It seemed like a good idea at the time. You know, the lilies you planted in your pond a few years back. Or maybe your lilies came from ducks bringing in seeds or through the rain or the wind. However they came to be, you’ve got ‘em now, and you almost certainly considered them in a favorable light when they first appeared.
The thought of them blooming so magnificently enhanced the whole romantic idea of a beautiful water garden, and you planted them with abandon – and probably more than a little hard work. And you were right, in part. Water lilies do a wonderful job of providing a good habitat for fish. They shade them from the sun when they need it the most, during the hottest days of summer.
Plus, they add oxygen to the water, a huge benefit for pond fish and other water creatures. Lilies also serve as a biological filter, helping to keep your water clear. And, you can’t deny that water lily blossoms do an absolutely fantastic job of adding that certain appeal that only blooming plants can to water features.
Too Much of a Good Thing
The problem, then, lies in just how well your water lilies have done. They’ve done so well, that now they’ve become more of a headache than what they give back in terms of beauty and fish habitat advantages.
In fact, if you fish or boat on your pond, you may have come to the point with your water lilies that you can’t land a caught fish due to the lilies tangling your line or that you can’t run a boat motor without it getting completely clogged and rendered useless with these aquatic plants.
Solutions do exist, though, so, don’t give up yet. The idea is to not eradicate all of the lilies – simply get them under control. Ideally, plants should cover no more than about 30 to 50 percent of the pond’s surface. Maintaining this happy balance can be achieved, and you can do it without having to pull them up by hand.
Environmentally Friendly Chemical Solutions
Savvy water gardeners have found that products containing glyphosate work wonders to help manage plants-gone-wild in most pond situations.
There are many on the market, but two of the best are Shore-Klear and Aquastar. Registered with the Environmental Protection Agency for use in aquatic plant control, these products are endorsed by many water-garden supply professionals.
Either of these, together with a surfactant (a detergent of which a brand called “Cygnet Plus” comes highly recommended), can be mixed (per container directions) and applied directly to lily pads using a sprayer to effectively spot-treat water-garden plant invasions.
Spraying your water lilies doesn’t promise a day (or more, depending on the size of your pond) of no work, but it is much easier than pulling the plants up by their roots. (You won’t get too far that way, anyway, since you’ll never get all the roots, and the lilies will continue to spring up almost as fast as you can pull them.)
Remember to leave a few for the fish and for the several other very valid reasons that make water lilies a good thing – when kept under control.