According to Jungle Labs of Cibolo, Texas, paying care to ponds in five important areas in the autumn may help maintain them healthy until April.
Debris: Aside from reducing oxygen levels, debris such as decaying leaves may supply nutrients to algae in the spring. If more than a half-inch of sludge has formed at the pond’s bottom, owners should either remove it or add a cool-weather biological solution to aid in the decomposition of the leaves and other muck.
Water: Check the pH level on a regular basis and adjust as needed. According to Jungle, the pH should be between 6.5 and 7.5. Jungle also recommends maintaining at least some water from freezing, either using a deicer or a bubbler, so that machinery may operate without danger of freezing.
Feed your fish carefully. As water temperatures decrease, switch to a higher-carb, lower-protein feed to fatten fish. Stop feeding before the water temperature falls below 55 degrees Fahrenheit. Fish will cease digesting food at this time, and undigested material will rot, perhaps leading to an internal bacterial infection.
Plants: Keep plants trimmed to a minimum over the winter to prevent leaves from falling into the water and rotting, resulting in methane and sludge buildup. Fertilize no more. Hardy bog plants may be left alone as long as the roots and tubers do not freeze. Hardy lilies may be lowered to the pond’s bottom, below the freezing point. During the winter, tropical lilies and fragile bog plants should be removed and preserved in damp sand.
Pests: For aquatic pests such as waterlily aphids that overwinter in trees, spray surrounding fruit plants with a winter oil. Waterlily bugs also prefer to hide behind wilting leaves.
Displays that work together public display feature, such as one in a shopping mall, may be an excellent method to draw attention to water features in general and to your firm in particular. Cooperation with other, non-competitive enterprises is one option to lower the cost of implementing the feature.
This is the approach that several San Diego-area companies took when placing a display pond in a courtyard at an upscale outdoor mall in Carlsbad. KRC Rock, Aqua Terra Water Designs, Armstrong Garden Centers, Africa Thatch LLC, Samia Rose Topiary, Lighting Distinctions, and Merchant’s Landscape Services Inc. are among the partners.
Each firm is featured on flyers that may be found around the water feature.
Water Conservation Depending on the location, a well-designed pond might require three or four times as much water as a lawn with the same surface area. This is something to be proud of, especially in areas where water usage is an issue, according to Jan Phillips of Shady Lakes Water Gardens in a Pondapalooza 2004 seminar titled “Pondscaping & Smart Use of Water.”
So, what characteristics distinguish a well-designed pond?
First, it is made of a watertight material. Phillips favors flexible EPDM pond liners. Concrete and pre-formed liners, for example, are more prone to cracking and leaking as the weather changes.
The pond should then be placed so that it receives no more than 8 hours of direct sunlight per day. In Phillips’ area, near Albuquerque, N.M., 6 to 8 hours is optimal, and 3 hours is the minimum. More sunlight evaporates too much water, causing many aquatic plants, such as hyacinths, shellflower, and variegated water celery, to burn.
Windbreaks, even low landscape plantings, are required to prevent water from blowing out of a feature.
Another factor to consider is the depth of the water. The shallower the water, the faster it warms and the faster it evaporates. A depth of 2 feet, according to Phillips, will cool the water, reduce evaporation, and prevent algae growth. She recommends deeper ponds for full-sun ponds.
Plant abundantly. The more plants there are, the more sun protection the water receives. Phillips recommends planting 50 to 75 percent of the surface area to reduce evaporation. Waterlilies are a natural choice due to their broad leaves. According to Phillips, floating and short-growing aquatics like hyacinth can reduce evaporation by 10%. Water loss will be increased by tall, broad-leaved plants like canna, lotus, and taro.