do you control wild water lilies in your farm pond or lake?

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How to Remove Lily Pads

If your pond has been taken over by lily pads, you have a problem on your hand. It can be incredibly hard to get rid of these.

Have you ever wondered why the removal of these beautifully looking lily pads can be so difficult? World over, these are appreciated for their aesthetic beauty, but it can explode in a lake or pond due to its overpopulation. And when this happens, they use up oxygen needed for other pond life.

Technically, it may sound simple to remove lily pads but actual removal of lilies can be very taxing and time-consuming. There are two ways of removing lily pads, it can either be removed physically or chemically. In a pond setting it is good to get rid of them in sections or ensure aeration if treating the entire pond to ensure oxygen levels for fish.

Now let’s understand both the procedures.

Physical Removal

1. Grass Eating Carp – Grass eating carp are one way to keep aquatic vegetation down. It is recommended to maintain two small grass carp per surface acre to ensure the proper maintenance.

2. Raking – The Raking method can be difficult especially if the roots are well established but can be done early in the growth cycle.

3. Cut the lilies – The Weed Razer works great for cutting the lily pads directly at the base. This method is similar to mowing the lawn in that you will need to do it several times per season but you can often save some money over chemical treatment however it will usually take up more of your time.

Chemical Treatment

Proper treatment can surely give you best of results and ensure relatively less growth of lily pads.

1. Early Season Growth – As Aquacide Pellets are a great option early in the growth cycle because the lilies are growing very quickly and will absorb the Aquacide Pellets material relatively quickly and the roots will be dead in three weeks. Reapply in three weeks if you still notice some growth.

2. Mid to Late Season Growth – Apply the Shore Klear and Cygnet liquid concentrates and they too will kill the root system and again, may take a second dose three weeks after the first. Apply these together with water and spray the pads on a calm sunny morning without rain for six hours.

These procedures will help you in a great way while dealing with overgrown lily pads.

Residents plan to remove an acre of lily pads from Horseshoe Pond

  • Hour Photo/ Alex von Kleydorff. Anne Deware stands on the bank of Horseshoe Pond in Wilton

    Hour Photo/ Alex von Kleydorff. Anne Deware stands on the bank of Horseshoe Pond in Wilton

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Hour Photo/ Alex von Kleydorff. Anne Deware stands on the bank of Horseshoe Pond in Wilton

Hour Photo/ Alex von Kleydorff. Anne Deware stands on the bank of Horseshoe Pond in Wilton

Residents plan to remove an acre of lily pads from Horseshoe Pond 1 / 1 Back to Gallery

WILTON — Several volunteers led by Wilton resident Anne Deware will come together on the weekend of July 7 to take on the arduous task of removing lily pads from Horseshoe Pond. The goal of Project Lily Pad is to clear at least an acre of lily pads from the six-acre pond.

Keeping the pond lily pad-free has been one of the town’s goals since Wilton acquired the pond in 1986. Numerous attempts to do so, however, have failed.

“I’ve been upset by the way the pond looked for many years,” said Deware. “I knew the town was trying to do something, but nothing worked.”

One of the earliest unsuccessful attempts to remove the lilies involved a pesticide application around 1991, said Pat Sesto, the town’s director of environmental affairs.

For three consecutive winters, the town drained the pond, hoping to freeze the roots. All three attempts were unsuccessful.

The town also tried hydroraking, a technique used to remove aquatic plants from a body of water.

“It did not work because of tree stumps and debris underneath the water,” said Sesto. “There was too much debris to do an effective job.”

Unhappy with the way the pond looked, Deware decided that she wanted to do something about it.

Last year, she met with Sesto and expressed her interest.

They discovered that another Wiltonian, Jeff Lavaty, who lives near the pond, had success by going in the pond and physically removing the lily pads by hand.

“Jeff’s a one man show,” said Sesto. “He’s proven this actually works.”

“It cleared the pond with very little maintenance,” added Deware. “I met the Lavatys and decided that was the way to go — to do the most simple thing.”

The lily pads do not pose any risks to residents. Removal of the plants is simply for aesthetic reasons. If the pond goes untreated, it will return to its original state as a wooded swamp within 50 to 100 years, according to Sesto.

“Right now, all the lilies are blooming with pretty white flowers on them,” said Deware. “It covers every bit of the pond and doesn’t leave any water exposed at all.

Project Lily Pad, will be the first time an organized group of volunteers will go into the pond and pull the lilies up by their roots.

