Aquatic Plant Management - Automatic Plant Control Products (Sediment Agitation)

Description of Method

Several automatic plant control products are commercially available that mechanically disturb the lake bottom to remove aquatic plants and prevent their regrowth within a well defined area. They sweep, roll, or drag repetitively over the plants and sediments to keep the area free of aquatic plant growth. These devices must be attached to a dock or post to work properly and each product requires electricity to operate. Depending on the product, up to a 42 foot radius around the dock or post can be controlled. Some products have a reserving capability, whereas others spin around a post.

The Weed Roller uses a low-voltage power unit (attached to the dock) to slowly drive a long roller (metal cylinder or pipe) set on the lake bottom through an adjustable arc of up to 270 degrees. A reversing action built into the drive automatically brings the roller back to complete the cycle. Fin-like projections on the rollers help detach plants from the sediment and remove roots. The Beach Groomer attaches to a lawn pump to propel two seven foot arms engineered with chains that turn to clear the lake bottom of weeds. The LAKEMAID uses light weight rakes and a submerged pump to clear the lake bottom of weeds.

The ease of installation and operation varies depending upon the product. The type of lake bottom also is an important factor in selecting an automatic plant control device. It is best to install and start operating these devices in the spring before plants begin actively growing. If they are operated after plants have grown, the detached plants should be removed from the water with a rake or gathered by hand. Some manufacturers suggest preparing the area before installation by removing weeds and debris from the site and some products don't work very well after the plants have grown.

Once the plants are cleared from the area, these products can be used as little as one day per week or less to keep plants from recolonizing the area. When not in use, the equipment should be stored along side a dock or in a place where people can not accidentally injure themselves. Little maintenance is required, but these units must be removed from the water in winter in areas where lakes are expected to freeze.




Installation of these sediment agitation devices in Washington requires hydraulic approval obtained free from the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife. Check with your city or county to determine whether a shoreline permit is required.


Purchase cost varies between products. The Beach Groomer starts at $999, but you also need to purchase a one-to-two horse power pump (about $300) to operate the unit. LAKEMAID purchase cost starts around $1,200. The other products cost approximately $2,000.


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