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Plant Answer Line Question

Keywords: Nymphaea, Ponds and water gardening, Aquatic plants

I am looking for information about planting floating emergent plants (e.g., water shield, yellow pond lily) in natural ponds. If planting young plant material in the soil, what is the recommended water depth? Is it okay to submerge the entire shoot? If yes, what is a safe depth from top of shoot to water surface?


There are several different types of plants that are grown in ponds. A great resource on planting floating plants is The Water Gardener's Bible: A step-by-step guide to building, planting, stocking, and maintaining a backyard water garden by Ben Helm and Kelly Billing (Rodale Inc., 2008). In the book they explain that floating plants will either float on the pond surface or be slightly submerged. The most popular floating plants are Frog's bit (Hydrocharis morsus-ranae), Water hyacinth (Eichornia crassipes), Water chestnut (Trapa natans), and Water soldier (Pistia stratiotes). They also explain submerged plants that will inhabit a pond at all levels, from those whose roots sit on the bottom to those that emerge from the pond, getting only their feet wet. For planting a water lily, place on a stack of bricks in the position where the lily will be sited, so that the top of the planted basket is no more than 1 inch (3 cm) below the surface. As the leaves start to extend, remove the bricks until the basket is on the pond bottom.

Another great book is Plants for Water Gardens: The Complete Guide to Aquatic Plants by Helen Nash and Steve Stroupe (Sterling, 1998). The book contains a huge list of a variety of lily plants and specifications for planting and survival.

Texas A & M Extension has a website on water gardening with useful information on planting aquatic plants. You may want to check your local list of invasive species before planting.

Date 2018-08-15
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Plant Answer Line Question

Keywords: mosquitoes, Ponds and water gardening, Frogs

I've been noticing creatures in my garden pond that I'm hoping are not mosquito larvae. How can I tell the difference between mosquitoes and tadpoles? I wouldn't mind having frogs, but I don't want to breed mosquitoes!


The following may help you tell the difference between mosquito larvae and tadpoles.
Mosquito (note their hairy appearance):
New South Wales Mosquito Monitoring image 1
image 2
Tadpole (note their smooth sides):
University of Richmond biology professor W. John Hayden's photos

If you are concerned about mosquitoes in your pond, there are a number of preventive steps you can take. Mosquitoes are less likely to thrive in moving water, so you may want to install a submersible pump. Washington State University Extension provides information for homeowners on West Nile virus prevention and mosquito control. Here is an excerpt:
"Manage weeds; keep vegetation short around water. Adult mosquitoes are attracted to dense, tall vegetation around water.
Remove unnecessary floating structures or debris from ponds. Mosquitoes are often found around floating debris.
Keep drains, ditches and culverts clean to allow proper drainage.
Consider stocking ornamental or permanent, self-contained ponds with insect-eating fish, such as goldfish.
Shape pond edges to a shelf or steep slope. Mosquitoes prefer shallow pond edges."

Date 2017-08-24
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Garden Tip

Keywords: Wetlands, Backyard gardens, Attracting wildlife, Ponds and water gardening

Urban gardeners can do their part to conserve natural resources and restore the environment. The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Natural Resource Conservation Service has adapted agricultural practices in a new online publication called Backyard Conservation. Ten "chapters" with detailed instructions show how to build a backyard pond or wetland, how to promote wildlife and how to manage nutrients to prevent pollution of lakes and streams.

Date: 2007-04-03
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