Coontail Ceratophyllum demersum

Dense, olive-green mass of stiff, whorled, forked leaves with small 'teeth' on the edges

  • English Name: Coontail
  • Latin Name: Ceratophyllum demersum
  • Propogate: Seeds, vegetative fragmentation
  • Symptoms: Dense, olive-green 'moss' of stiff, whorled, forked leaves with small 'teeth' on the edges
  • Dangers: Creation of scummy appearance, limiting fishing access and stunting fish

Uses and Danger of Coontail

Coontail weeds "scummy" look is partly a consequence of Coontail's tendency to form large colonies. That is in turn a consequence of the weed's reproduction success. It is a perennial plant that grows through all seasons and reproduces both from seeds and vegetatively from fragments. Despite their scummy appearance, Coontails leaves and seeds make good food for some water birds and insects. The problem is that the weed grows too fast for natural control by birds and insects. In no time, it turns the water into a scummy broth of greening mess that interferes with fish habitat and limits fishing access and recreation.

How to Control Coontail Weeds

The usual way of getting rid of Coontail weed is to physically remove them from water using rakes or other implement. But the physical approach of clearing away Coontail weeds has limitations. It never eradicates the weed totally because every remaining fragment grows into a new plant. A better alternative is the use of herbicides. There are various types of herbicides in the market that can do the job. The limitations here is that the chemicals are usually short-lived and environmentally risky in certain water bodies. The biological option of using Grass Carps is also quite effective, but only in waters where there are no other types of weeds. Grass Carp will eat Coontail but only if there are no other more palatable weeds to choose from. Bottom Screening like the Lake Bottom Blanket is very effective on all subsurface weeds and has already been used in over 400 lakes in over 29 states has been approved for use by the DNR's and DEP's of California, Nevada, New York, Connecticut, Massachusetts and Washington. It kills 100% of the weeds in about three weeks, the only weed control product so far with such a kill rate. Is there something about water weeds that you would like to know? Please feel free to get in touch with us any time. Contact us

Coontail Quick Facts