How best to use pes­ti­cides on wa­ter lilies and in ponds

The Palm Beach Post - Residences - - Residences - ‘Cash’ Cash­ion

I’ve got­ten a lot of mail re­cently about wa­ter lilies and ponds — much of it was about which proper re-agent to use to clear clogged ponds.

I even re­ceived an e-mail from a Ger­man com­pany about one of its prod­ucts for ponds. Wow.

I wish to share in part with you one of the e-mails I re­ceived and that I think is cor­rect.

The sender did not wish to be iden­ti­fied. How­ever, he is right on the mark as to re-agents for aquatic use. Here’s what he wrote:

“First of all, wa­ter lilies nor­mally don’t get out of con­trol, so I am not con­vinced that the prob­lem (with a clogged pond) is wa­ter lilies.

“The prob­lem­may be lo­tus, spat­ter­dock, wa­ter hy­acinth or other plants. Many aquatic plants can be killed with glyphosate.

“Glyphosate is a good prod­uct for home­own­ers be­cause it has an ex­cel­lent safety record. Only a few brands of glyphosate are la­beled for use over wa­ter. Most aquatic glyphosate her­bi­cides need the ad­di­tion of an aquatic sur­fac­tant be­cause most brands of glyphosate la­beled for aquatic use con­tain no sur­fac­tant.

“It is the sur­fac­tant, not the glyphosate, that could harm the en­vi­ron­ment. An aquatic sur­fac­tant is needed since, with­out sur­fac­tant, aquatic glyphosate is not very ef­fec­tive.”

For all you plain-speak­ing peo­ple, such as I, a sur­fac­tant is a wet­ting agent that al­lows the re-agent to en­ter the wa­ter more eas­ily.

My e-mailer went on to list some of the brands for wa­ter use: Rodel, Aqua Pro, Aqua Star, Aqua Mas­ter.

He added that this not an in­clu­sive list, as other brands too are la­beled for aquatic use. Also, he stated that some of these brands are not avail­able for pub­lic use.

Again, both he and I agree that glyphosate is not very caus­tic to mam­mals and has a wide mar­gin of safety for us home­own­ers and swamp gar­den­ers.

I went out and bought some wa­ter lilies at one of the box stores.

They were in plas­tic con­tain­ers la­beled “Sul­phurea” and “At­trac­tion.” I am go­ing to plant them in my small wa­ter gar­den and see how they ma­ture.

They are a prod­uct of China, and I won­der if they have mag­i­cal pow­ers like the Chi­nese Im­mor­tal Lo­tus Blos­som, who changed stone to mother of pearl — or was it to sil­ver?

In the mean­time, have planted these lit­tle guys in a pot, an­chor­ing them­down about 18 inches in depth. I will fuss over them­like I do with my green-tea trees. But back to gar­den­ing above wa­ter. All my baby trav­el­ing iris have “taken,” and I now have six more plants. The pig­gy­back fern had “ba­bies” again, about a dozen, and I planted them in cups to get them started.

My wife took the orig­i­nal baby from a plant in a res­tau­rant while we were hav­ing lunch; that was in the early 1980s. The orig­i­nal plant, and the res­tau­rant, are long gone, but we still have this sur­vivor. Now, again, she has ba­bies with which to pop­u­late the plant king­dom.

Call Cash at (561) 744-4750 or e-mail him at

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