Pond Restoration – Plants get in the ground

Our pond restoration plans got delayed. We did not get any plants in the ground in 2013. The black plastic stayed more or less in place over the winter. The worst of it was I lost several flats of plants, including the all-important grasses, to the harsh winter. Only those flats that happened to become buried under a big snow drift survived.

When I finally pulled back the black plastic the earth was dry as dust and the weeds seemed thoroughly killed. An organic duff of tough bits of stem and small woody bits seemed a good medium to plant into. I waited for a drizzly day and the little bluestem plants and their associated flowers finally got into the ground.ImageSo

Some of the wild flowers to go in between the little bluestem: silky aster, wild bergamot, prairie baby’s breath (flowering spurge) showy tick trefoil, hoary vervain, purple anise-hyssop, wild senna and dwarf leadplant.

I ran out of little bluestem plants, because of the overwintering losses, so I won’t be able to continue planting until this year’s little bluestem seedlings are big enough to plant. I need to include the native grasses because we will need to burn this pond edge meadow fairly regularly to keep the non-natives from taking over. Grasses provide the fuel for the burns. I want to make most of the grass in this planting little bluestem so that we can still see the pond. Big bluestem, or even switch grass would get too tall. I have planted some Indian grass and will plant more. And I will include a few clumps of Canada wild rye, just to have this species around.

A week after the black plastic was pulled back, after a year of solarization, the rhizomes of bracken fern were sending up croziers. Tough plant. I am not going to declare war on bracken (pointless) but I am hoping that the grasses, once well-established, will be able to outcompete it.