For the landowner ready to covert a section of property over to a moist-soil management regime or a permanent aquatic community, specific plantings will jump-start the impoundment and attract have ducks in the first year. While annual grains — corn, sorghum, millet, rice and buckwheat — can be planted around the edges and on mud flats; these plants must be cultivated accordingly with specific herbicides and seasonal care to get a good seed crop during the season. And since these plants are annuals, they must be replanted every year.
For the best results, landowners should plant perennial species for a longer-lasting and more-efficient solution. While often planted for turkeys, chufa is a perfect duck food. Banana water lily, native to the southern states, is one of the best to plant and is gaining popularity across the South. It is an ideal solution for landowners looking to convert their temporary impoundments over to permanently-flooded habitats.
Banana water lily is a highly productive plant that provides migrating waterfowl with literally tons of food in the form of tubers, fruits and seeds. And the best part is, you only need to plant it one time. Banana water lily naturally regenerates and will grow in almost an invasive manner, providing ducks with a consistent food source. For the best results, banana water lily should be planted between January and April. Unlike most plantings, actual banana water lily plants are harvested and transplanted into the new site. It can be planted in saturated mud banks or inundated impoundments or ponds where the water is less than four feet deep — one to two feet is ideal.
Jim Hills of Frost Waterfowl in Georgetown, S.C., is the primary propagator and distributor of banana water lily in the Southeast. On his farm, Hills had struggled to keep a few of his impoundments dry enough, so it is very tolerant of a high water table. But the best solution on permanently flooded sites to produce the most waterfowl food for the least amount of effort is to plant an aquatic plant species that ducks love. Landowners can plant a wide variety of aquatic plants such as: sago pondweed, water celery, smartweed, and banana water lily.
Hills once planted corn, sorghum, and millet. After many years of disappointments, he converted these impoundments to banana water lily, and his duck usage increased tremendously. Hills continues to convert dry land impoundments over to permanently flooded systems. For more information about banana water lily and how to obtain a shipment plants, contact Jim Hills at Frost Waterfowl (843-546-9104).