Duck resistant plants needed

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by DucksinOR, Jan 21, 2013.

  1. DucksinOR

    DucksinOR Out Of The Brooder

    Hi,[​IMG]
    I volunteer at a place that has a pond with eleven domestic ducks. Last summer a wild Mallard showed up with her six ducklings, but they did not make it due to a Great Blue Heron that took up residence. Well the Heron is gone but a pair of wild Mallards showed up about a month ago. They have not left yet and we are wondering if they will try to hatch a brood out this spring. If so (and if another Heron shows up) we need some sort of shelter for them. So I am looking for some draping duck resistant plants, we were thinking of putting the plants in big pots so the ducks cannot get to the roots of the them . I was thinking along the lines of Vinca or some ornamental grasses. Would those work? Would a floating island provide shelter for ducklings? Or would the domestic ducks just eat everything on the island?[​IMG]


    Here are some pictures of the pond.
    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]

    As you can see the ducks have eaten all the plants in there.
     
    Last edited: Jan 21, 2013
  2. Amiga

    Amiga Overrun with Runners Premium Member

    22,979
    1,950
    471
    Jan 3, 2010
    Southern New England
    Vinca's a little short for cover. Sweet pepper bush (Clethra alnifolia) would make a nice cover. It grows on pond edges and leans over. My ducks don't bother it. Another nice plant that grows in moist areas and could give some cover is Solidago spp., goldenrod. (side note: It's a myth that goldenrod makes people sneeze. The pollen grains are too heavy to get airborn for long. Ragweed, that blooms about the same time, is a serious allergen. But most people don't recognize ragweed blooms as they are tiny and green.)

    Something that looks nice is simply a section of coated woven wire fencing bent in a semi circle to make a small tunnel. It can be covered with green burlap, and you can plant nasturtiums next to it and let the vines run across the tunnel. Nasturtiums are edible, and the ducks might eat it, but mine never ate the ones I planted for them.

    Consider cattails for the shallows. Those grow nice and tall. You may need to fence them off until they are about two feet high. With most things, once they are above my ducks' heads, they don't nom on them.

    Candlemaker's rush, Juncus effusus, doesn't get bothered by my ducks.

    Riverbank grape can be grown on a trellis near a water body. I have a little teepee frame made of cedar posts under the riverbank grape and that provides some cover.
     
  3. DucksinOR

    DucksinOR Out Of The Brooder

    Thank you for the quick response! [​IMG] Would these plants work if they were planted in big pots?
     
  4. Amiga

    Amiga Overrun with Runners Premium Member

    22,979
    1,950
    471
    Jan 3, 2010
    Southern New England
    I am picturing big, as in five gallon or more, with the bottom completely cut out, so that the roots could go down and out, but the pot would be a sleeve that runs deeper than the ducks can drill. That will likely work.

    The nasturtium does quite well in smaller pots, too. It makes seed that you can pick and replant the next spring.

    Sweet pepperbush slowly spreads, so your initial planting would be protected. I don't think it would be that much bothered by ducks around the roots. Just my guess based on our experience.

    Cattail spreads, too, so having your starter plants in pots protects them for sure, and if it works out, you could have a nice stand. Cattails don't grow in water more than three feet deep, if I recall correctly.

    Something else that grows along ponds but I would not think it would like pots around its roots is alder. There are a number of different kinds. They are shrubs, and provide good cover, and they are beautiful.

    Buttonbush is another one to consider.

    Shrub willows . . . . in fact, willows have been used to make living garden structures, so that's one that you could use to make a tunnel or teepee for duck cover. Hmm, I may use that idea here....

    Elderberry . . . .

    Joe Pye weed . . . .
     
    Last edited: Jan 21, 2013
  5. DucksinOR

    DucksinOR Out Of The Brooder

    The pond was not initially intended for ducks it is a supply of water in case the nearby barn catches on fire. It is a four foot deep pond with a pond liner and very limited shallows. There is not a lot of ground inside the fence around the pond. I was thinking cattails but water plants aren’t really an option at this point (the liner needs replaced this spring). Would a floating island work? [​IMG]
     
  6. Amiga

    Amiga Overrun with Runners Premium Member

    22,979
    1,950
    471
    Jan 3, 2010
    Southern New England
    You could make something like a dock with a mesh bottom, and set plants in pots in that, sure, why not?
     
  7. DucksinOR

    DucksinOR Out Of The Brooder

    Thank you for all the suggestions! Anyone else have any ideas? looking for easy to find plants in western Oregon.
     
  8. Maxcine99

    Maxcine99 Chillin' With My Peeps

    89
    6
    76
    Jan 26, 2013
    Clinton, MD
    I know a bit about waterplants but it sounds like you need non-submersed plants? Do you mean you want plants to grow along the edge/outside of the pond or plants that can be potted and placed inside the liner? Wild rice is good once it gets tall enough and it provides food for the ducks and cover once its fully matured, or are you thinking about shrubs?
     
  9. DucksinOR

    DucksinOR Out Of The Brooder

    I was thinking some water plants would help distract the ducks from the bank plants like Mexican Water Fern, would they? We were just looking at Hellebore and Mahonia Repens (Creeping Oregon Grape) which we think would help a lot . We are looking for northwest natives and tough plants. We currently cannot plant plants such as Cattails and Wild Rice. The pond liner will need replaced this spring/summer due to too much duck traffic. Thank you for your help [​IMG] Anyone else?
     
    Last edited: Feb 12, 2013

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by