Shoreline Aquascaping Benefits Everyone
A beautiful, natural shoreline enhances the lake, provides valuable habitat for wildlife and creates a barrier that acts as a beneficial filtration system for the water.
Shoreline aquascaping helps to:
- Control erosion – Plant roots stabilize the shoreline and offshore vegetation buffers against wave action.
- Reduce non-native plant invasions – Native plants are the first line of defense against the non-natives. Exotic plants will have a much harder time taking root in areas where native plants are abundant.
- Improve water quality – They block nutrient-rich grass clippings and leaves from entering the water, filter out some surface run-off from various sources including roads and lawns, and take up excess nutrients as they grow and spread.
- Increase wildlife – Aquatic plants around the water’s edge provide both food and shelter for a wide variety of animals.
- Boost home value – Adding a variety of plants adds layers of visual interest to the scenery.
Lakes and ponds typically have multiple depths and each level of the shoreline should have native aquatic plants that suited to the area and where the plants can thrive.
There are four basic levels of aquascaping:
- The transition zone: this is the area between dry upland areas and dry lowland areas. It is usually 15 to 45 cm above the water. The transition zone is normally dry and planted with grasses.
- The shallow zone: it tends to be the area 15 cm above to 15 cm below the water.
- The mid zone: It is an area from 15 to 90 cm below water.
- The deep zone: this is 90 to 150 cm below the water depth.
Keeping Your Shoreline Beautiful and Healthy
Once a shoreline is planted, a maintenance program should be established to hand-remove nuisance vegetation such as cattails. In addition, your lawn care vendor or groundskeeper can be good shoreline stewards by following these suggestions:
- Use equipment that collects the grass being mowed for disposal elsewhere
- Raise the mowing height to three inches to inhibit weed growth and reduce the need for irrigation.
- Landscape with Florida-friendly plants and vegetation. Native vegetation thrives in our climate and weather conditions, without having to add water and nutrients.
Fertilizer Use and Application
- Use phosphorus-free fertilizer. Keep at least 15 feet away from any lake, pond, stream, canal, retention pond or wetland.
- Sweep up fertilizer that falls on driveways, streets, sidewalks, and pavement to prevent it from washing into lakes and ponds via storm water systems.
A lush, healthy shoreline contains a variety of aquatic plant species that filters out contaminants, bolster the banks and prevents erosion, provides habitat for wildlife and organisms and adds value to the community.
Are you shorelines healthy?
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