something to replace water hyacinths?

Discussion in 'Aquatic Plants' started by Spartamets, Sep 18, 2017.

  1. Spartamets

    Spartamets

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    I have two rings floating in my pond with water hyacinths in them. They mound too much, not to mention spreading way beyond the confines of the ring. I would like to replace the water hyacinths with something else in at least IMG_0840.JPG IMG_1039.JPG IMG_1035.JPG one of the rings next year. The mounding blocks the view of everything in the back half of the pond. I would like all the other benefits of them in the new plants--the "cleaning" they do of the pond water, the shade, etc. I have attached a few photos to show what I've got. The first is what I put in the spring, and it indicates the constraints I had hoped to put on the hyacinths (knowing full well their propensity to spread); the others show how I got it wrong. Note I've thinned them out almost weekly for the last several weeks, and in some cases filled entire lawn and leaf bags with what I've taken out. I'd like at least one of the rings to actually contain what I put in it. Probably both. Any suggestions? Thanks!
     
    Spartamets, Sep 18, 2017
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  2. Spartamets

    Mmathis TurtleMommy

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    Wow, I wish I could get my WH to grow like that, LOL! My only suggestion was going to be frequent thinning, but you said you already do that. They are a great addition to the compost pile, and as you mentioned, are great filterers.
     
    Mmathis, Sep 18, 2017
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    Lisak1

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    WOW! They really are happy in your pond! There aren't many floater options - water lettuce being the only one that I know of that is still available. Both may soon be banned for sale nationwide - they already are in many states. Other than thinning like crazy, there's not much else you can do to control that growth. Think of it this way - there's something in your pond that they are consuming or they wouldn't look that lush.

    Do the planters have bottoms? Or are they just rings?
     
    Lisak1, Sep 19, 2017
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  4. Spartamets

    Spartamets

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    The planters have mesh bottoms, but the roots go through them like there is no bottom. The bacopa at the point where the stream enters the pond is also going crazy, and I also have ridiculous hyacinths at the top of the stream and in the waterfall basin, too. I attached another picture here of the stream. You can't see the waterfall basin; it's in the shade. At the top of the waterfall is a really nice mound of water forget-me-nots. I like them a lot. I only added them in July, and they also took off. IMG_1034.JPG

    I like/depend on the cleaning job the WH do, but I wish they wouldn't mound quite so high. It would be nice if they flowered, too. It's funny that I'd like to "fix" something that others would like to have. Does water lettuce mound up in the same way? If not, I'll experiment with putting them in one ring. The WH took some time to get going, and as late as early June almost seemed to be dying. But then, well they keep me busy for sure.

    Based on how much my plants are growing, they are clearly keeping the water clean--leading to pretty significant fish reproduction (from 14 to something like 40 or 50)--which makes me worry about what I would do if they stopped growing so much. Maybe I should be careful what I wish for.
     
    Spartamets, Sep 19, 2017
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  5. Spartamets

    brokensword Not all those who wander are lost

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    Spartamets;

    I grow Water Lettuce and find it doesn't like full sun, tending to yellow. If given some shade, they can filter almost as well as the WH. Like you, I found WH tends to be obnoxious if left unattended. I went from IN the pond to a separate large pot OUT of the pond, just to see if I could coax more blooms. Which I did as I could monitor the level of fertilizer much better. That said, there aren't a lot of floaters that will do the same as WH. You could try parrot's feather but they tend to roam across the top of the pond and go where will. My fish have come to like the taste and I had to restrict where my parrot's feather now resides, IF I wanted any to survive. The WH and WL do a good filtering job primarily because of their profuse and long roots. Others don't get similar. I'm assuming you have Koi? They would probably eat some of your extras if you didn't protect them but then you might not have any at all. Still, if you make the ring smaller and let the Hyacinths go past, they may not mound and you'll get shorter plants. Just an idea.

    But just for ideas; sensitive plant, pennywort, parrot's feather (these last three will spread if not contained and do better in a pot, so you'd have to rig up a floating 'pot'), water clover, dwarf horsetail (both should have a substrate but you can rig up another floating 'island' to help them out. If it were me, I'd just plant any of the mentioned along your pond edge, protect the base/roots, and let them head out into your pond, letting your fish have the bulk of new growth while the plants filter as they can. I guess I'm saying maybe it's better to put the larger height along a backdrop edge so they don't obscure your view but still have some access for filtering. Since I have a bog, it's not necessary I have floaters as my bog plants do a lot of filtering.

    Just some thoughts/ideas.

