Q. We have pseudo-papyrus around our lake and it is cut down every year. This supposedly keeps it from spreading. Is this cutting necessary? What other shoreline type plants are good?
A. The pseudo-papyrus, also known as umbrella flatsedge, is an aggressive spreader. The spring cutback also eliminates old foliage. Good shore/pond type plants include iris, pickerel weed, duck potato and lizard's tail among others. Fakahatchee grass clumps also make good edge-of-water plantings.
Q. What floating plants can I use in my fishpond?
A. You could use a number of floating plants in your pond, particularly if it is in a sunny location. Miniature water lilies, such as `Margaret Mary', a tropical blue, and `Dorothy Lamour', a hardy yellow, are excellent for small ponds. Other attractive floating water plants include the yellow blooming water poppy, water lettuce, and water snowflake. Try a few upright flowers at the pond edge such as dwarf papyrus or flatsedge. Look at the Supplier's list for some suggested sources for pond plants. A good book is Goldfish Pools, Water Lilies and Tropical Fishes by Dr. G.L. Thomas Jr., available from Lilly Pons Water Gardens.
Q. We live in a community on a lake that is used for irrigation. When the water level drops, we see ugly pipes and an eroding shoreline. What can we do to hold the bank and cover the pipes? Boulders and retainer walls are too expensive.
A. Some attractive native plants are suitable for the edge of the lake or in shallow water. They could help preserve the bank and hide some of the pipes. If a herbicide was used to keep the lake free of aquatic weeds and algae, the herbicide could also kill the plants at the water's edge. I suggest pickerel weed, arrowhead, or spike rush. Spike rush grows densely and can stabilize eroded banks. Aquatic Plant Management in Plantation sells and installs them. Jurassic Wetlands in Okeechobee collects native plants from permitted lands and installs them.
Web sites to visit: The University of Florida: Center for Aquatic and
Invasive plants http://aquat1.ifas.ufl.edu