Beginning Fall Clean-Up of the Pond: Who’s Living In The Water Hyacinth Roots?

water hyacinthThe mist is lifting from the mountain and the sun looks like it might break through. I’ve been scooping leaves out of the pond. Not too many have fallen yet, but as the pond is in woodlands the whole surface will soon be covered.

I like to leave a lot of the pond clean-up until all the leaves have fallen but some things need to be done now, such as taking the water hyacinth out of the pond.

The roots are great for helping keep the water clean but if the plants die and sink, they’ll add to the sludge on the bottom.

When I buy them in spring, I tie them into circles of tubing to prevent them sinking in the fall, but this summer has been exceptional for water hyacinths and the five original plants more than trebled with new offspring breaking away from the tubing and floating off in the pond.

When I pull out a batch of hyacinths, tiny frogs leap off, and a little yellow face peeks out of the dense black roots – a salamander. Another salamander, this one tiny, struggles through the roots to see what’s going on. Spidery beings, wormy beings, fishy beings, all sorts of swimming, creeping insects appear. Such strange shapes. A huge tadpole falls out (must be a bullfrog tadpole). I’m amazed by how gelatinous it looks. I would have expected something more solid.

I feel terrible at disturbing these creatures. I quickly replace the hyacinths in the water, scoop up the tadpole and watch it wriggle away into the pond’s muddy bottom.

What to do? I don’t want to destroy their habitat, but the pond is old and will fill up with sludge if I let leaves and hyacinths decompose in it.frog in water hyacinth

Finally I decide to rest the tip of the mass of plants on the bank and leave the rest in the water. Tomorrow I’ll pull it a little higher up on the bank. Let’s hope that will encourage the residents of the water hyacinth roots to relocate.