Ask a Question forum: Water Hyacinths

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Name: Gail
East TN (Zone 6b)
Oct 10, 2015 7:08 AM CST
I've had a small fish pond in my backyard for about 15 years. This year sqirrels have been eating the bulbs and leaves of the water hyacinths creating quite a mess. Does anyone have suggestions for deterring the critters?
Name: Porkpal
Richmond, TX
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Oct 10, 2015 1:19 PM CST
Many people would think that anything willing to eat water hyacinths should be encouraged.
Name: Elaine
South Sarasota, Florida (Zone 9b)
The one constant in life is change
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Oct 10, 2015 2:32 PM CST
Probably they are not invasive in TN, but for sure down here where the winter temps don't kill them back, they are a highly invasive species and we'd love it if the squirrels would eat them.

Are the squirrels getting IN the water to get at the plants, Gail? If not, it's possible that a scent deterrent of some kind sprayed on the foliage might stop them from grabbing the plants to pull them out of the water. I've used "Critter Ridder" which is a pepper based scent deterrent available at HD or Lowe's. There's also an entirely organic granular one we used when we had a rabbit problem at the school garden. You could sprinkle it around your pond for a few weeks to send them elsewhere. Sorry, can't recall the name, but again, I got it at Home Depot.

"Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm." –Winston Churchill
Name: Gail
East TN (Zone 6b)
Oct 10, 2015 2:52 PM CST
I should have mentioned the fish pond is only 250 gallons. Water hyacinths die at first frost here in East TN.

Yes, the squirrels actually reach into the water and pull the plants out of the water. Apparently, they nibble a the plants closest to the edge as well. When I feed the fish now, they dart instead of just coming to the surface to feed.

Thanks, Elaine, for the suggestion. I'll give it a try.

Several years ago I had 'something' eating my dahlias. Garlic powder did the trick.
Name: Greene
Savannah, GA (Sunset 28) (Zone 8b)
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Oct 10, 2015 4:16 PM CST
I admit that I do not have a pond as large as yours. Mine is only a re-purposed restaurant container which I sunk into the ground, but I have an idea.

If the squirrels are grabbing the plants nearest to the edge of the pond, can you put some type of "fence" to corral the plants and keep them more toward the center of the pond - away from the edge? I was thinking of a maybe plastic fence material with holes large enough so the fish can swim through.

I tried to research to find examples but can't find the correct key words to get good results. Anyway, I did find something interesting. This product floats, allows plants to grow and keep the fish from eating the plants. Why not work with that idea to keep the plants away from the edge and therefore away from the hungry squirrels. Shrug!

Okay, that's all I have. Thumbs up
Sunset Zone 28, AHS Heat Zone 9, USDA zone 8b~~"Leaf of Faith"
Name: Gail
East TN (Zone 6b)
Oct 10, 2015 4:26 PM CST

Actually, I've seen a similar suggestion via a Facebook post using a pool noodle. I may try that next year. It will frost here in 2-3 weeks and water hyacinths will die. The pond will be covered with netting to keep leaves out. Sqirrels won't be an issue.

In all the years we've had water hyacinths, this is the first year sqirrels have been a problem. Quite a curiosity!

Thanks so much for the suggestions.

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