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Water Gardening - Seasonal Care

Spring
  • Remove any dead leaves and rotting organic matter which may still cover the pond.
  • Check the electric wiring and equipment and make sure the stored pump is in working order.  Then, in May, reconnect the submersible pump for the fountain or waterfall.
  • Late spring is the best time for restocking your pond with plants which will provide a summer display.
  • Overcrowded water lilies and other aquatics will need to be lifted and divided.
  • As fish are coming out of dormancy, feed the fish a food low in protein.

Summer

  • The main job in summer is to enjoy your pond.  There are fish and wildlife to watch and aquatic flowers to admire.
  • Do all the spring jobs you forgot to do before late summer arrives, plant aquatics, introduce new fish and remove any debris from the surface of the pond, if necessary.
  • In hot and dry weather the water level can drop up to 2" in a week.  replace the loss regularly by trickling in water through a hose, do not wait until the level is low enough to lead to damage to the liner, fish and plants.
  • Remove any dead leaves from water plants.
  • Over-vigorous marginals may need trimming back.
  • Fertilize water plants.
  • Check submerged pump regularly for blockages. 
  • Continue feeding the fish with floating food in flake or pellet form sprinkled on the surface at noon or early afternoon.   Only feed fish once a day what they can eat in 3-5 minutes.  Keep an eye on the fish for any signs of illness.
  • Also, watch for pests.   Occassionally, spray the leaves of marginals with water from a hose in order to knock insects which will then serve as food for the fish.

Autumn

  • The prime task is to remove as much unwanted organic matter as possible.  Remove any debris from the surface of the pond.   If needed, use a leaf net to catch excessive falling leaves.
  • It is important to cut back the marginals once the leaves and stems have turned brown, as fallen leaves would pollute the pond and overwintering stems would provide a haven for pests. 
  • Cut back the oxygenators early in the month.
  • If deciduous trees are nearby, it is essential to put a fine mesh net over the surface to prevent leaves falling into the water.  It is a good idea to leave this net on until the spring if herons are a problem.
  • The proper feeding of fish in early autumn is important as it is necessary to build up their reserves for winter.  Feed them a high protein food.  Then, as temperatures start to drop and the fish are less active, slowly switch to a spring/autumn food and decrease feedings.

Winter

  • Clean pond if necessary.
  • Remove non-hardy aquatics such as water lettuce, tropical water lilies and tropical fish and leaves them to overwinter indoors.
  • Cut hardy water plants back and drop to the deepest part of the pond.
  • When it comes to protecting fish and plants, move them indoors if the pond is small and likely to freeze solid.  Non-hardy plants need to be in a bucket or other container under a grow light.  Hardy plants do not need the light.
  • Thoroughly clean your biological filter, if applicable, and leave drainage valve open.
  • Remove, clean and store the submersible pump and replace with a pool heater.
  • Continue to decrease feedings until the temperature drops below 50F.  Below this temperature, stop feeding altogether.
  • If an ice sheet covers the whole of the surface for more than a couple of days, the gases which are produced by decaying organic matter build up to toxic levels which can kill the fish.  An air hole must be created to let theses vapors escape.  This can not be done by taking a hammer to the ice.  The shock waves will concuss the fish.  A simple method is to stand a pan of hot water on the surface until it melts through and then if possible, remove some of the pond water to lower the level about 1/2".

General Maintenance Tips

  • Invest in a water testing kit.   Test for ammonia and nitrite levels.
  • Keep your pond filled, do not let it evaporate.
  • Provide aeration in the form of a pump, fountain or waterfall.  Splashing water keeps the water oxygenated which is essential for supporting fish.
  • Feed fish properly.  Feed them only what they can eat in 5 minutes.  In hot weather, don't worry if the fish are not eating, this is normal.

 


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3459 Cleveland-Massillon Rd.  Norton, OH 44203

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