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Milberger's Nursery and Landscaping
3920 North Loop 1604 E.
San Antonio, TX 78247

Open 9 to 6 Mon. through Sat.
and 10 to 5 on Sun.

Three exits east of 281, inside of 1604
Next to the Diamond Shamrock station
Please click map for more detailed map and driving directions.

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Holes in Lily Pads


Question: I have water lilies in my home pond that is spring fed. It has bass and trout and sun fish and the normal pond creatures. My question is for some reason this year my water lily pads have been getting circular brown rings on them. After awhile this ring does a pop like noise and a hole the size of the ring appears. I have enclosed pictures.

Answer: The spots on the leaves are most likely a fungus infection. I would snip off the leaves in question and discard in a closed plastic bag. You want to cut the leaf stem at the dirt level.

From the looks of the leaves, there is another problem that you have, and that is something is eating your leaves. I'm highly suspicious that the pop noise that you're describing is actually fish under the plant sucking on the leaves. That noise is like I've heard when koi are eating water lilies. They don't have teeth to chew, so they suck on the leaf until the bite breaks off. I suppose that the process could be described by a "pop like noise". (Well, koi DO have teeth but they're far back in their mouth and are useless for this particular meal.) 

If your fish are not eating the plants, then something else is. The guilty culprit could be worms or turtles. One easy culprit to catch is to carefully look on the leaf tops. You want to look for a small piece of leaf that is on top of the main leaf. If you see anything like that, carefully lift up the little piece and I'll bet you'll see a little worm under that leaf like a sandwich. If so, it is most likely the China mark moth larvae. Keep an watchful eye on your pond late at night at various hours. I bet you'll see something out there. If it's worms, try sprinkling Dipel Dust on the leaves. This will kill most, but not all, of the worms that eat water lilies. The powder is plant and fish safe. The plants will look weird with the white powder, but they'll be safe from most worms. Once the destruction has stopped, simply wash the plants off. 

Happy pondering!

Duane Eaton,  Pond Planner (