Weeds of MN: The 5 Most Common Lake Weeds in Minnesota

Although a majority of Minnesota lakefront owners struggle with aquatic weeds and their removal, many don’t know what type, or species, of weed they have on their particular shoreline. We are here to help! Check out this informative guide below to learn about Minnesota’s 5 most common lake weed species.

Eurasian Water Milfoil:

One of the most common species of lake weed in Minnesota, many lake goers are familiar with the Eurasian Water Milfoil. Although the species not native to the region, it is extremely prominent. This milfoil is a fast reproducer that lives mainly in lakes, ponds and streams. We also see milfoil in other types of slow moving or stagnant bodies of water. Leafy, submerged, and rooted, milfoil is a green weed with a reddish stem that can grow up to 20ft long! We see milfoil most often in mid June and early July, when our clients tell us that swimmers and boats are becoming tangled in this long and stringy weed. As milfoil has an extensive root system that can survive even the harshest of Minnesota winters to rebloom in the summer, it’s vital to extract the plant from the root to ensure complete removal.

weeds in Minnesota


Also known as ‘Hornwort’, we oftentimes see Coontail weeds along the surface of lakes. A green, rootless plant with a recognizably bushy tip, Coontail is native to Minnesota and usually grows in clumps. Coontail thrives in the summer months, and can best be managed through removal or a blower.

Interested in learning more about coontail? Check out our blog about how to remove coontail from your lakeshore.

Curly Pondweed:

The Curly Pondweed is a rooted, submerged weed not native to Minnesota. Its wavy, thick leaves can grow to be inches long! As an invasive species, curly pondweed can outcompete native aquatic structures, and forms dense mats. Boaters and waveriders alike struggle with curly pondweed, as the species can quickly clog propellers and other equipment. We typically see curly pondweed flourish in the spring, however summer maintenance is oftentimes required to maintain the pristine lakeshore we guarantee for our clients.

Lily Pads:

The lake weeds of Minnesota are abundant and varied, but perhaps one of the most beautiful weeds is the lily pad. These aquatic plants can be found in many lakes and ponds throughout the state during the summer months and can provide shade for critters & keep blooming algae at bay. However, due to their size and coverage area, lily pads may need to be removed for swimming and boating access. 

In order to preserve the delicate balance of these weeds, they are protected by Minnesota’s Department of Natural Resources (DNR). Keep in mind, extraction permits are required for channels larger than 15ft. lake weeds in MN

Remember, weeds of Minnesota like lily pads play an important role in keeping our waters healthy and vibrant. We should strive to keep them intact whenever possible.


Cattails are one of Minnesota’s most important lake weeds, stabilizing and protecting our shorelines from erosion. They are a rooted plant that can grow to be over 10ft high with a fuzzy ‘tail’ on the end. Like lily pads, cattails are also protected by the DNR, but some channels can be cleared with a permit.

As always, the best way to prevent the spread and cross infestation of weed species across multiple lakes is to follow the three D’s: dry, dispose, and drain.MN invasive weeds

Dry: thoroughly dry and clean watercrafts, docks, and other water equipment with hot water to ensure the removal of all aquatic organisms, both visible and invisible.

Dispose: it is against Minnesota law to dispose of unwanted bait (minnows, leeches, worms, etc) anyplace besides a trash can. Do not release these aquatic animals into any body of water or the ground.

Drain: before leaving any water access point, all water related equipment, including bilge and ballast tanks, must be drained. Wait 5 days to ensure that your equipment is fully dried.

At Waterfront Restoration, we take pride in our attention to detail and careful adherence to state and local guidelines regarding native and invasive species. Sanitizing our diving equipment and suits after jobs, we assure no cross contamination between clients. We love our lakes, and are committed to doing our part to reduce the spread of harmful species! Learn more about how to stop the spread of invasive species here.

Regardless of the species of weed in your lakeshore, we want to help. Our by-the-root extraction services provide long lasting, beautiful results in just a few hours! Use your newfound knowledge of Minnesota’s 5 most common weed species to schedule a free, no obligation consultation with us to see what we can do to remove your pesky plants! Contact us at 952-356-0614 or visit us at waterfrontrestoration.com to schedule your consultation today.