Aquatic Plants Or Aquacktic Plants Are Great for Ducks And Other Wildlife.

Native aquatic plants are not only beautiful with their yellow, blue, or white flowers, but are also important food sources, nesting sites, and hiding places for shore birds.

To create a low maintenance planting along your lake or pond edge you will need to create shade in order to exclude the ever present population of weeds waiting to move in. Start with bald or pond cypress, pond apple, red maple, sweetbay magnolia, popash, slash pine and live or laurel oak. Plant these along the edge of the lake where the water won’t stand for more than three days after a heavy rain. The cypress, popash and pond apple can take long periods with wet feet, but the others will die. Of course, make sure that you frame, and not block the view from living room windows.

Combinations of naturally associated plants will look great and seem to have occurred on their own. I like to combine masses of blue flowered pickerelweed and white flowered crinum lily and duck potato in shallow water. Also, for shallow water try spikerush to fill in large open areas. Soft stem bulrush and thalia can tolerate up to 3 feet of water depth. Prairie iris, with it’s blue-green strap-like leaves and large blue flowers in the spring can be mixed with yellow cannas on the upper edge, above the water line, for a stunning affect. Both of these require regular fertilization.

If you are trying to provide good habitat for large mouth bass and other fish, I would suggest that you sprig the underwater pond edge with the grass-like eelgrass. This will spread under water and provide hiding places for minnows and their young to grow in. Leave some bare areas for the bass to spot and eat these small fish and you will be rewarded with large, fat bass. The leaves of this plant will only grow about a foot long and will absorb many of the nutrients that wash into the pond. They also keep the invasive hydrilla from taking over by competing for nutrients.

Spring is a good time to plant aquatics. Remember to kill all of the weeds, especially torpedo grass, first. This African grass will always grow back from the grass line so you will need to have regular maintenance to keep it from choking out your planting. Make sure that there are no grass carp, or muscovy ducks which will eat your plants as you install them. Turtles can eat your plants too, so you may need to put fencing in the water for a few months until the plants grow thick.

Even though these are called aquatic plants, many cannot tolerate being underwater. When we have a heavy rain, the water level will often rise an additional 18 inches and drown an established planting. I always plant very close to the grass line, even if that means planting in nearly dry soil. You may need to kill some grass in order to provide space for the iris and yellow cannas.

Many of the lake maintenance companies can plant your pond for you and the advantage is that they will be careful not to spray their plants with herbicides. It is illegal to dig aquatic plants in the wilds, so find a reputable landscaper to do the work. You can hunt around and find a local nursery that grows aquatic plants in pots and increases them by division. This is the most ethical way to obtain them.

If you are bored with the ugly dead zone ringing your pond or lake like a dirty bathtub ring, try planting this area with colorful aquatic plants. You will frame your view and receive a better view for yourself if your neighbors do the same. Imagine not having to look out across the lake to your neighbors trash bin or other junk stored in his back yard. It’s also nice to be hidden so that the neighbor’s dog can’t see you and bark continuously whenever you go out.