Using Reeds to clean up a dam

Discussion in 'Planting, growing, nurturing Plants' started by ebunny, Jan 31, 2011.

  1. ebunny

    ebunny Junior Member

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    We have a medium-sized dam on our new property which is very brown and merky (even before all the torrential rain and flooding). There are fish and tadpoles in the dam so its liveable, but we want to plant reeds and other plants to help to clean up the water quality.

    Can anyone suggest what would be best to plant?

    Thanks
     
  2. purecajn

    purecajn Junior Member

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    I like the Water hyacinth, beautiful plant, multiplies quick (to quick for some people) and water chesnut
     
  3. Fernando Pessoa

    Fernando Pessoa Junior Member

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    Concur totally,water hyacinth is the "comfrey" of aquatic systems in my opinion have studied and used this plant in re mediation for nearly three years.
    https://journeytoforever.org/farm_library/dymond.html
    You will find it when combined with fermented azzola creates one of the worlds best enriched composts,due to the cyno bacteria and massive amounts of ecology you get when you mix a land based compost with a aquatic one,massive amounts of diversity.,.
    https://eprints.ru.ac.za/36/1/Kiguli.PDF.
    If you want to stack the bejesus out of it then add some kang kong and water chestnut for incredible yield.
    The manual has a chapter on aquaculture but in my opinion it is over simplified and in some respects (yield)factually incorrect.I know that blasphemy but I am more inclined to rely on realistic results rather than optimistic possibilities.
    best wishes Fernando
     
  4. Fernando Pessoa

    Fernando Pessoa Junior Member

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    Concur totally,water hyacinth is the "comfrey" of aquatic systems in my opinion have studied and used this plant in re mediation for nearly three years.
    https://journeytoforever.org/farm_library/dymond.html
    You will find it when combined with fermented azzola creates one of the worlds best enriched composts,due to the cyno bacteria and massive amounts of ecology you get when you mix a land based compost with a aquatic one,massive amounts of diversity.,.
    https://eprints.ru.ac.za/36/1/Kiguli.PDF.
    If you want to stack the bejesus out of it then add some kang kong and water chestnut for incredible yield.
    The manual has a chapter on aquaculture but in my opinion it is over simplified and in some respects (yield)factually incorrect.I know that blasphemy but I am more inclined to rely on realistic results rather than optimistic possibilities.
    Also Typha latifolia sp,Juncus sp,Alisma plantago aquatica,sagittaria,villarisa exaltata,all good pioneers in your area.Nymphea gigantea,nymphea sp lillies good for when water clears don't let people tell you they are pioneers.Its another silly mistake,putting lillies in a turbid system when photosynthesis is limited.
    The reeds will invite dragon and damsel flies in as they are required for the nymph to chrysalis.The nymphs are what will keep mosquito down as the feed on larvae.Once you see a second generation of dragons or damsels you can add fish they are the key indicator of a full trophic levels being achieved.
    Good luck
    Fernando
     
  5. Raymondo

    Raymondo Junior Member

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    Typha and Juncus species would be fairly easy to get established along the edge, as long as there is some 'shelf'. Both can choke a waterway so you have to monitor them. You could also throw a bit azolla on top and scoop it off if it threatens to cover the dam. And by the way, water hyacinth is a class 4 noxious weed in much of NSW. It may even have a higher classification in some parts. Please make sure you check with at least your local council before putting it in your dam.
     
  6. Fernando Pessoa

    Fernando Pessoa Junior Member

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    Yes it is a very use full plant,the Hyacinth,and it needs careful monitoring.Escape from a dam is difficult if you manage it well.Everything is management.Once it has done it job and it will do it very quickly under perfect conditions 90 tonnes per hectare wet weight,then compost it.It gather nutrients very quickly as much as it possibly can.Azzola you will find is also classified a weed.Weeds are by definition plants that are not useful in the position they are growing,I would put it to you that in this case they are not weeds.
    Best wishes Fernando
     
  7. Susan Girard

    Susan Girard Junior Member

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    Yes Water Hyacinth is considered a Noxious Weed in the Sydney Region according to Department of Primary Industries, so if Council find it you will have to remove it.
    Personnaly I go for something local that will provide habitat as well. Unfortunately many of the rushes and sedges local to the Northern Beaches also have look alike exotic relatives and live on the banks not actually in the water. Of the truly aquatic types you could try Eleocharis sphacelata or Eleocharis acuta or Schoenoplectu validus which will form a really think stand so may depend on the size of your dam. Too many to really suggest..maybe you could try looking up Native Plants of the Sydney District by A Fairley and P Moore for some ideas.
    Has the dam always been merky? maybe it just needs a flocculant to make it look clearer?
    Good luck
     
  8. Susan Girard

    Susan Girard Junior Member

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    Thought this might help from Warringah Council website:

    Manly Dam is an unusual example of a freshwater lagoon swamp. Fringing shrubs
    include Viminaria juncea and other species include Baumea juncea,
    Goodenia paniculata, Eleocharis sphacelata
    and Typha orientalis.
     
  9. hawkypork

    hawkypork Junior Member

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    I dont have much new to add but wetlands used to be my thing so I can't help but put my oar in.

