How to Clear Beach Weeds


Aquatic weeds are important to the shoreline ecosystem, as they provide food, shelter and breeding grounds for a variety of aquatic life and birds. Unfortunately, a proliferation of weeds can reduce the beauty and health of a beach. Cattails, pondweed, milfoil, elodea and eel-grass are among the weeds that can overtake a shoreline, promote the growth of algae, and cover your sandy beach with mud and plant debris. You can clear beach weeds manually or mechanically, as chemical treatments are either prohibited or potentially dangerous to the environment.

Things You'll Need

  • Gloves
  • Footwear
  • Hedge clippers or garden shears
  • Shovel or garden fork
  • Aquatic rake
  • Plastic tarpaulin
  • Rocks or anchors
  • Mechanical beach groomer
  • Use hedge clippers or garden shears to cut rooted plants such as cattails or eel grass just above the surface of the sand or waterline. Wear gloves and footwear to protect against leaf cuts. Dig out the roots with the garden fork or shovel and remove from the beach. The clippings and roots can be used as compost or mulch.

  • Line the area you want to keep weed-free with a dark plastic tarpaulin. Weigh down with rocks or anchors.The plastic prevents photosynthesis from taking place, and will kill weeds, and algae, and will prevent them from taking over the beach.

  • Rake the weedy area with an aquatic rake to remove weeds above and below the waterline. There are several types of aquatic rakes, all with long teeth and sharp cutting blades that remove both plants and shallow root systems. This also removes floating weeds such as milfoil and elodea. Line the area with a dark tarpaulin to stop regrowth.

  • Purchase a mechanical beach groomer for underwater use. These motorized groomers use weighted rollers used to disturb shallow lake beds. They crush small weeds and prevent algae, mud and seedlings from collecting on the bottom.

Tips & Warnings

  • The darker the plastic, the faster the weeds and roots systems will be destroyed.
  • Some plants such as sea oats, are protected species and can be mistaken for weeds. Check with local authorities before you clear your beach.
  • Mechanical beach groomers can cost thousands of dollars, providing a low return of weeds for a few hours of operation each year.

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