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Floating Islands

Floating Islands
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Floating islands are not only beautiful aesthetically, but they also improve water quality, serve as habitat for fish, help alleviate bank erosion, and work to reduce mosquito populations. With some smart pond management and strategic planning, you can improve your fishery by adding this unique feature to the water.

First order of business is the design of the island. It is important to know what options are best suited for your pond. If your pond is well aerated, you can grow almost anything on your island that would typically grow in your local climate. Flowers, small shrubs, and other ornamentals are commonly used plants. If your pond is not well aerated, you should stick to wetland plants and aim for a more natural look. Floating islands tend to sprout and mature sooner in the spring, and stay green longer in the fall due to the thermal effects of the water. Also, you can develop a planting strategy to attract or repel waterfowl. For example, attracting waterfowl will allow you to create a separate area to feed your fish without the interference of geese, blue hereon, etc.

Once your design is locked in you can focus on the health benefits they provide to your pond. If your pond is associated with high nutrient load from lawn fertilizer or storm run off, floating islands can improve water quality by acting as a natural way of “mining” nutrients out of the water. The nutrients are then converted into attractive habitat for your pond. If strategically placed, your island can prevent bank erosion by breaking up waves that would normally lap onto the bank.

If you are native to the south, you are aware that mosquitoes are prevalent in this part of the country. Floating islands are going to provide habitat for fish, nymphs, and other mosquito larva eating creatures. Mosquito larva and other small insects serve as a good meal for your young fish, and will also provide cover for young predators and baitfish as well.

Floating islands are a fun way to add variety to your pond. If you are a novice gardener try growing some ornamentals, or if you are an experienced and ambitious gardener try starting a garden with succulents, like watercress or ginger. Make your island a paradise. If you are not sure where to start, contact a local biologist for their recommendations on what plants would best thrive in your area.