BENEFICIAL POND PLANTS
Weeds. Weeds. More weeds. All of a sudden more of some type of weed seems to be spreading all over my new pond! Holy Crap Batman, What to do? Chemical? Biological? Natural? How best to control these nuisance plants?
Before you get into this weed messy situation, more and more new pond owners are exploring planting beneficial plants to compete for growing space and nutrients against the fast spreading weedy pests that eventually will invade your fishing hole. Beneficial plants can also help compete against existing exotic and native fast, spreading, plant species that can take over your pond. Sometimes the invading weeds need to be killed and then in the clean bottom introduce better plant species.
All aquatic plants will grow and spread in a pond or lake. Your new pond is a very fertile empty garden waiting for some any first plant to arrive on the fertile bottom soil seed bed. That is natural.
Plants are valuable to the health of a pond or lake. They provide dissolved oxygen, food for fish and invertebrates, food for numerous wildlife, refuge areas for minnows and small sportfish, nesting and breeding habitat, erosion control, sometimes human food, natural beauty (aesthetics), and absorption of excess nutrients during the growing season. All big benefits when the plants are not out of control.
Do the plants when mature cause a big tangled dense mess or can fish move freely through the plant jungle to feed and hide? Can the plants be controlled manually or spot treated with herbicides. Can certain fish help with reducing the density and not eliminate the plants? The “trick” is to learn what species spread slow or slower, the characteristics of the plant species, and will they provide fish movement through the growth and do not cause a big, tangled, weed, infested nuisance.
The depth of active growth for many species of underwater plants is determined by the amount of light penetration and the light tolerance of each plant species. Sometimes colored dye can be used to limit the depth that most of the plants will grow.
Below are numerous links to discussions about some of the more common beneficial plants for ponds. You will note that certain species of aquatic plants repeatedly show up in numerous discussions.
From PBoss Member CJBS: There are a good number of marginal plants that will not take over your pond under most conditions and many are beneficial to wildlife as well. Species like arrow arum, pickerel weed, arrowhead, golden club, cardinal flower, dwarf cattail and a number of species of sedges are all species that look nice, shouldn't take over the edge of your pond and are fairly hardy to very hardy.
From Cody: Advice so far is sound. Non-rampant types of introduced plants will compete for food and space against the primary aquatic weed early invaders/colonizers which are almost always very fast spreaders also known as rampant types. Proper plants in proper areas provide good habitat and help stabilize the shoreline and sediments. Rampant types grow and spread fast and end up becoming a nuisance quickly and then needing controlled after only a few years.
In some situations a pond owner needs tall plants and brush along the shoreline to discourage trespassers who will come uninvited and fish for your trophy fish.
Here are several links to discussions from the PBoss Forum about beneficial plants. Note some of the links are duplicates and some no longer provide an active source due to an incrorrecct URL.
This is what a fish biologist from Tennessee says about natural plants compared to artificial structure for increasing fish production.""In terms of programs that actually increase fish populations, Wilson believes the planting of select aquatic vegetation in the shallows is far more effective." from Crappie Magnolia. http://magnoliacrappieclub.com/articles.asp?ID=4
Return to the forum to ask your questions after reading through the topics:
Water lilies and Trees http://forums.pondboss.com/ubbthreads.ph...ite_id=1#import
Water Lily Discussion (Q&A Common Pond Questions - Archives) and Linkhttp://forums.pondboss.com/ubbthreads.php?ubb=showflat&Number=329446#Post329446
NOTE: Water lilies growing out from shore into water 2-5ft deep will help reduce medium wave action. Lilies will not grow well when placed in strong wind swept shorelines.
Pictures of Plants from Andrew Davis
Here are several links to other discussions here about beneficial plants. Ask about any questions after reading through the topics:http://forums.pondboss.com/ubbthreads.php?ubb=showflat&Number=245671http://forums.pondboss.com/ubbthreads.php?ubb=showflat&Number=307257http://forums.pondboss.com/ubbthreads.php?ubb=showflat&Number=262569
Some Plants Not to Choosehttp://forums.pondboss.com/ubbthreads.php?ubb=showflat&Number=255939
Longleaf Pondweed and Some discussion of water lilieshttp://forums.pondboss.com/ubbthreads.php?ubb=showflat&Number=410096&page=1
Given some time and absence of predators the natural colonizaion of local invertebrates is abundant and often quite diverse. Supplimental stocking of some of the invertebrates without wings adds to the diversity of the pond ecosystem. Planting beneficial plants improves habitat and helps compete against natural invading nuisance species. Caution should be used so as to not introduce unwanted exotic plants that can "sneak -in" unrecognized with your introduced plants. Washing or rinsing new plantings is a very good idea. I often quarantine new plants in containers until I can monitor their growth and I am fairly sure "piggy back" plants are not present. http://forums.pondboss.com/ubbthreads.php?ubb=showflat&Number=110943#Post110943
Other Topics About Pond Plants
EelGrass There are several types or species of eelgrass. Study the mature height of each species and where it prefers to grow. http://forums.pondboss.com/ubbthreads.php?ubb=showflat&Number=279925http://forums.pondboss.com/ubbthreads.php?ubb=showflat&Number=284055#Post284055http://forums.pondboss.com/ubbthreads.php?ubb=showflat&Number=296691
Protecting Plants from grazers such a waterfowl, turtles and fishhttp://forums.pondboss.com/ubbthreads.php?ubb=showflat&Number=279923