Creating a Native Plant Buffer for Effective Lake Management

By itself, a plant buffer can help improve the health and aesthetics of a water body, but there are also many lake management practices that enhance the natural benefits of a buffer. A long-term pond or lake management plan that includes a plant buffer, pond aeration, shoreline erosion control, and beneficial bacteria will bring a strategic approach, helping to ensure all aspects of your freshwater ecosystem are appropriately cultivated. By allowing beneficial plants to take root, your waterbody can function both as a beautiful spot for the community to enjoy and a refuge for native wildlife.

Ideally, a plant buffer should extend three to five feet from the water’s shoreline and reach no more than waist-high. While buffers made up of native plants and vegetation should never be mowed, a lake management plant should include some planned maintenance. They can be trimmed annually to promote healthy growth and maintain its beauty. Buffers should include a mix of beneficial plant species, like native aquatic grasses, upland plants, sedges, rushes, and other species. Popular, beneficial plants include blue flag iris, pickerelweed, cardinal flower, lizards tail, and swamp milkweed. A pond and lake management specialist can recommend other plant species that are easy to maintain and targeted to your specific geographic region.