Deware said they will only focus on the north end of the pond, which is only about an acre.

“It takes quite a bit of long time,” said Deware. “We need about 100 man hours to get this done. It’s not easy work.”

Combined with the portion Lavaty has already cleared, Sesto said one-third of the pond will be clear of lilies after the Project Lily Pad is complete.

“It’s kind of a community affair,” said Deware of the project.

There will be 12 to 15 volunteers in the water. The Wilton YMCA will provide lifeguards, while Outdoor Sports will loan several canoes to the cause. The Village Market will also provide sandwiches for the volunteers.

Many of the volunteers will either buy or rent wet suits.

“This is just a giant weeding project,” said Sesto, comparing the process to pulling weeds from a flower bed.

There are some options for removal that the town has not explored.

According to Sesto, the most effective option for clearing the pond is dredging, a process where the sediments beneath the water’s surface are removed and displaced.

The process comes with a hefty price tag.

The Town of New Canaan paid $1.1 million for dredging in Mead Pond in 2010, according to reports. Sesto said the same construction company gave Wilton an estimate of $2 million to dredge Horseshoe Pond.

Deware said if the pond was at least 10 feet deep, they could place carp fish in the pond to eat the lilies.

“We can’t do this because (Horseshoe Pond) is too shallow,” said Deware. “It’s anywhere from two to five feet. The fish wouldn’t make it through the winter.”

Deware encourage residents to donate supplies, such as small boats, wet suits, shovels and wheelbarrows, to the cause. For people who would like to make cash donations, it should be sent to: Wilton Town Hall, c/o Pat Sesto, 238 Danbury Road, Wilton, CT 06897. All checks should be made out to Town of Wilton with “HPPLP” in the memo.

How To Get Rid Of Lily Pads In A Pond Naturally

by Tory Jon | Last Updated: January 25, 2020

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Water lilies are typically a desired plant in ornamental ponds.

And beyond their visual appeal, they have other benefits such as providing shade for fish and other aquatic wildlife, plus they are a food source for beaver, deer, muskrats, and waterfowl.

However, left unchecked, lily pads can quickly take over a pond causing more harm than good.

When overgrown they can deplete oxygen levels, and their extensive root and rhizomes can make it hard for fish to swim around and other vegetation to thrive.

So, let’s look at some of the easiest ways to remove lily pads from a pond naturally. And if you have a serious infestation, we’ll cover some the best herbicides for water lilies.

Psst! Pin This Page For Future Reference

How To Get Rid of Water Lilies In A Pond Naturally

If your pond is being overtaken by invasive species of lilies or even native species, then it’s time to remove and control them, thus limiting the potential of them choking up your pond again.

There are several different ways to remove lily pads from ponds. The best approach for you will depend on the size of your pond or lake and the size of your infestation.

Let’s start with the cheapest method of removal…

Hand Removal

Just like removing cattails and other pond weeds, you can manually remove lily pads by simply pulling them out with your bare hands.

While this may be an effective method for small ponds with a few lily pads, it can be a daunting task (and perhaps not even possible) if you have a large pond or lake with a large infestation.

Plus, pulling out lilies by hand can leave behind the rhizomes, which means the lilies will most likely sprout back up.

If you decide to go this route, try and pull up the rhizomes, as well. And be aware that you will most likely stir up sediment and debris in your pond causing it to look murky. This sediment will settle down, however, in about a day.

Plus, a little pro tip from a veteran… wear waterproof gloves with a non-slip tread. It will make the job a lot easier!

Lily Pad Removal Tools

Another natural method of lily pad removal is with the use of tools. Tools can make removing a large infestation a lot easier.

There are several different types of lily pad removal tools on the market. The best tool for you will depend on the size of your pond or lake and the size of your lily pad infestation.

Let’s find the best tool for you!

Lily Pad Removal Rake

A pond rake can help you remove lilies in several ways:

  • Raking the surface of the pond, essentially ripping the lilies up and out of the water.
  • Dredging the bottom of your pond, which is great for getting the roots and rhizomes out.

The latter method is preferred, as you’ll get more of the rhizomes up.

Just keep in mind, that again, you’ll be stirring up sediment causing murky pond water. If you have fish, this can be a stressful experience so you may need to remove them during this process

This can be another cheap alternative if you follow our homemade pond rake instructions. Alternatively, you can buy a pre-built pond rake, as well

Lily Pad Cutter

A lily pad cutter is essentially an aquatic weed and grass razer for ponds and lakes.

