Aquatic 2,4-D Herbicides for Lakes and Ponds

2,4-D is a herbicide that is widely used as a household weed-killer, agricultural herbicide, and aquatic herbicide. It has been in use since 1946, and was registered with the EPA in 1986 and re-reviewed in 2005. The active ingredient is 2,4-dichloro-phenoxyacetic acid. There are two types of 2,4-D used as aquatic herbicides: dimethyl amine salt and butoxyethyl ester. Both liquid and slow-release granular formulations are available.

Aquatic Use and Considerations

2,4-D is a widely-used herbicide that affects plant cell growth and division. It affects primarily broad-leaf plants. When the treatment occurs, the 2,4-D is absorbed into the plant and moved to the roots, stems, and leaves. Plants begin to die in a few days to a week following treatment, but can take several weeks to decompose. Treatments should be made when plants are growing. 

For many years, 2,4-D has been used primarily in small-scale spot treatments. Recently, some studies have found that 2,4-D moves quickly through the water and mixes throughout the waterbody, regardless of where it is applied. Accordingly, 2,4-D has been used for whole-lake treatments. 

2,4-D is effective at treating the invasive Eurasian watermilfoil (Myriophyllum spicatum). Desirable native species that may be affected include native milfoils, coontail (Ceratophyllum demersum), naiads (Najas spp.), elodea (Elodea canadensis) and duckweeds (Lemna spp.). Lilies (Nymphaea spp. and Nuphar spp.) and bladderworts (Utricularia spp.) also can be affected.

Industrial Vegetation Management Knowledge Base 

Biology and Control of Aquatic Plants  
2,4-D Chemical Fact Sheet

Note: Products may not be registered for use in your state or locale. Check to be sure a specific use pattern is approved in your area before use. Check product labeling or your local state agency for more information. Most current product labels are available by visiting the product manufacturers website or at https://www.cdms.net

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