A simple solution for preventing
critters from eating your water plants --
by Kit Knotts - Click images to enlarge
Are playful koi tearing up your little waterlilies as you set
them out in spring? Are crawfish eating the tips off your little
Victoria pads before they are big enough to defend themselves?
Are other fish dining on or rooting out your newly established
plants? There's a simple solution -- cage 'em!
Crawfish are our main emeny. To prevent them from eating the
emerging leaves of newly installed Victorias, we buy a roll of
hardware cloth wider than the ponds are deep. We cut lengths
a little longer in circumference than the spread of the plants
and stitch the ends together with the thin wire that comes around
the roll of wire. Since the crawfish are already in the ponds
we "sweep" the pond bottom with the cage, install the
plant and place the cage around it.
Faced with a very aggressive koi population at the U.S. National
Arboretum in 2003, Mark McGuiness used heavier wire. "The
damage caused by the koi to our tropical aquatics was devastating,
especially on our waterlilies. The koi also 'decided' to pay
close attention to our Victoria transplants - behavior
we had never seen before. As a result, all our Victoria
transplants had to be either individual caged or initially put
in an area of the pool protected from the koi ."