They are very effective at removing large infestations of lilies and pond weeds. And they are very simple to use; just toss the cutter out into the water, let it sink, and pull it in.


While this product is very effective, it can be dangerous! Handle with care and I’d recommend wearing cut-proof gloves to protect your hands.

The downside of this method is it doesn’t remove the roots or rhizomes. You may want to combine this method with pond dye (see below) which will effectively block sunlight from reaching the roots and stunting their growth.

Aquatic Vegetation Groomer

An aggressive solution for large infestations, an aquatic groomer is basically a gas-powered weed whacker for underwater vegetation.

This weed whacker for water is great for removing lily pads and other vegetation up to 4 feet deep.

Of course, I’d highly recommend you remove any fish from your pond before attempting this type of lily pad removal.

Keep in mind, while the above tools can make the job easier and save you time, none of them are great at getting up the rhizomes, so you’ll most likely have to repeat the process several times a year.

Also, if you’re cutting lilies in a pond or lake, you’ll want to make sure you remove as much of the cut lily pads as possible (instead of leaving them to sink to the bottom of your pond, thus allowing them to regrow, creating pond sludge, and other problems).

Pond Liner

This isn’t an option for everybody, but installing a pond liner, or some sort of substrate (like gravel) on the floor of your pond will help control lily pads and most types of pond weeds.

This is a lot easier to do if you have yet to build your pond. For those with existing ponds or lakes that don’t have a liner or substrate, you can add rock rip-rap 2 to 3 feet above and below the waterline. And/or you can weigh down a large pond liner on the bottom of the pond (and perforate it to allow for gases to escape underneath the liner).

Pond Fish

Certain species of pond fish enjoy eating water lilies, which is why some pond owners try to use them to control lily pads from taking over their pond.

Fish that will eat lily pads include Koi fish, goldfish, and grass carp.

With that said, you can’t control the types of plants that your fish will be eating, so they may eat pond plants that you want in your pond.

And before you try adding grass carp to your pond, check that you can legally do so in your state. Even if you can keep in mind that grass carp can eat 2-3 times their body weight in vegetation per day! So, only add 5 carp per vegetated acre to control lilies and other vegetation.

Pond Cover

Covering the infected area of your pond with a liner or even a window screen will effectively kill water lilies.

Basically, you take your liner or screen and lay it on top of the lilies in your pond (or any floating or submerged plants). This will block essential sunlight from reaching the plants and compress them, as well, killing them off in a matter of weeks.

You can do this one area at a time, simply repeating the process in a new area until the lilies are gone.

Pond Dye

Working on the same principle as a cover, pond dye effectively shades the plants from essential sunlight, killing them off in a matter of weeks. This works best when the dye has been added to your pond in early Spring before plants have started growing or have reached the surface.

Best Herbicide For Water Lilies

If none of the above natural methods have worked, then we can move on to chemical removal methods.


We recommend using herbicides as a last resort. And only use products listed as aquatic herbicides. You may need to check with local and state laws to make sure you can use an aquatic herbicide in your pond.

Here are two of the most popular and effective aquatic herbicides on the market today.

Shoreline Defense

Shoreline Defense by Pond Logic is a broad spectrum weed killer that works great on water lilies, cattails, and other emergent pond weeds.

It’s easy to apply and it kills down to the roots, ensuring that the lilies won’t grow back.

Rodeo Lily Pad Killer

Rodeo Aquatic herbicide is a Glyphosate-based weed killer designed to kill lilies and other pond weeds down to the roots for long-lasting control.

Rodeo herbicide works best on lilies once the plants are mature. And it’s concentrated, so remember to follow the directions and mix it properly according to the label.

Rodeo herbicide is registered in every state except Alaska (at the time of this writing)

Pond Lily Removal FAQ

Are lily pads good for ponds?

Yes, in moderate amounts, lily pads provide shade for your pond fish and other inhabitants, they are a food source for nearby animals including deer, waterfowl and beavers, plus they are aesthetically pleasing.

However, if left unmanaged, they can cause issues for your pond. They can rapidly grow and out-compete other plants, deplete oxygen levels, and as they die off, they can create water-quality issues.

So, as long as your pond isn’t overtaken by lily pads, they are a great addition to any pond!

Does salt kill lily pads?

