A simple solution for preventing
critters from eating your water plants --

Cage 'Em!

by Kit Knotts - Click images to enlarge

Are playful koi tearing up your little waterlilies as you set them out in spring? Are crawfish eating the tips off your little Victoria pads before they are big enough to defend themselves? Are other fish dining on or rooting out your newly established plants? There's a simple solution -- cage 'em! 
Crawfish are our main emeny. To prevent them from eating the emerging leaves of newly installed Victorias, we buy a roll of hardware cloth wider than the ponds are deep. We cut lengths a little longer in circumference than the spread of the plants and stitch the ends together with the thin wire that comes around the roll of wire. Since the crawfish are already in the ponds we "sweep" the pond bottom with the cage, install the plant and place the cage around it.

Faced with a very aggressive koi population at the U.S. National Arboretum in 2003, Mark McGuiness used heavier wire. "The damage caused by the koi to our tropical aquatics was devastating, especially on our waterlilies. The koi also 'decided' to pay close attention to our Victoria transplants - behavior we had never seen before. As a result, all our Victoria transplants had to be either individual caged or initially put in an area of the pool protected from the koi ."

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