Achieving and maintaining a healthy pond ecosystem is all but impossible without the help of pond plants. Not only will they provide biological filtration that helps remove everything from nitrogen to ammonia, but they also provide an added layer of protection and nourishment for your backyard pond inhabitants.
What Types of Plants can be Found in a Healthy Pond Ecosystem?
- Marginals – Available in hardy and tropical varieties, marginals are commonly located on the banks of a backyard pond and also add valuable filtration.
- Floating plants – These plants are typically used to provide shade while floating on the surface of the water and also help to control algae. This type of plant includes hyacinth, lilies, and so on.
- Submerged plants – Plants that are submerged provide several backyard pond benefits including hiding places for fish and producing oxygen. This type of plant includes anachris, hornwort, and the like.
- Emergent Plants – This type of plant includes cattails and grasses. These plants are rooted plants often along the shoreline that stand above the surface of the water. The stems of emergent plants are somewhat stiff or firm. They add a tall background to the pond landscape.
Maintaining these buffer areas of vegetation in all territories of a pond is extremely valuable. These cushions work to moderate water and channel it. Moderating moving water allows residue to drop out of the water and keeps sediment out. This will help to stop the pond from returning to dry land. One of the most important roles that plants play in a healthy pond ecosystem is oxygenation. The photosynthesis of plants during the day is one of the major ways that oxygen is released into the water.
Although plants do play a pivotal role in a healthy pond ecosystem, it is important to note that too many plants can be detrimental to the ecology of a pond. For instance, too many plants can be an eyesore or choke out other life. The general rule of thumb is that floating plants should cover approximately 50% to 70% of the surface at the peak of the summer. It is recommended to start with 20% to 30% coverage in the spring and let them reach an optimum level during the summer season. These percentages can also be applied to other plant varieties.
It is important to remember that backyard ponds have a life cycle. Introducing the right pond plants to the ecosystem is just one of the elements required for good pond health. Some additional techniques include limiting the use of fertilizers, flushing the nutrients, capturing sediment and limiting animal access.
Maintaining a pond by yourself throughout each season can quickly become overwhelming. For instance, since there are hundreds of different aquatic plants and other products currently on the market it can be difficult to know which products to use, and when. To learn more about aquatic plants and efficient pond maintenance techniques, you should consider consulting a water gardening expert.