Invasive plant causing problems in Henry County

by: Carl Willis Updated:

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HENRY COUNTY, Ga. - A fast-spreading, floating pond plant is causing headaches for homeowners in Henry County.

Jean Veasey said a foreign plant called parrotfeather is growing out of control and choking the life out of her private pond.

However, she told Channel 2's Carl Willis the issue goes well beyond her property.

"It can go down the streams and infest other lakes too, that's why it needs to be stopped.," she said. "I don't guess there's a whole lot of it in Georgia, but there will be."

Experts with the Department of Natural Resources said the species, which originates in South America, is one of a number of nuisance plants invading the state.

"They're introduced where they're not supposed to be and they do compete with our native species," said Ted Will with DNR's Wildlife Resources, Fisheries Management.

Veasey said someone intentionally planted parrotfeather for use in a koi pond. People also use it in their aquariums.

At first, she admired the plant. Soon after, it began creating a dense mat of intertwined roots on the surface of the water.

The root system can clog waterways, block boat traffic, keep native plants from growing, and become a breeding ground for mosquitoes.

"It's a monster," Veasey said. "It will take over everything."

The parrotfeather is considered a noxious weed in some states and even banned from being sold.

"Georgia does participate in aquatic nuisance species," Will said. "We do have a plan put together, we do have resources out there that talk about it."

Still, there are currently no state laws prohibiting the introduction of non-native invasive plants.

It is listed as an invasive species in Georgia but that's where the law ends.

Veasey believes that should change.

"It affects us all," she said. "It affects everybody."

Veasey said the neighbor who planted the parrotfeather is taking steps to eliminate it, including spraying herbicide.



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