[permaculture] Edges - Re: permaculture and science || need recommendations for plantings at edge of pond

Paul Cereghino paul.cereghino at comcast.net
Sun Feb 4 20:38:05 EST 2007


Some thoughts on pond edge guilds:

In general early spring inundation levels are a strong theshold that 
controls community composition... it seems that there is a dividing line 
between those species who can and can't live in low oxygen soils while 
their buds are breaking.

Visual inspection of soil in pits can provide lots of information about 
growing regime, and zoning your landscape (not permaculture zoning, but 
hydrologic zones.)  Google: redoximorphic (AKA soil characteristics that 
result from low RedOx conditions (i.e. lack of oxygen).

Find a pond with similar hydrology and emulate the patterns you see there.

Generally the deeper in the pond you get, composition is driven by 
tolerance of low oxygen soils, while higher up composition is controlled 
by competition.

long spring inundation followed by summer drawdown creates an 
opportunity for annuals (wild rice?) particularly where accompanied by 
sediment deposition.

Get familiar with you inundation patterns, establish markers to help you 
keep track -- some categories from my region:
1. only flooded in winter.
2. periodic flooding during early growing season (no more than a few days)
3. frequently flooded during early growing season (enough duration to 
create low oxygen spells).
4. long term early growing season flooding (only true wetalnd plants.)

when in doubt plant starts perpendicular to these bands of increasing 
inundation from dry to wet and watch for mortality.

Many wetland plants can tolerate more inundation stress once established 
then when recruiting... particularly from seed or cutting.  Time 
planting to minimize inudation stress to give'em a chance to establish 
before the next inundation spell.

Checkout the wetland indicator species rating on the USDA plants website 
http://plants.usda.gov/ .. it is a useful way of classifying plant 
species based on the frequency with which naturalized populations are 
observed in wetlands.  http://plants.usda.gov/wetland.html for searching 
and http://plants.usda.gov/wetinfo.html for interpretation.  This 
approach doesn't pick up on subtleties but it is a great start -- then 
cross reference with your local ethnobotany.

In addition to cattail, there are sedges (Carex basketry) and bullrushes 
(Scirpus, mats) that provide good fiber.  There are Iris' that have 
carbohydrate roots.  Osiers (thin pliable branches) can be from willow 
but also dogwood (Cornus sericea; spring flooding but only once 
established).  Crab apple (Malus; some spring flooding).  Nettle 
(Urtica; capillary fringe).

A secondary cash product from a wet area may be cuttings from coppiced 
native shrubs that root well from stem cuttings that may be sold as 
'live stakes' for restoration work... if you have a local 'conservation 
district' they should be able to familiarize you with local demand and 
species.  By controlling stem age through systematic harvest, you can 
produce higher quality cuttings for field propagation than are available 
from wildcrafters (young stems are more likely to root than old stems in 
many species, and wildcrafters have a hard time controlling stem 
age.)... many species that are potentially field propagated from 
unrooted cuttings are not in the market.

I'd really like to hear folk's wet edge favorites... I'm starting in on 
my wet zones this winter.

Paul Cereghino



Lawrence F. London, Jr. wrote:

>Lawrence F. London, Jr. wrote:
>  
>
>>I would like to crenelate the pond's edge and install a variety of plantings that are native to my 
>>locale and will work well in an edge zone with nondescript plant material that may drift in and out, airborne, 
>>waterborne or waterborne. The water in the pond is high in nutrients and duckweed growing there now is flourishing even 
>>in this cole weather we are having.
>>    
>>
>
>That should read:
>
>I would like to crenelate the shoreline of the pond and install a variety of plantings that are native to my
>locale that will work well in an edge zone with nondescript plant material that may drift in and out, airborne,
>waterborne or animal-borne. The water in the pond is high in nutrients and duckweed growing there now is flourishing 
>even in this cold weather we are having.
>
>
>
>  
>




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