by: Brandi McFadden
Do you have a pond in the backyard with plants, goldfish, and maybe a koi or two?
Would you rather tell the neighbors you have an enhanced water feature stocked with Shebunkin and Lionhead Goldfish, Tancho Sanke and Nishiki Koi, thriving in a natural setting with plants like Pickerel, Curly waterweed, and Water Hyacinth?
This and more are possible if you take time for maintenance. Think of your pond as a water garden. Like any garden you need to maintain the plants, monitor the water (instead of the soil in this case), and keep out unwanted pests and weeds.
Whether you are looking at a small fountain or a small lake, owners of water features have one common enemy.
Algae, Algae, and you guessed it, Algae.
Like dandelions in your lawn or clover in your flower garden, Algae is part of the water landscape.
The key – know what resources Algae needs, and then limit those resources.
Algae varieties come in many forms, but all forms thrive with sunlight, low oxygen levels, and nutrients (nitrates and phosphates).
1st – Limit Sunlight
Congratulations if you are blessed with large shade trees over the pond. Think of the shade and those leaves as natural algae control as you clean them out of the pond each fall. This thought helps the leaf removal task seem less arduous.
If you do not have lots of shade trees then make your own. Add a variety of plants in and around the pond to provide the necessary shade.
There are many added benefits to pond plants:
As with all plants, your pond plants need to be pruned, thinned, and provided with adequate nutrients.
2nd – Dissolved Oxygen
Lots of oxygen in the water has numerous advantages (including limiting algae growth):
Beside adding plants to your pond as an oxygen source – install a pump to circulate water. Adding a pump opens a whole new range of pond possibilities:
3rd – Limit Nutrients
There are numerous avenues of pond maintenance, tips of the trade, and best management practices we could explore. For the near future – work on the algae issue and check back for future pond maintenance advice.
If you plan to dive in the pond and clean out leaves or prune up plants, then 50 degrees Fahrenheit is the magic temperature:
When the neighbors stop by, you are not performing boring pond maintenance; you are monitoring and maintaining your natural water feature for balanced water chemistry to promote a healthy pond ecosystem.