The water lilies were sparse this year. Herbicide was introduced into the pond, again this spring, to control invasive plants such as water chestnuts, elodea, coontail and pondweed. These non-native fast-growing species had literally taken over in recent years, threatening the diversity of the ecosystem, and posing a renewed risk of eutrophication.

The water lilies themselves had grown a bit out of control, overwhelming our little cove. By delaying their growth, the treatment seems to have limited, but not eliminated these durable favorites. The lily blossoms open in the morning, and close later in the day.

The photo was taken on July 18, 2011, at 9:36 am.

See related post: Water Lily II. Click image to enlarge it, and browser’s back arrow to close.

 

4 Responses to Water Lily*

  1. Jim Fett says:

    Thanks Ron for a clarification of some of the pond issues.

  2. Walter Kittredge says:

    Except for water chestnuts, the plants you list are all native and not considered “invasive” by any government or private agency. (Assuming what you are calling Elodea is Canadian waterweed and not Egeria densa, Brazilian waterweed). These sites are very authoritative: http://www.eddmaps.org/ipane/ipanespecies/current_inv.htm http://www.massnature.com/Plants/Invasives/invasiveplants.htm. What you consider “out-of-control” water lilies is from a recreational use perspective. The water lilies are highly beneficial in cooling the water column, stabilizing the sediments, extracting phosphorus and nitrogen, providing food and shelter for a myriad of aquatic life from snails, dragonflies, water striders, water beetles, fish, turtles, frogs, raccoons, muskrats, swallows, ducks, herons, and osprey just to name a few. Probably more than any other aquatic plant these help create a rich stable ecosystem. I hope you will try to see them as less of a nuisance, and more for their beauty and the critical role they play in the ecology of your pond. Sincerely, Walter Kittredge

    • Ron Cohen says:

      Thanks Walter for the thoughtful comment.

      I wonder if this not largely a matter of semantics. Reflecting on it, I remember the years when the pond became a carpet of green (before the use of herbicide) until Lycott Environmental finally arrived late in the summer and began mechanically “harvesting” the water chestnuts. Lycott has told us that mixed in with the water chestnuts, they found the other species I mention in my post, especially elodea.

      My concern is not recreational, as you impute, at least not in the ordinary sense, but in the health of the ecosystem. Whatever benefit the water lilies may have in that regard, and I have no doubt you are correct about that, like all other plants they die and settle to the bottom of the pond where they decay, setting the stage for eutrophication.

      This is after all a shallow pond, with a slow rate of water replacement (due to silting up of both the inlet and outlet channels), and a long history of eutrophication, or the stages leading up to it, conditions that were remedied by costly dredging. So a balance must be reached: some water lilies, but not too many.

  3. Dick Quinn says:

    The contrast between the textured light of the muted reflections and the lily’s sharp but delicate reflection makes this a stunning photo.

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