Aquatic herbicides are chemicals specifically formulated for use in water to kill or control aquatic plants. Herbicides approved for aquatic use by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) have been reviewed and are considered compatible with the aquatic environment when used according to label directions.
Aquatic herbicides are sprayed directly onto floating or emergent aquatic plants or are applied to the water in either a liquid or pellet form. Systemic herbicides are capable of killing the entire plant. Contact herbicides cause the parts of the plant in contact with the herbicide to die back, leaving the roots alive and able to regrow. Non-selective, broad spectrum herbicides will generally affect all plants that they come in contact with. Selective herbicides will affect only some plants (often dicots - broad leafed plants like Eurasian watermilfoil (Myriophyllum spicatum) will be affected by selective herbicides whereas monocots like Brazilian elodea (Egeria densa) may not be affected). Most aquatic plants are monocots.