Press relaease NIOO-KNAW

Nuisance growth of aquatic plants: to mow or not to mow?

21 December 2017

Massive growth of submerged aquatic plants can be a nuisance, especially in summer. It's up to water managers to limit the inconvenience for swimmers, boats and fishermen in a way that is both responsible and cost-effective. Michiel Verhofstad defended his PhD thesis on the 'root' causes of the problem, and how best to tackle it.

Mowing as a way of trimming not just grass but aquatic plants is getting to be more and more common. In some situations, submerged aquatic plants can become rampant. That's not just true for invasive species such as western waterweed in the Netherlands, but also for indigenous ones, including Eurasian watermilfoil and perfoliate pondweed.

'If the stems become too long in shallow water, and the plants begin to crowd the surface, that can be a major nuisance', says ecologist Michiel Verhofstad (NIOO-KNAW). 'Of course it all depends on what you're planning to do on that spot.'

Nuisance growth of aquatic plants has become a problem in more and more areas - from Europe and North-America to Africa and Australia - but until now, very little scientific research had been done into the issue.

Read more on the Netherlands Institute of Ecology website.

Netherlands Institute of Ecology

The Netherlands Institute of Ecology (NIOO) is one of the largest research institutes of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences (KNAW), with more than 200 employees and students. It is specialised in fundamental and strategic ecological research. Since early 2011 the NIOO is based in a sustainably built research laboratory in Wageningen, the Netherlands.