    I recommend Eleocharis sphacelata or Eleocharis acuta or Schoenoplectus validus. All are round stemmed. Strappy stems are supposed to be good for frogs. Typha orientalis is a weed over here in Western Australia but not sure about Sydney. A strappy I recommend is Baumea preissii. All of these species can be readily transplanted if you can dig up a bit of rhizome from the mud. I would look at a native submergent aquatic plant too. I would suggest potamageten but again I am not sure what is native to Sydney. Stay away from azolla, you will never get rid of it once it is there.

    But Susan might have made the best suggestion; perhaps you should try a flocculant. I seem to recall that my local golf course used copper sulphate. I am not sure how bio-friendly it is but the water was enticing enough for me to swim in it.
    regards,
    Haakon
     
  10. DJ-Studd

    DJ-Studd Junior Member

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    I'd like to add a variety of aquatic plants to our dam system, but what are people's thoughts on said plants escaping downstream and irritating neighbours and the greater system?
     
  11. Abernethy Stanley

    Abernethy Stanley Junior Member

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    It is against the law to sell, purchase, spread, or even just to grow Water Hyacinth in the Port Stephens LGA, and in any other LGA that hyacinth is a class 4 Noxious Weed.

    From memory Hyacinth is as high as a class 2 weed in parts of sydney, which would require a person owning land on which it occurs to eradicate the weed, and keep the land free from that plant.

    Weeds cost the australian economy over $4billion a year in control costs, and loss of agriculture productivity.

    Water weeds are the worst kind of weed there is, for many reasons, control, containment etc.

    Not only would it be against the law for you to grow/purchase/move this plant from one property to another, but it would be environmentally and ecologically irresponsible.

    Water Hyacinth spreads vegetatively and can double in size every couple of days. It can very easily cover the entire surface of your dam, severely reducing biodiversity through darkening of the water which in turn reduces disolved oxygen.

    there are many native options that are not only legal, but ecologically responsible, as native plants provide for native animals. Weeds can, but really would suggest you dont plant Hyacinth.

    Though having said that, people that plant weeds keep me in work, so go ahead if you like; what's your address by the way??? ;)
     
  12. purecajn

    purecajn Junior Member

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    Yes, the plants I suggested are quite aggressive and should only be used in a closed system which you maintain on a regular basis, but I still stand by Water hyacinth being one of the best due to it's quick cleanup of a water body and the added benefit of free mats for mulching. How big is this dame? medium size is very vague. Can you provide a pic of the area? Preferably one from google maps for a lay of the area. You can get some nice shot using it (ex https://s1103.photobucket.com/albums/g473/purecajn/Our Pond/ )
     
  13. ebunny

    ebunny Junior Member

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    Thanks for all the ideas everyone. Abernathy - I hope not to ever have you come over (no offence) :p

    The dam is about 500 square metres but I don't know how deep as we are yet to wade out into it. I'm told its been murky for some time. The property is outside Brissie, so just inside sub-tropical climate. Its a semi-closed system as with the recent floods, it did overflow into a small stream on the neighbour's land and into a larger stream at the bottom of the valley. As we're new there, I think we'll avoid introducing noxious weeds into the neighbourhood....
     
  14. floot

    floot Junior Member

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    Hello ebunny,

    I have my first real pond or dam but it is early days and it is not sealed yet which I will do.

    I have had very small ponds, [a few square metres] and plants that I have played around with include water chestnut, kang kong, native papyrus, azolla and pandanus. Sadly, the water chestnuts were not much of a success and I suspect it is a climate/variety thing as we have millions of magpie geese in the Top End and their base food source is a native water chestnut. I do intend to collect some of the native eleocharis when I see some next time. I wouldnt use many of the reeds because of their ability to block the view etc. Ever thought of trying some of the smaller bamboos on the edge, the type that can handle a bit of inundation?

    Is your water turbid ie suspended clay or is it brown caused by the tannins found in most eucalypts, especially acacias? Do livestock have direct access to the dam? Water turbidity might be part of the natural way of things where you are. Copper sulphate will very quickly 'clean' up the water but personally I wouldnt use this heavy metal in any part of my system. Also if you are new to the property you may find the lack of vegetation is temporary due to flooding.

    I would consider planting vetiver grass in all the inflow and outflow areas. I would also introduce azolla, water chestnut and kang kong all of which are very useful permie plants. There are also a huge range of beautiful native lillies you might like to try. Get to a botanic garden somewhere and see what they are growing in their ponds. One last plant I have no experience with, apart from eating it, are the beautiful and massive lotus lillies. If I were in your situation I doubt I could help myself..

    Lastly, if you want to try a natural flocculant check out this tree/site. https://www.treesforlife.org/our-work/our-initiatives/moringa/faq/using-moringa/how-is-moringa-used-in-water-purification

    I do have 3 moringa trees but I also have some very sneaky sheep so I now own 3 small moringa 'sticks'.

    cheers,
     
  15. ebunny

    ebunny Junior Member

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    Thanks Floot. Those are great ideas.

    Thankfully the only livestock that have access are two geese who went with the previous owners, so the edges are pretty good looking. There are also loads of dragon flies of different varieties and lily pads floating here and there. So these are all good signs. There are a couple of trees around but I'm not sure what they all are (but will find out) but the gum trees are a good 50 metres away for the most part.

    As for reeds, the dam is in the bottom of the valley, with the house on the north side, so we could always put reeds on the south side and then only miss the view when we drive in.
     

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