Yes, salt will kill lily pads.

Unfortunately, it has the potential of damaging and killing the other plants and wildlife in your pond if not dosed correctly.

We don’t typically recommend using salt, but if you decide to go this route, be sure to use a high-quality pond salt.

You’ll want to use a saline tester to make sure the salt levels don’t get too high.

And I’d remove any pond fish and/or plants (the ones you want to keep) during this process.

What eats lily pads in a pond?

A lot of different wildlife, including animals that live in and out of your pond, enjoy munching on water lilies!

Fish like koi, goldfish, and grass carp will sometimes eat lilies. Nearby wildlife like beavers, deer, waterfowl, ducks, and more enjoy eating lilies out of ponds. And even aquatic leaf beetles and aphids will eat lilies.

Will Roundup kill lily pads?

Yes, Roundup should kill lily pads. However, be sure to only use a chemical weed killer that is labeled safe for aquatic use. Roundup does now have a product designed for aquatic use called Roundup Custom Herbicide, which has an active ingredient of Glyphosate. It’s labeled as being safe for aquatic organisms according to the EPA.

The Trouble with Lily Pads

December 6, 2017

There are a lot of tough lake weeds. For me, I think lily pads are the worst. Once they get started, good luck trying to get rid of them. Lilies spread by their root system under the soil, so for every one you see on the surface there can be a dozen or more ready to pop up.

As a test last fall, (partly at my wife’s urging, she thinks they’re pretty) I left three lilies grow. This year there were 30 came up in that same spot! That could mean 300 next year. Yikes! Not on my beach.
They’re tenacious plants. To make matters worse, some states list them as a protected, even though lilies (the white ones) are an invasive species from Asia.

Even their scientific name is ugly: Nymphaeaceae. What’s with all those vowels? Nasty plants… Even herbicide applications is hit or miss.

There is hope, however. It will take awhile, but you can get rid of lily pads, at least in front of your own place.

Pictured above is a patch of white lilies that started from just two plants, two years ago. The owners had kept the beach clean, but they moved and this is what happened. Some friends of mine bought the place, giving me the opportunity to dispatch the evil lilies.

The second picture shows the same spot after a LakeMat Pro is placed on them, depriving the plants of sunlight. As you can see, visually, the change is immediate: No more lily pads.

Now, lilies are tough and resilient. I covered a patch for eight weeks will a LakeMat Pro. When I removed the Mat, all the other lake weeds were gone, completely decayed, but the remnants of the lilies were still visible. They were dead, but the plant matter was still there.

So, to get rid of your lily pads, I suggest placing a LakeMat Pro over them in the fall, winter (if you can) or early spring and either leave the Mat there permanently, or leave it there for 10 weeks before moving it.

LakeMat Pros are the most effective, greenest, easiest way to control your lily pads. They’re guaranteed to work every time. But you’ll need to be a little patient.

Mechanical Control

Lily pads, a generic name for water lilies (Nymphaea spp.) float on the surface of a pond. They produce attractive white or yellow flowers throughout the growing season. Lily pads can add aesthetic value to your pond or lake and also provide a haven for many fish and aquatic animals.

Despite their beauty, lily pads can take over a body of water very quickly, making it difficult to navigate boats or utilize for swimming areas. They reproduce through rhizomes in the pond bed and can take over the pond if not contained in underwater pots.

Fragrant water lily (Nymphaea odorata) is a particularly troublesome lily pad species with the ability for a single rhizome to form a 15-foot circle in just five years. Eradication is challenging but can be accomplished using several control methods depending on the volume of vegetation.

Standing in the pond – Manually grasp the lily pad stems as far below water as possible and pull the plants out of the ground, pulling up as much of the rhizomes as possible. I suggest wearing hip waders for this option.

Bow rake option – Drag a bow rake across the bottom of the pond to grab and pull up remaining rhizomes.You must dig in heavily to avoid scratching up surface of bottom and spreading rhizomes.

Weed circle claw option – Step on and turn a twisting weed grabber tool in the soil in the bottom of the pond. This specialized tool features claws arranged in a circle that loosen the rhizomes as you twist and pull them up as you lift it out of the soil. This is a difficult option and should only be used when the Lily Pads re-establish. Gather any lily parts from the top of the pond, using your hands if you are inside the pond, or by dragging the surface with a broom rake or net. The rhizomes should float to the pond surface, but it doesn’t hurt to rake the soil at the bottom of the pond to gather all the rhizomes. Discard the plant parts in a green materials waste bin or in your compost pile.

