Re: floating aquatic plant beds

Ted Anderson wrote, Oct. 25:

>I do experiments with floating islands, nest sites and nest boxes for the wild
>waterfowl that live in our urban lakes.  I've been very successful with the
>floating islands but now I realize that the waterfowl need more than a nest
>site to survive.  They need aquatic plants and all the small creatures that
>live in them.  Unfortunately, most lake owners manicure and spray their lakes
>so there is no shoreline vegetation.  To remedy this I'd like to build a
>"floating" aquatic plant bed that would float near the nesting islands.   I can
>handle the floatation issues so the bed floats a few inches below the surface.
>I was going to stretch fiberglass screening across an 8'x 8' frame made of PVC
>tubing.  Then, I was going to put the aquatic plants on the screening.  This is
>a novel approach.  I'm looking for comments, ideas or suggestions that anyone
>might have on this attempt and how I might improve its success.
Aquatic plants need to be firmly rooted in soil, and I am quite sure that
they would not grow just anchored to fiberglass screening.  Even
Ceratophyllum, which has no roots is firmly anchored in mud with somewhat
modified stems and leaves, and probably would not do very well living as an
"aquatic epiphyte".  I suspect that only algae could grow on the screening.

It might be possible to rig a floating rack system that held containers
containing 4 to 6 inches of soil under the water.  For submerged aquatics,
the soil surface should be about 1 foot under.  This is beginning to sound
a little expensive.

Next summer, try an experiment.  Set up a small frame with fiberglass
screening and tie some aquatic plants on it and see how they do.  Let us
all know what happens.

Paul Krombholz                  Tougaloo College, Tougaloo, MS  39174