It has been a rough ride getting the Jungle Val to take ahold in the floor of the clay duck pond. This is mainly because ducks are very rough on plants, and since I originally planted the Vallisneria Americana without adding any pea gravel or rocks to help anchor it into the floor of the duck pond, I was soon without any eelgrass at all.
So I went on a journey to help correct this terrible mistake as much of the research I have done insists that what is often known as Jungle Val in the aquarium world, in a natural pond, is an important food source for ducks in the wild. The fact that I no longer have Vallisneria Americana in the duck pond or either of the kiddie swimming pool fish ponds indicates that the runner ducks certainly agreed with that research.
So how do we add this important, perennial, green duck feed plant to a natural pond in a way that we can grow plenty of it for the ducks to graze daily and be able to regrow it?
Anchor Your Vallisneria Americana With Pea Gravel In A Natural Clay Pond To Prevent Your Garden Ducks From Pulling It Up
Since Jungle Val is native to bodies of water with a lot of sandy, rocky soils, its roots prefer these airy substrates which are loose enough so that the plants have plenty of space to grow robust roots and spread quickly. This is something we definitely want in the duck pond as the goal is to have an underwater eelgrass field to help keep the pond water clear and to give them the maximum amount of greens to eat on a daily basis.
As this pond has been being used daily by the ducks for at least 6 months, it is now, it has plenty of plant nutrition available to the Jungle Val and is well on its way to be properly gleyed and leak free. With that said, I have not closed up the pond to deny access to the ducks but instead have flipped milk crates over top of the newly installed Vallisneria Americana plants to keep them from pulling them out. I believe it is important to let the plants melt back on their own and adjust to their new environment without forcefully cutting off the greenery.
Following advice from Walstad Method enthusiasts in the aquarium hobby, I created a thick “cap” of pea gravel tossed on top of the clay in order to spread it evenly. I mean, to literally take it out in handfuls or with a bucket and swing and toss the pea gravel so that it separates and spreads and then to do this repeatedly in order to layer it on top of the clay.
The goal is to do a 4 inch pea gravel layer at the bottom of the duck pond to serve as the thick Benthic layer of the pond and to have enough weight to the pea gravel that the Jungle Val will be very difficult to pull up for the ducks.
Ducks are surprisingly vigorous, strong, little feathered thieves, so it is important not to skimp on this gravel layer, as they will try to pull up almost any plant just because they seem to enjoy pulling things up. It is also important to note that the entire Eelgrass plant is edible for the ducks, and apparently also for desperate humans if you find yourself lost in the wild and must forage for food.
Anyways, the ducks will eat the entire plant if given the chance, hence the reason why all of the Jungle Val I had previously planted in the kiddie swimming pool fish ponds has mysteriously vanished.