    Michael
     
    brokensword, Sep 19, 2017
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  6. Spartamets

    IPA

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    @Spartamets , Awesome looking water- scaping. Hope you don't mind, I circled some plants from your picture. Can you tell me what they are please, they are very nice. Thanks.
    IMG_1034_MU.jpg
     
    IPA, Sep 19, 2017
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  7. Spartamets

    Spartamets

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    Thanks @IPA. The red is lemon bacopa, which I've also cut back recently. It had all but overwhelmed the waterfall beforehand; it has nice little purple flowers that came out late in the summer. The yellow is the water forget-me-nots; they might be my favorite--loads of blue flowers the whole time they've been in the water, and the plant just keeps on spreading, but not in a problematic way. The blue and purple are not in the water but in the little micro-canyon I built for the stream. The blue is a kind of lavender that grew much larger and more aggressively than I intended. It was just a little tuft when I put in last October. The purple is creeping speedwell. It had nice blue flowers in the spring and early summer and has crept to overhang rocks, which is a nice bonus.
     
    Spartamets, Sep 19, 2017
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  8. Spartamets

    Spartamets

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    The back end of the pond is actually covered in parrot's feather, too, but you can't see it because the WH blocks the view. The plants are obviously doing a ton of filtration that are keeping the pond healthy, so I am definitely reluctant to tamper too much, but this was the first year I've had the pond for a growing season, and I know I want to make some changes. I have found the koi eat the lilies rather than the WH, and although all the fish seem to like eating the roots, none eat the rest of it (which WAY overleaps the boundaries of the rings I put in).

    Maybe I'll rely a little more on the Parrot feather next year in the pond--two little clumps stuck in the rocks on the back edge expanded mightily this year--put hyacinths in the top of the stream, and play around with what goes in those floating rings. I clearly need all the filtration I'm getting, and I like the shade, too, so probably one ring will stay WH, and I'll just have to get used to thinning it out all the time.
     
    Spartamets, Sep 19, 2017
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  9. Spartamets

    IPA

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    Thanks @Spartamets . WH has it's place but I am not a big fan. I did get some nice purple flowers from it before and I think the hanging roots give fish a great place to deposit eggs and a place for young fry to hide out so removing it may lead to less mature fry. My problem was always in a very small pond the roots clog the filter quickly.
     
    IPA, Sep 19, 2017
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  10. Spartamets

    Spartamets

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    Thank you for the insight about the roots contributing to fry. I feel like it's a catch-22. I put in all these plants to provide natural filtration, but it seems that in doing so, I've created the conditions that encourage more fish, hence increased need for filtration. It's like an escalating spiral. The only bright spot is that a bullfrog has moved in, and I think it will prove to be a net reducer of the small fish population. I think I will make the entire stream one giant filter next year, to reduce the need for WH in the pond itself. The WH in the top of the stream are going just as crazy as the ones in the pond, after all, but they're not blocking my view of anything or giving fry a place to be born and hide. I'll otherwise just put WH in one of the rings and experiment from the options listed by @brokensword in the other ring. I do want the shade and other benefits WH provides just not quite so much as the WH are giving now.
     
    Spartamets, Sep 20, 2017
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  11. Spartamets

    Lisak1

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    I was going to suggest you could add some aquatic planting media to the ring and plant it like an island. Or find a pot that will fit down in the ring and plant that. But honestly, anything you plant in it will grow to the height that is annoying you with the water hyacinths and block your view. Perhaps a floating ring isn't the answer for your pond.
     
    Lisak1, Sep 21, 2017
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  12. Spartamets

    Spartamets

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    I fear you might be right. This year has been very useful for seeing things I like and noting other things I want to change. The plants--WH especially--are the most vexing, because I want them to be my primary filters, and they are doing a very good job with that. I think I'll have one ring of WH next year and just try to find a place to either float or contain it where I can let it go a little more without concern. It's not just the height/view blocking of the back of the pond that's been a problem with them, though that's what I highlighted. They also spill out very far, cover the lilies, and basically act like weeds. Tomorrow I have to go in again and remove another big batch, less a week after the last round.

    I like all the good ideas and insights I learn here. I get the sense that it won't be until after next year's adjustments that I'll know with some clarity how I want things to be. This first year has not gone how I expected, and I mean that in a positive way. The pond seems much more "mature," if that's the right word, than I thought it would be so soon after completing it. Of course, I'm adding another smallish waterfall next year, so my whole sense of everything might be really thrown off then. The pond/stream/waterfall has developed into more of a water garden than I understood. I had originally been thinking in terms of pure function with everything I've done, but the garden-y aspect of it all has gradually become dominant in my thinking. This is fun stuff.
     
    Spartamets, Sep 21, 2017
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