Duckweed Photos and Information
Duckweed is a tiny water plant with little green leaves. This is the perfect plant for many types of water gardens. It provides nutrition, cover, and visual appeal to your garden.
Small amphibians such as frogs love to hide in it, keeping them safe from predators and cool from the sun. Fish enjoy duckweed as well, taking advantage of the shade on hot days. Also, many fish find duckweed to be tasty, nibbling on its edges to keep its growth in check naturally.
In addition, duckweed acts as a natural filter. The water moves through the duckweed, and small bits of debris and dirt are caught up in the leaves. It helps to keep the main body of your water area clear.
When we talk about duckweed, we're not talking about one or two plantings of a specific item. Duckweed is actually hundreds to thousands of little tiny plants, all floating together.
The duckweed can form a nearly solid shelter, giving cool spots to your water garden and giving your frogs places to hang out in. By blocking some of the sun, duckweed also helps to keep algae from growing.
Duckweed can grow very rapidly, though, so make sure that you always keep the majority of your pond surface duckweed-free so that air and sunshine can get in to your water.
There are many documented situations where duckweed growth has gotten out of control and caused damage to an ecosystem. For example, in 1999 the Schulykill River in Pennsylvania turned a deep green color, and the entire surface of the river was coated with the green of duckweed. A drought had occurred, and the concentration of nutrients in the more stagnant water allowed the small plants to flourish. Once the drought situation ended, the duckweed was washed away.
Things were less easy in Venezuela where the Maracaibos Lake became a solid coating of duckweed. The government brought in equipment to clear this off manually, and the problem did not reoccur.
So if you choose to introduce duckweed into your environment, make sure you do it in a controlled fashion!
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