They have a very high water content. Thus, you might consider composting them instead layered with an absorbant material, such as sawdust or dry leaves. Years ago I helped clear a short canal of water hyacinths by hand (well, with a pitchfork). Watch out for the mocs & gators.
For the most part this is very dry reading but should answer your question.
From Perdue University:
Dried and cleansed plants, can be used as fertilizer, poultry feed, additives to cattle-feed, and plant mulch.
Wilted water hyacinth, mixed with earth, cow dung, and woodashes in the Chinese compost fashion, can yield compost in two months.
The plant has been used for cigar wrappers and, as a mushroom growing medium (Holm et al., 1977) but seems unsatisfactory for paper and pulp. Said to be used as a carotene-rich table vegetable in Formosa. Javanese sometimes cook and eat the green parts and inflorescence. http://tinyurl.com/yveb9
Maybe the state of Florida should have learned to use this stuff as food or mulch instead of loading up the waterways with herbicides. Sounds like you're sitting on a mulch, compost and fertilizer goldmine, not to mention the veggie part of it.
OK, so I am setting on 6 acres of 15 day renewal time organic mulch with high for organic material, amounts of many different elements that actually helps clean the water. Plus there are 108 adult head of cattle to supply their materials, these cows are grass fed only, again organic. Can you say 'cottage industries'? Going to look into this a bit further.
Going to Canada Blooms this weekend coming and there will be reps there from all the southern Ontario Water Garden Suppliers. I'll see what I can find out. Don't forget, though, that there's always all the wonderful border issues.... The stuff I had to go through the last time I went to the states to visit my sister and I marked on my customs form that I had chickens at home..! But I'll check it out for ya. B.
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