Asked October 10, 2015, 1:16 AM EDT

Is Hydrilla as found in our Texas lakes a high nitrogen plant like say, Azolla? If it could be used as a compost ingredient or even mulch in organic home gardens and hobby farms it could be a way to use it. Thus making a market for it or even allowing responsible gardeners to harvest it could drastically reduce it's population and provide much needed help for this blackland soil we have in Ellis county.

Ellis County Texas

3 Responses

Could not find specific N levels or lab analysis of Hydrilla, but with its rapid growth and expansion potential, it will be a high nitrogen user when available. Any thing can be composted and used to help these and other soils, however I caution you on a few of hydrilla's characteristics that could prove to be more problematic than the plant itself. It reproduces by fragmentation, rhizones and seed, thus during harvest you may propagate more than you remove? It is an invasive plant that is illegal to transport. It has been proven to be a bioremediation hyperaccumulator of mercury, cadmium chromium and lead. My question and thought is, Do you really have Hydrilla? as it resembles a few other aquatic plants like Elodea and Egeria. Hydrilla has mid rib teeth that causes the plant to feel rough when drawn through your hand, also you may want to go to Texas A&M AgriLife Aquaplant website for more info and identification pictures and explanations. Long story short, it and any aquatic plant would make good compost, just know what you are dealing with.

Thank you for the help! I wasn' t aware of Hydrilla's heavy metal uptake. This would not be good for much of anything.
Thanks again,
Ray Page

Most ponds would not or should not have many if any heavy metals, but many larger lakes may?? Sure don't won't to deter you, just wanted you to be aware of fragmentation and other features.