Amphibians seem to be under siege these days, but in our little pond, they are thriving, so I hate to mess with success. Nonetheless, I have watched the pond pack itself more tightly every year with some kind of pondweed.
I thought it was Eurasian Milfoil, but what is growing this year more closely resembles narrow-leaf pondweed, which is evidently native.
Underwater plants are part of the ecosystem of a pond. It provides food and shelter to fish and waterfowl. There is a very comprehensive graph about what underwater plants provide cover, food or both to what animals provided by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service here.
While narrow leaf pondweed is not listed as a preferred food of Buffleheads, at least a few of them seemed willing to consume it this spring as they passed through. And the wood ducks chowing down there everyday for many weeks.
I have to believe that the frogs and tadpoles like the pondweed because it has not lowered their numbers as it has filled the pond.
But I have an aesthetic gripe. I like the pond to reflect the sky. I like to see the trees mirrored in its surface, and mirrors don’t work so well when they are covered in murky leaves.
So my compromise is to use my lake rake to pull out sections of the pondweed, and leave other areas untouched. That gives the frogs and fishes plenty of turf, and gives me a lot of wonderful organic material to mix in with my composting horse manure and mulch around prairie plantings I made this spring.
As to frogs, there are some very doughty little green frogs defending their territory along the pond edge. As I was pulling out weed, one of them sat in the water watching me. And eventually he hopped out and sat on the shore to confront me.
Well, I had to call it quits for raking that day. I stopped, looked back into his prominent and determined eyes, and then I retreated to the barn.
There he was — the proverbial big frog in a little pond.
What else could I do?