Aquatic Planting PDF Print E-mail

Aquatic Planting at the Binbrook Conservation Area


An aquatics planting program has been an important project of the Glanbrook Conservation Committee. Native aquatics plants provide a food source for many wetland inhabitants. They also absorb excess nutrients from the water, dramatically improving water quality. Starting from collected seed to the final planting and monitoring, committee volunteers have planted over 18,000 pots of aquatic plants since 1995 along the shores of Lake Niapenco. A number of fenced demonstration plots have also been developed at various locations around the lake.

The image below shows an example of a successful sago pond weed planting site.

Aquatic Planting Photo

Typical Planting Guidelines for Soft/Hard stem Bulrush and Burreed

  1. Seeds should be planted in early to mid March in a greenhouse

  2. Plant in plastic flats that have been filled with suitable potting soil (typically 1 x 1 cubes). Three to five seeds should be pressed into each cube.

  3. Place flats into suitable trays that can be flooded. For small operations plastic trays or basins could be used; for larger plantings, large galvanized sheet metal trays could be used.

  4. Fill trays with water up to the top of the soil. Make sure the plants never dry out.

  5. If the weather is cool, some sort of auxiliary heating may be required to accelerate growth. Keep trays in full sun during daylight hours.

  6. By early June, seedlings should be about 1" to 4" high and are ready to transplant outdoors.

  7. Fill 4" pots with suitable potting soil.

  8. Transfer three to five seedlings into each pot.

  9. Place pots in a prepared outdoor water retention area, then flood with water up to the brim of the pots. Monitor and maintain this water level. For small plantings, a deep tray or basin could be used. For larger operations, a 4 ft. x 8 ft. 2 x 6 pressure treated wood frame, lined with 6 mil or heavier plastic can be used to form a water trough.

  10. To accelerate growth, add a water-soluble fertilizer. As with most plants, heat and sun will determine growth. To improve chances of survival, it is far better to wait and plant later in the year when the plants are tall and healthy.

  11. Usually by mid July, some plants will be ready to transplant in the field.

  12. Plants should be at least 30cm high, preferably more. To increase chances of survival, plant in water 30cm to 45cm deep. Use a garden spade, lift up a flap of soil, remove root ball from pot and place under flap, and then press in place. This is especially important if the water level varies. Use a piece of 2" Styrofoam as a floating table for holding potted plants while planting.

  13. When pots are root bound, growth tends to stagnate.

  14. Planting a root ball from a 4" pot greatly increases survival rate. Do not plant seedlings directly into the field that have been only grown in flats with small root balls - the survival rate is just too low.

  15. Most aquatics want full sun. Do not plant in shade near shorelines.

  16. Protect against Canada Geese, especially for the first two years. In a short period of time, they will destroy hours of planting effort. Using stakes about 4 ft. long that have been driven into the mud, attach two levels of binder twine at about 10" and 24" off the water. Surround the entire planting area. The fences should be put up as early in the spring as possible.

  17. Don't plant near areas where muskrats live or burrow. Unless you intend to remove them, they will love the fresh food you have planted.

  18. Plants that are not planted one year will easily survive in the flooded and frozen retention pond, just as long as the water level was maintained at freeze-up.

  19. Experiment with small planting areas first. If those areas are successful, it is more than likely a major planting will survive when planted two or three years later.

Note: The above guidelines have been based on the results of actual field experiences of the Glanbrook Conservation Committee.

 
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