Cultural Control

Sub-surface weed-guard barrier option – Cover the soil in the bottom of the pond with a benthic barrier fabric, a type of weed barrier that blocks sunlight and prevents rhizome sprouts from growing. This type of barrier only works after you’ve successfully removed the lily pad vegetation after killing the plants. Apply the barrier immediately after removing the vegetation or in early spring before any remaining dormant rhizomes awaken and produce new lily shoots.

Chemical Control

Mix a glyphosate herbicide product labeled for aquatic use with a non-ionic surfactant and water in a garden sprayer or spray bottle, achieving a final dilution of 2 to 3 percent glyphosate. Exact mixing instructions vary with different products, depending on the percentage of glyphosate in a concentrated product. Aquatic glyphosate herbicide concentrated at 54 percent, for example, should be mixed at a rate of approximately 2 2/3 ounces per 1 gallon of water. Another 2 to 3 ounces of non-ionic surfactant helps the herbicide to coat the lily pads instead of rinsing away in the water. If you wish, add 1 ounce of a spray marking dye so you can keep track of which lily pads you have sprayed. AquaVet & Pond2O are national and regional brands that we recommend for high concentration and safety.

  1. Spray the top of each lily pad with the glyphosate herbicide solution until thoroughly coated. Follow all safety instruction on label ie. Wear protective goggles, long sleeves and long pants when applying the herbicide and keep children and pets out of the area while you’re working with the weedkiller. Allow approximately 10 days for the herbicide to transpire through the leaves and down to the rhizomes, killing the lily pads. The lily pads will first turn light green, then yellow and brown as they die.
  2. Drag the dead lily plants out of the pond with a bow rake or garden rake. Discard the plants in a compost pile or green materials waste bin.
  3. Spray a second round of the glyphosate solution to treat any remaining lily pads or any new plants that sprouted after the first application. Wait another 10 days or until the plants die, then remove the dead water lilies.

How to Grow Lily Pads in an Aquarium

water lily image by matko from <a href=’’></a>

Dwarf lilies are the best bet when trying to grow lily pads in an aquarium. The leaves grow no more than 4.7 inches long, so you can fit more than one in each tank. They are reddish-pink in color, adding visual appeal. Lily bulbs are hardy and thrive in a cold water or freshwater tank with goldfish and other similar species. Fish make waste that the lily pad uses as food. They also help eliminate toxins in the water, keeping your tank cleaner.

Regulate the aquarium water so the temperature is between 72 and 82 degrees Fahrenheit. This is ideal for lily pads. They also need a pH of 5.5 to 7.5. Get a pH test kit from an aquarium supply store and test the pH. Make the necessary amendments based on the test results.

Place a dwarf lily bulb in the water. It will sprout with water alone, but you can also bury it under the substrate at the bottom of the tank to hold it in place. Expect it to take one to two weeks for the bulb to sprout.

Remove the sprouting bulb from the aquarium as a way of encouraging growth. Fill a plant pot halfway with soil. Put the bulb in the soil and fill the container the rest of the way up. This will keep it safe from snails or fish that eat plants and help it grow larger.

Set up a fluorescent light on top of the aquarium or on top of the plant pot to provide the bright intense light lily pads need. A full spectrum light is best and will make the lily pads grow faster. If the light is dim, the lilies will grow but won’t develop the shoots that later become lily pads.

Leave the intense light on for 12 hours per day. This will encourage the lily bulbs to form pads. If the lilies are in a plant pot, place them back in the aquarium once they develop into lily pads.

How do I kill lily pads, not wildlife?

Q. We share a pond with neighbors. The lily pads have taken over, and no water is visible.

There are fish, ducks and egrets on/in the pond that we don’t want to die or leave. We don’t want to poison anything; we just want to see water and enjoy the pond again. Is there anything you can recommend that won’t be harmful to anything but the lily pads?

-K.M., Porter

A. Texas Parks and Wildlife Department aquatic vegetation biologist Howard Elder makes these suggestions:

• Rake out what you can. If the pond is too large and too overgrown to remove all the waterlilies, you may need to resort to Aqua Master, a glyphosate herbicide similar to Roundup. It’s EPA-approved. You will need to mix Aqua King Plus or Aqua King Max with the product to help it stick. You can purchase aquatic herbicides through a feed/fertilizer store.

