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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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Tuesday - July 21, 2009

From: Grand Haven, MI
Region: Midwest
Topic: Water Gardens
Title: Plants for retention ponds in Grand Haven, MI
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I am president of a condo association. We have three retention ponds on the property. From two of them we pump water for irrigation so the water level goes up and down. We are going to try to stabilize the shore to stop the erosion, but I am trying to find out about plants that can live with wet and dry feet. Non-invasive, and preferably something that will grow tall enough to break up the sightline from the water to the shore, to help keep the geese off the lawn. I know that is is a separate issue.

ANSWER:

Luckily for us, there has already been an excellent answer to virtually the same question, the previous one coming from White Lake, MI in the southwest part of Michigan, Oakland County. We feel that is close enough to Grand Haven, on the southeast side of Michigan, Ottawa County, that the same information should apply, including the plant selections. Previous answer to White Lake.

In terms of keeping the geese off of the lawn, we have had questions about geese destroying gardens before, as well. We are not sure if any of the plants suggested in the previous answer were grasses tall enough to serve as something of a barrier to the geese, so we are going to find some native grasses that can tolerate wet or dry soils and list them for you.

Grasses Native to Michigan

Calamagrostis canadensis (bluejoint) - 3to 5 ft. tall, sun, part shade or shade

Carex stipata (owlfruit sedge) - 2 to 3 ft. tall, wet soil to standing water, sun

Carex vulpinoidea (fox sedge) - wet or moist soil,sun

Juncus torreyi (Torrey's rush) - wet or moist soil, sun

Phragmites australis (common reed) - 3 to 6 ft., wet or moist soil, sun

Scirpus atrovirens (green bulrush) - 3 to 6 ft. tall, wet soil, sun

Schoenoplectus tabernaemontani (softstem bulrush) - wet soil, sun

Spartina pectinata (prairie cordgrass) - 3 to 6 ft., wet soil, sun


Calamagrostis canadensis

Carex stipata

Carex vulpinoidea

Juncus torreyi

Phragmites australis

Scirpus atrovirens

Schoenoplectus tabernaemontani

Spartina pectinata

 

 

 

 

 

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