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Tuesday - June 10, 2008

From: White Lake , MI
Region: Midwest
Topic: Water Gardens
Title: Native plants for retention pond in Michigan
Answered by: Nan Hampton and Chris Caran

QUESTION:

What native plants would you recommend a for a southeast Michigan retention pond perimeter? Also are there native water plants that help algae control? The pond is about 75x30 feet and ranging from 2 ft. to 6 inches at max. depth depending on the time of season. This is for an Eagle Scout project to create a natural self-maintaining ecosystem that is attractive. Thank you.

ANSWER:

First of all, let's address your algae problem. Algae grows prolifically when it has an abundance of nutrients in the water to feed it; so, the way to reduce the algal growth is to reduce the nutrient supply. Is the surrounding area being fertilized heavily? If so, is there any chance of reducing this? Are there fish (koi, goldfish) that are being fed in the pond? If so, perhaps the amount of food could be reduced. One of the best ways to attack the problem is to introduce flowering plants that will compete with the algae for nutrients. Reducing the available light for the algae with floating plants will also help with the competition.

That said, here are some suggestions for plants that are native to Michigan that would be attractive for your project and all of which will grow in full sun. After the edge plants are established it is possible you could add some part shade or shade plants to the edges. You can find more plants for your project by doing a Combination Search in our Native Plant Database by selecting Michigan from "All states and provinces" and then Wet from "Soil moisture". You can find nurseries that specialize in native plant in your area by searching in our National Suppliers Directory. For instance, Rolling Acres Native Landscape Nursery in Reedsville, Wisconsin has many of the plants listed below grown from nursery stock, not taken from the wild and they will ship their plants.

Floating, submerged and emergent aquatic plants (some of these will also grow at edges in mud):

Vallisneria americana (American eelgrass)

Utricularia gibba (humped bladderwort)

Sagittaria latifolia (broadleaf arrowhead)

Potamogeton nodosus (longleaf pondweed)

Pontederia cordata (pickerelweed)

Peltandra virginica (green arrow arum)

Nymphaea odorata (American white waterlily)

Nuphar lutea ssp. advena (yellow pond-lily)

Nelumbo lutea (American lotus)

Justicia americana (American water-willow)

Hydrocotyle umbellata (manyflower marshpennywort)

Eriocaulon aquaticum (sevenangle pipewort)

Calla palustris (water arum)

Alisma subcordatum (American water plantain)

Acorus calamus (calamus)

Edge plants:

Menyanthes trifoliata (buckbean)

Lythrum alatum (winged lythrum)

Lobelia siphilitica (great blue lobelia)

Lobelia cardinalis (cardinalflower)

Iris virginica (Virginia iris)

Iris versicolor (harlequin blueflag)

Equisetum hyemale (scouringrush horsetail)

Equisetum arvense (field horsetail)

Carex stipata (owlfruit sedge)

Calamagrostis canadensis (bluejoint)

Small shrubs for edges:

Myrica gale (sweetgale)

Lindera benzoin (northern spicebush)

Ledum groenlandicum (bog Labrador tea) evergreen, requires acidic soil (pH <6.8)

Kalmia polifolia (bog laurel) evergreen, requires acidic soil (pH <6.8)

Hibiscus moscheutos (crimsoneyed rosemallow)

 

 

 

 

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