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Plant suggestions for muddy/fluctuating pond
#512854 10/17/19 04:11 PM
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My pond has zero plants. This is most likely for several reasons. First, I don't think any plants have ever been physically planted in the pond. As far as native plants go, several times each Spring and sometimes each Fall and Winter the pond is flooded from the huge watershed up above. So, a large portion of the year the pond is muddy with very little if any light reaching the pond bottom. This hinders the deep water plants. Also, due to the Texas heat the pond level fluctuates quite a bit in between the flood events. So, edge plants can go from being dry to underwater and back to dry rather quickly.

Does this setup for me just not having pond plants? Would only floating type plants survive in this pond? Can you think of any cheap/easy solutions to help with these issues? There is no room/funds for another pond to catch the silt ahead of the existing pond. I would like to spend the time this winter to research and get some ideas on what plants may work so that I can try some out in the Spring.

Last edited by N.TexasHalfAcre; 10/17/19 04:26 PM.

North Texas Half Acre
1/2 acre stocked 3/11/17 - CNBG, RES, LMB, HSB, FHM
Re: Plant suggestions for muddy/fluctuating pond
N.TexasHalfAcre #512856 10/17/19 04:27 PM
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Do you happen to have a large crayfish population?

Re: Plant suggestions for muddy/fluctuating pond
roundy #512857 10/17/19 04:31 PM
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I don't know if I would say a large population. Typical for a Texas pond. There are a few mounds/holes around the pond. I have a crawfish trap. I could put it out this weekend and see how many I catch.


North Texas Half Acre
1/2 acre stocked 3/11/17 - CNBG, RES, LMB, HSB, FHM
Re: Plant suggestions for muddy/fluctuating pond
N.TexasHalfAcre #512865 10/17/19 07:54 PM
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Disclaimer, I have no expertise, just my experience on my 3year old main pond.

I have ordered plants, planted them, had some growth, and them slowly seen them disappear. I though it was deer or raccoons, but game camera didnít show that type of feeding activity as plants continued to vanish. I assume my paper shell crayfish are to blame. I donít have any rock habitats, but I do have quite a bit of brush piles with lot of 3 to 4 inch diameter tree stems with corresponding brushy tops. I also see algae vanish on pond bottom. Iím unsure if this is a factor of new pond or crayfish activity. I donít aerate or feed consistently. Just a cup hand fed once or twice a week. Next spring will be interesting to see how things progress.

Re: Plant suggestions for muddy/fluctuating pond
N.TexasHalfAcre #512879 10/18/19 08:32 AM
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I can attest to muddy waters and overpopulated crawdads. I did not believe that crawdads could stir up so much mud in my pond until I removed 150 (4-5 inch) crawdads form my pond this summer. Within a week after removal, the water in my 1/4 acre pond went from 12" clarity to 24". I used a clover leave trap baited with fish food in a sock. The best results were accomplished by putting the trap on the the bottom in about 1.5' to 2' of water, setting it at dusk and checking in the morning. More popular baits include chicken or dead fish, but fish food or dog/cat food in a sock has always worked well enough for me.

Disclaimer: I do not have the burrowing type of crawdads, mine are the northern Virile. You may have to set the traps more shallow...I don't know. I also have aeration im my pond that helped keep the crawdad stirrings from settling.

Plants that I have that the craws don't seem to kill off are...

Broadleaf Arrowhead,
Thalia Dealbata and,
Pickerel Weed.

I would bet that these plants will have trouble in a pond that the water levels fluctuate very much (more than a foot of depth).

One plant that I have seen on a few occasions that will follow the water level changes well is Smartweed. I have some around my pond that tends to live at the waters edge and can stand being in very shallow water for long periods, but I have also seen a variety of Smartweed that lives in waters up to a foot or so...this is the type you should look for. Some folks don't like it because it can make shore fishing difficult if the shore slope lends to shallow waters out further into the pond, but that is where it would benefit your situation...it might grow out into the water further and when the water drops, it would still be there and continue to grow out into the water as the ones further up the bank dry up, and vice-versa. The type I have around my place is fast growing and very hardy so long as moist soils are available.

The one thing you shouldn't have much of with abundant crawdads is FA. They eat it and keep the waters muddy so light can't get down to the bottom and grow the FA...point is, don't wipe them out, just cut them back a little at a time until you see good progress.


Fish on!,
Noel
Re: Plant suggestions for muddy/fluctuating pond
N.TexasHalfAcre #512880 10/18/19 09:30 AM
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Re: Plant suggestions for muddy/fluctuating pond
N.TexasHalfAcre #512883 10/18/19 10:29 AM
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I don't have a problem with mud, but my water level fluctuates significantly. Like Acousey I recommend the Water Primrose. They climb down the bank as the level lowers and seem to pop up when submerged. They float out from the bank a few feet and drop hanging roots. Fry concentrate here. I bet a bunch of invertebrates do too. Easy to propagate, just rip off a branch, lay it out into the water and put a handful of mud over the stem. Some folks don't like it as it spreads.

I have red swamp crawfish and they cause no trouble at all.

What does wipe out everything that can be reached from shore is the Texas Leafcutter Ant. I don't know if you have them up there but they will wipe out anything you plant overnight. I had Pickerelweed sheared off clean. I assumed it was deer. Nope - ants.

Other easy to find plants that work around here:

Pickerelweed - It will dry out but recover from rhizomes.

Bullrush - happiest when wet but will take dry. Dragonflies love to perch on it. No pests bother it.

Louisiana water Iris. They also dry out but recover. Not sure how far north they'll survive.

Mud plantain - Also go dormant when dry then recover. Good to hold soil and protect from erosion.

Canna Lilies. First year trying them but they seem to take dry to submerged. Super easy to find at any big box store. Bloom all summer. These are a leafcutter ant favorite.


4 acre pond 32 ft deep within East Texas (Livingston) timber ranch. Filled (to the top of an almost finished dam) by Hurricane Harvey 9/17. Stocked with FHM, CNBG, RES 10/17. Added 35lbs RSC 3/18. 400 N LMB fingerlings 6/18
Re: Plant suggestions for muddy/fluctuating pond
N.TexasHalfAcre #512940 10/19/19 10:20 PM
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Thanks for the tips guys. Any other suggestions?


North Texas Half Acre
1/2 acre stocked 3/11/17 - CNBG, RES, LMB, HSB, FHM
Re: Plant suggestions for muddy/fluctuating pond
Vortex 4 #513259 10/25/19 08:34 AM
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Originally Posted By: Vortex 4

Canna Lilies. First year trying them but they seem to take dry to submerged. Super easy to find at any big box store. Bloom all summer. These are a leafcutter ant favorite.



I didn't know that cannas would tolerate wet feet.

Mrs. Augie has a ton of the bright red ones in her various flower beds. I think I'll save back a few roots and stick them in the pond bank next spring.


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