Water Garden Maintenance

Water Garden Maintenance -Water garden care, pond maintenance, algae control.

Water Garden Maintenance

Water Garden Maintenance - Like all things in gardening, pond maintenance is essential. So we discuss water garden care here for items like algae control.

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Like with anything in life, there's a downside to water gardening. Just like you have to maintain your flower beds and lawn, you have to factor maintenance into your yearly regime when you have a water garden.

In reality, it's not that bad and the small amount of work you'll have to do is certainly worth the amount of joy that your water garden will bring you! Below, you'll find lots of tips on water garden maintenance and care to make your job easier.

Water garden supplies

Water Garden Maintenance - Winterize


If you live in a cold-weather region, one of the first things you might want to know is "what do I have to do to prepare my pond for winter?"

If you have your pond in a leaf drop area in the fall, be prompt in removal of the leaves prior to the leaves falling to the bottom of the pond. If you have extreme leaf drop, consider covering your pond with a net or a screen when the leaves are falling.

Trim back your Marginal Aquatic plants in the fall. You can tell the proper timing for this by monitoring the foliage. When the foliage turns brown, cut them back by 2/3 their height. In cold weather areas, remove your pond filter in the fall and re-install in the spring when the water temperature reaches 50 to 60 degrees.

You can leave the remainder of the pond alone for the winter months and no maintenance is required. For the coldest winter conditions, consider a pond pump protector.

Stop all fertilizing of plants in the fall and move the hardy water lilies to the deepest part of the pond If the pond will freeze over form more than a week in the winter, consider a small pond heater to keep an area of the pond open.

Trapped gasses can be harmful to the fish. Some people have also bundled up rush reads, which are hollow, and placed them around the perimeter of the pond. Also consider running a small bubbler during the winter months. This will keep an area open and provide the side benefit of supplying oxygen to the fish.

Consider site drainage

Water Garden Maintenance - Liner Leaks

Dealing with Liner Leaks:

If you decided to install a fiberglas pool and you develop a leak, obtain a fiberglas patch kit. If you develop a leak in your liner you can use a seem welder and glue a repair patch on the liner.

Unfortunately, you'll need to drain the pond for these operations - drying the surface and allowing adequate time for the adhesive to dry and outgas before refilling it.

Dealing with Mosquito's Breeding in the Water Garden

If you have a problem with mosquito's, make sure you are circulating the water adequately in your pond. Koi will take care of most if not all of the mosquito larvae though. Make sure you do not have any trapped areas of water, especially in the bog plant areas.

If you develop a pest problem in your aquatic plants, immediately remove the suspected plants from the pond and treat them separately. Usually the culprits are caterpillars and aphids.

Be sure to stay away from poisons and utilize an eco-friendly cure. You can use Bacillus thutingiensis (BT) for the caterpillars and a diluted solution of Simple Green to treat for aphids.

Water Garden Maintenance - Water Level:

Part of water garden maintenance is making sure that your pond water level is always where it should be. This is best for healthy plants, fish, and liner protection. Also, if the water drops below the inlet of the skimmers, you will run your pump dry and you'll quickly burn out the pump.

The best option is an auto-filler which includes a float to measure water level and a connection to a water supply to keep the water level at optimum levels all the time. Water level will only become a concern during the hot weather where evaporation becomes as issue.

You can also hand fill the pond as long as you don't add more that 5 percent of the water volume at any one time.

Water Garden Maintenance - PH Levels:

Optimum PH for your pond is between 6.8 and 8.5. If your levels get outside these numbers, you risk the health of your fish and plants.

Quick Tip: If you keep your levels on the upper side of the PH range you will get less algae growth, but by no means have the ph exceed 8.5. Two natural ways to raise to control the PH level in your pond include crushed coral to raise the PH level, and bogwood to lower it.

You may have to use chemicals for quick fixes, but you are always better using a natural solution - which will last longer and not harm you, your fish, the environment, etc.

What size pond is right for you?

Water Garden Maintenance - Pond Algae

Algae Control

In time, your plants will gravitate to a eco-balanced state and algae will not be a problem. After you first fill your pond and have some warm weather, you will most certainly experience an "algae bloom".

Your water will turn green and you will wonder what you did wrong. This is common, don't be alarmed by it. One your plants mature and your fish acclimate, your pond will become balanced and this will no longer be an issue.

If you install a filtration system, consider installing a UV filter that will "zap" the algae and do a good job of scrubbing your pond.

If you do find that you have an algae problem that just won't go away, try using a natural product like Green Clean for algae control. It's a copper based product that won't harm fish, birds, or other household pets once it's been added to the water.

Water Garden Maintenance - Pond Cleaning:

Making sure your pond stays clean is one of the most important water garden maintenance activities you can engage in. Keep your pond clean and you won't ever have to deal with a lot of the other problems you might encounter.

Weekly - Remove all dead leaves from the surface of your pond. Remove dead and dying lily pads and trip the dead growth from your bog plants. Keep a pool net on hand for the skimming operations.

Every Few Years: This is optional, but consider draining your entire pond every few years for optimal water garden maintenance. If you do this, keep the fish in a large container with aeration installed and keep them in the shade. Pump out the water with a submersible pump - these can be rented very easily and should be a rather high capacity to make this operation as short a possible.

Use a very soft-bristled brush to clean the liner, wash it down and pump out the sludge - into your garden plants of course as they will love it!

Protect your aquatic plants and do not let them dry out. Place them in a water-filled pool, in the shade. A small kids pool will work fine. Do not scrub the beneficial algae off the sides of the pond.

Do not use detergents or other cleaning agents as they are not necessary and will harm your pond balance and could kill your fish when you return them to your cleaned pond.

Decide on pond depth

Water Garden Maintenance - Eco Pond

Water Efficiency for a Eco Pond:

For maximum water efficiency, consider limiting the use of tall plants. Some of the bog plants transpire a lot of water into the air, which wastes water. Plants below 12" in height, and especially water lilies, conserve water, so consider weighing your water garden toward lower plant growth.

Be sure to install timers for all water features, pumps and lighting. Carefully control the systems to achieve optimal results. For instance, you may decide to run your waterfall and circulation system for a few hours in the morning and again in the evening, when you can enjoy it. Naturally lighting should come on with a photocell and off with a timer after bedtime hours.

Water Garden Maintenance - Wind Barriers:

Wind can be the biggest source of water evaporation of your pond. If you live in an area that receives a lot of wind consider installation of a wind barrier such as a fence, a stand of bamboo or other natural wind block.

Water Garden Maintenance - Sick Fish:

It's important to note that your fish are most susceptible to disease when you are performing major water garden maintenance. With all the changes, they can easily become stressed. This typically happens between 3 and 4 weeks after the maintenance so watch your fish carefully during this time.

You can minimize the possibility that your fish will get sick by delaying maintenance during the cooler spring and fall months and the warmest summer months. If you do detect disease, catch it early to keep it from spreading by visiting your local water garden supplier for proper treatment methods and medicine.

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Here's Some Additional Water Gardening Articles

Water Gardens Home Page
Water Garden Design
Water Garden Construction
Water Garden Features
Water Garden Fish
Water Garden Maintenance
Water Garden Plants