Beneficial Buffers: Native Plants For Ponds & Lakes In the South
Establishing a beneficial buffer around your lake or pond’s shoreline and littoral zone can help reduce the likelihood of water quality issues and erosion damage. Buffers also provide habitat for native birds, help deter geese, and hinder mosquitoes by minimizing habitat for their breeding. Beneficial buffers should be composed of native grasses and flowering species and should extend three to five feet or more from the water’s edge to receive maximum benefits.
Below are native buffer plants to Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Mississippi, Alabama, Louisiana, Kentucky, Arkansas, and Georgia areas. These plant species will help filter excess nutrients like phosphorus and nitrogen from entering the water column where they can potentially fuel algal blooms and nuisance aquatic plant growth. In addition, native plants can also help secure the shoreline with their roots, helping keep soil in place when natural erosion occurs.
Please reference the USDA plant database to confirm a plant is native to your area before adding it to your beneficial buffer.
Native Buffer Plants to the South
Pickerelweed (Pontedaria cordata)
Bulrush (Schoenoplectus spp.)
Swamp Milkweed (Asclepias incarnata L)
Soft Rush (Juncus effusus)
Ostrich Fern (Matteuccia Todaro)
Lizard's Tail (Saururus cernuus)
Water Willow (Justicia americana)
Boneset (Eupatorium perfoliatum)
Sweet Flag (Acorus americanus)
White Turtlehead (Chelone glabra)
Horsetail (Equisetum hyemal)
String Lily (Crinum americanum)
Spikerush (Eleocharis spp.)
Rush (Juncus spp.)
Arrowhead (Sagittaria latifolia)
Summersweet (Clethra alnifolia)
Monkeyflower (Mimulus ringens)
Cardinal Flower (Lobelia cardinalis)
Buttonbush (Cephalanthus occidentalis)
Iris (Iris spp)
Highbush Blueberry (Vaccinium corymbosum)
Jewelweed (Impatiens capensis)
Grass-leaf blazing star (Liatris pilosa)
Rain Lily (Zephyranthes atamasca)
Sand Cordgrass (Spartina bakeri)
Passion Vine (Passiflora incarnata)
Indian Wood Oats (Chasmanthium latifolium)
Bloodroot (Sanguinaria canadensis)
Swamp Rose Mallow (Hibiscus moscheutos)
Trillium (Trillium spp.)
Black-Eyed Susan (Rudbeckia hirta)
Wild columbine (Aquilegia canadensis)
Penstemon (Penstemon digitalis)
Scorpion's Tail (Heliotropium angiospermum)
Muhly Grass (Muhlenbergia capillaris)
Blue Mistflower (Conoclinium coelestinum)
Fakahatchee Grass (Tripsacum dactyloides)
Foam Flower (Tiarella cordifolia)
Prostrate Porterweed (Stachytarpheta jamaicensis)
Woolgrass (Scirpus cyperinus)
Arrow Arum (Peltandra virginica)
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