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A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

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Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

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Please forgive us, but Mr. Smarty Plants has been overwhelmed by a flood of mail and must take a break for awhile to catch up. We hope to be accepting new questions again soon. Thank you!

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Monday - July 08, 2013

From: coopersburg, PA
Region: Mid-Atlantic
Topic: Herbs/Forbs
Title: Ducks and geese resistant plants for a pond in PA.
Answered by: Jimmy Mills

QUESTION:

We have a pond in all shade and we have ducks and geese. We would like to plant something in the space between the walkway and the pond to add color, but they have eaten everything we've tried- ferns, daylillies, hosta, pachysandra, impatience and dianthus. We want to still be able to see the pond while sitting on the patio, so it can't be too high- maybe a foot. Suggestions are greatly appreciated.

ANSWER:

First of all, lets look at some plants that might fill the bill from our Native Plant Database . Scroll down to the Combination Search Box and make the following selections: select Pennsylvania under state, herbs under Habit, and Perennial under Duration. Check Shade under Light requirement, and Moist under Soil Moisture. Click on the Submit combination Search button, and you will get a list of 45 native plants meeting these criteria that grow in Pennsylvania.  Clicking on the scientific name of each plant will bring up its NPIN page which contains a description of the plant, growth requirements and and characteristics as well as images.

 Mr. Smarty Plants is wondering about the size of the pond, and whether these are domesticated waterfowl (ie.pets) or free-loading transients?  As you’ve discovered. ducks and geese are herbivores (they eat plants), and may well eat any thing you plant. This article “What do Ducks Eat?” gives us some insight into their dinning habits.

Is removal an option? This article from Penn State University Extension  tells about strategies for controlling nuisance water fowl.

 

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