• You will likely need to repeat. This product transfers to the waterlily’s potatolike root, but it’s difficult to get all the roots at once. So what’s not killed with the first treatment will resprout.

• Treat small areas one at a time. Do not treat the entire pond at once because decomposing vegetation uses up oxygen fish need. In a couple of weeks, treat another small area.

• Or hire a pond management company. Go to and check the availability list for companies in our area. Make sure you hire a certified company and get a guarantee.

Water Lily Control: How To Get Rid of Water Lillies

The water lily (also known as the white water lily or the fragrant water lily) is a perennial plant which is known for forming dense colonies wherever they grow. You may be more familiar with the name lily pad, which is the common name used to describe the plant when its floating on water surfaces. This plant prefers to grow in calm waters that are shallow.

Water lilies are very useful in the natural ecosystem as they serve as 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 water lilies die, the organic matter they give off through decomposition also provide food to other aquatic animals. Deer, beaver, muskrat, nutria and other rodents also consume the leaves and rhizomes of white water lily, while the seeds are eaten by ducks.

While they may be beneficial, they can be a problem when they begin to grow in number and overtake a water property. In some cases, water lilies can take over an entire pond’s surface, making it difficult for sunlight to pass through.

If you have water lillies growing on your pond or other water property, our simple DIY treatment guide below can help you to get rid of water lily affordably and quickly by using our professional aquatic herbicides.


Water lily are quite easy to identify as its one of the more common floating plants people recognize. Their leaves emerge on flexible stalks from rhizomes that are on the thicker and larger side. The leaves are more round than the heart-shaped ones you tend to see in drawings or cartoons and are a bright colored green. Water lilies are between 6 to 12 inches in diameter with the slit about 1/3 the length of the leaf.

Leaves typically float on the water’s surface. Flowers arise on separate stalks and have bright white petals with yellow centers. The flowers may float or stick above the water and each opens in the morning and closes in the afternoon. The flowers are very fragrant. White water lily can spread from seeds or the rhizomes.

Using this description and image will help you to identify whether the weed growing in your pond is water lily. If you need help ID’ing the plant, contact us with a close up high-quality photo of the plant and we will respond back with the correct plant ID.


Walk around your lake or pond to observe the water lily and to see just how big of an infestation there is. This is important for the purpose of knowing how much chemical product you need to treat the weed. Survey your lake or pond and determine what the best and safest plan of option there is to take. You wouldn’t want to harm any beneficial desired vegetation, fishes and other aquatic creatures. This would also be a good time to test the pH of the water. What you’re hoping for is a pH level below 8. Water with an 8 or higher pH level hurts the effectiveness of aquatic herbicides.

What to Look For

Water lily is a hard plant to miss. By observing your water body, you will be able to detect it pretty easily with it’s floating wide leaves that are split to the stem at the center and may have white or pink flowers growing on it.


Before handling any chemical herbicides, make sure to first put on the necessary PPE in the form of gloves, glasses and a particle mask for safety. Our top recommended products to treat water lily is Diquat or Fluridone. The active ingredients in these products do a great job in killing water lily and they also can control a large range of other aquatic weeds you may be dealing with.

Step 1 – Apply Herbicide

Using a backpack sprayer or hand-pump sprayer, apply the Diquat or Fluridone to your pond or lake during ideal temperatures and following the instructions carefully on the product label of the herbicide. Timing is important when treating water lily as it is recommended to spray them between late July and first frost, when the plant is actively growing. Use a fan spray nozzle to ensure an even coating on the water surface.

Step 2 – Follow Up Application

Depending on the size of your pond or lake, you may need to conduct treatment in sections, waiting 2 weeks between treatments until you’ve treated the entire body of water. A reapplication may be necessary 21 days after the initial application is complete. Water lily can be a reoccuring issue so monitoring your water is key and repeated application is crucial to successfully getting rid of the plant..


To keep water lily from coming back, we recommend applying Vision Pond Dye. Vision Pond Dye puts a stop to plant development by blocking sunlight into the water and also gives your pond a clean blue color.

Key Takeaways

  • Water lily is a free floating weed which spreads quickly over an entire water body if not treated.
  • Diquat or Fluridone are our top recommendations for treating water lily and successfully removing it from a water property.
  • Applying Vision Pond Dye after treatment as a great preventative measure that prevents water lily regrowth and can restore the look of your pond, giving it a natural blue color.

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