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The recent discussion about water hyacinth has been on my mind, and it seemed worthy of opening a new discussion.  Maybe we can find a few good alternatives.

There were a couple good links provided by Dr George Brooks I'd like to keep from becoming lost.

Sludge Busters

Prohibited Noxious Weeds in Arizona

I have come up with only a few choices.  One that makes good sense is Parrot Feather.  The good thing about Parrot Feather is the fish are not as likely to eat it, I say not as likely because I think my Koi nibble the roots.  It's invasive, and may also be banded from some locals, but I did not see it on the list above.   If floating plants are not required thenI would also assume Papyrus would be a good choice.  There are at least two types of Papyrus, and I have both,  One is short (about 2') while the other is large (about 5').   Space may dictate which one you prefer. Papyrus propagates easily and has fine hair roots.

 

Water Hyacinth is legal where I live. But I have not been able to keep in in my pond over the Winter. In the Summer it spreads very quickly and most of it ends up in my compost.

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The 'plus' for me with water hyacinth is that it spreads quickly....in the summer providing shade for the fish and can serve as feed for my 11 chickens.  I'm going to look into water lettuce (not sure what it's varietal name is...), if it can be feed for the chickens it might be the solution.  I've tried parrot feather, water lettuce, and wh, in my wildlife pond and in my shelfponics setup (my AP#1), all have seemingly just 'melted' when the water temperatures reached their highs here in Scottsdale.  But, when I set up AP#2 (the above-ground 12' framed pool, 1600gals) and AP#3 (the in-ground pond is 12'x8'x3.5' dug but not lined as yet, depending on how much more I dig it will hold approx. 2000 gals), I think with all of the water mass I will have more stable temperatures and the parrot feather, which I love would flourish.  I have the small papyrus in the waterfall basin of my wildlife pond and it's doing great.  I had the big papyrus in the ground here a few years ago, in a low spot in the garden, but it only survived a year and a half, it would do better 'in' the water I'm sure.

I did see someone selling water hyacinth on craig's list once, i think they were in north phoenix or glendale.

I added one of the large papyrus plants this summer, and i have seen my koi get into the pot and root around the roots and some of the algae in the pot. Scared the crap out of me cause it's not below the water very far only an inch or two of water and I was afraid the koi were going to get stuck, but they flopped right out.

My chickens eat duckweed if it's strained (they don't like it wet) but they wouldn't go near the water lettuce. The fish eat the duckweed readily, and only nibble at the roots of the water lettuce, which eventually makes it look nasty, but it grows fast. The lettuce might be a good choice for shade and compost, but maybe not as good for the birds.

I want a pond!!

Chris George said:

I'm going to look into water lettuce (not sure what it's varietal name is...), if it can be feed for the chickens it might be the solution.  

Ha! Sometimes they know what they're capable of better than we do!

Stephanie B. said:

Scared the crap out of me cause it's not below the water very far only an inch or two of water and I was afraid the koi were going to get stuck, but they flopped right out.

@Sheri....go find a shovel....and start digging!!  Hahaha!!  My wildlife pond is great, it's tiny....in the world of 'ponds', but I have every critter using it, honeybees, other bees, the birds, snakes, dragonflies, cranes (that wasn't so 'good' for the fishies) etc., they can drink and not drown, most get sips from the wet sides of the waterfall...before I installed it everyone drank from the swimming pool and, well, it wasn't good....can't tell you how many bees I dipped out of the pool to save their lives....  I've got a nice mass of duckweed in the upper waterfall basin (success at last!!) in full sun, nutrient water from the fish in the in ground pond part, and an air stone.  Sorry to hear that water lettuce wasn't a solution for the chickens....

Yeah, we've done the digging thing. I'm thinking...backhoe.

Full sun for the duckweed? I'm impressed!

I just read in another forum about perslane for fish. Since that grows wild around our garden, I think I'll start giving it to the chickens and fish, rather than the compost.

Maybe there is a floating pond plant that is related to WH but not restricted??  More research needed.....guess I'll add it to the 'list'.  Moringa might be the solution for the chickens, but it dies back in the winter, I'd have to save and store it for feed purposes.  It can be powdered and used in smoothies, so the powder might be the way to go, I could sprinkle it into whatever the chickens are eating.  A bit on the labor intensive side to gather, dry and grind though....might save that nutrition for 'me'.  

Chicken smoothies. Hmmmm.

I'm planning to grow purslane in the AP system, it's chock full of nutrients.  I figure it is easy to grow, acclimated to our conditions and rather than harvest it, I'll just leave it as root mass, pick off what I need...for the fish or whoever will eat it.

Bob, I refrained from chiming in when you said that water hyacinth is legal in Cali, when I was certain it was not. I'm so proud of myself for not being to quick to open my mouth, I should make it a habit :)
Anyway, I had a hell I a time trying to find any regulation against WH in Cali, though I found a slew of people in the know who insisted it was illegal. So I emailed the state, and this is what I got back:

Good morning, thank you for your inquiry.  Water hyacinth is a C - rated
weed which means that some CA counties allow it while others do not.
You would need to contact the county you are in to determine if you may
possess or sell it.  Also, the destination county would need to be
contacted to determine if water hyacinth is allowed if you are planning
to transport to that county.  

For a list of county agriculture departments, please click on the
following link:  http://www.cdfa.ca.gov/plant/reportapest/map.html.  If
you have any questions, feel free to email or call us at the phone
number below.  

Thank you,
Terra

Terra Walber
Environmental Scientist
CA Department of Food & Agriculture
Interior Pest Exclusion

1220 N Street, rm 325
Sacramento, CA  95814
(916) 654-0312 Office
(916) 654-0986 Fax
Great idea Chris. Purslane does grow like nuts here in Cali, and is a very healthy plant. Our chickens and rabbits eat it, we sometimes eat it, I would imagine tilapia and bluegill would eat it too. WH is not high on my list for AP because it needs processing to make palatable for most things that will eat it, like drying and grinding. And it requires some surface area to grow, and the bigger it masses the more negative impact it has on dissolved oxygen. Water lettuce, as Sheri mentioned, is evil. It contains calcium oxalate crystals. It will lock your throat with one bite, makes you feel like you swallowed grandma's pin cushion. The best semi-aquatic plant I have found for nutrient absorption and subsequent benificial use is water cress. Grows fast from seed or cuttings, will grow completely in water (even without raft or support), or media, or soil. It is excellent to eat, super healthy, and everything eats up fresh, or dried.



Chris George said:

I'm planning to grow purslane in the AP system, it's chock full of nutrients.  I figure it is easy to grow, acclimated to our conditions and rather than harvest it, I'll just leave it as root mass, pick off what I need...for the fish or whoever will eat it.

@Jon, thanks for the info on water lettuce, sounds awful.  I've grown watercress in my shelf-ponics setup in the fish tank.  It does great...for awhile, then fizzles.  Between the intensity of the sun and our heat here it's not a solution for year-round growing.  In a greenhouse setting watercress might thrive though, I'll try it again with more protection from the elements, and I love to eat it.  Not sure the chickens will like it's peppery taste, but you never know until you try, right?  I'm assuming after your post re: WH that you are also in CA as is Bob C., is that right?

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