Which type of pond owner are you? Do you love fish and enjoy keeping koi as pets? Or maybe you’re an avid gardener that desired a pond so you could expand your outdoor plant and flower options. The majority of pond owners choose a pond in order to enjoy its overall beauty in addition to the soothing sound of the waterfall and/or stream. Regardless of which type of pond owner you are, it’s important to understand why you need plants in your pond and how they enhance the overall ecosystem.
Plants Play An Important Role In An Ecosystem Pond
Aquatic Plants provide beauty and naturalization while offering the plant enthusiast a whole new world of plant choices. Most importantly, they help balance the pond ecosystem by providing valuable biological filtration that removes nitrogen, ammonia, nitrates, and other minerals from the water that algae would otherwise feed and flourish upon. All this minimizes pond maintenance, leaving more time to enjoy your beautiful water garden. Without hardworking aquatic plants, your pond would not be able to function as its own little ecosystem.
Aquatic Plants Provide Food and Shelter
The plants in your pond provide food, shade, and protection for the fish, wildlife, and aquatic life that live in and around the pond. They also provide areas for fish to spawn and a safe place for frogs and toads to lay their eggs. But plants don’t even need to be in the pond in order to help your wildlife. Plants placed around the edges of your pond attract birds looking for food and shelter, while blooming plants attract beneficial insects, butterflies, and others to your watery paradise.
Waterlilies, the most popular of all aquatic plants, spread a multitude of leaves across the surface that shades the water. This natural umbrella comes in beautiful hues of green, providing shade that keeps the water at a comfortable temperature for your fish, as well as aids in preventing algae growth.
Aquatic Plants Add Visual Beauty
Aquatic plants also provide pleasure to the pond lover. There’s something special and delightful when seeing a frog pop its head up between the lily pads, or watching him pause on top of the round leaf. Equally interesting is spotting a dragonfly zipping around the pond and coming to rest on a waterlily bloom. This euphoric paradise wouldn’t be possible without the plants.
Being in the presence of all of the lush plantings creates an atmosphere of a tropical paradise without the expense and travel time of a formal vacation.
What Happens If There Are No Pond Plants?
Eliminate plants from the ecosystem pond and what you have is the equivalent of a lawn without a landscape. Not to mention, you’ve greatly reduced the beneficial filtration in the pond. By itself, clean and clear water has an attractive quality, but in order to make it naturally clear, plants are an absolute necessity.
A common misconception is that pond plants are hard to grow and difficult to maintain. The fact is, most aquatic plants are easy to grow provided they’re planted at the right depth and are receiving the proper amount of sunlight for that particular plant.
Aquatic Plants are Nature’s Filters
Each type of aquatic plant has its own set of requirements for optimum growth. The more a plant grows, the more food it needs. Pond plants thrive off the same nutrients as algae, so when they’re larger and consuming more nutrients, they’re starving algae of its food source. The more your plants consume, the less algae you’ll have in your pond. Bonus!
Some plants prefer to be planted in the stream because they thrive on higher oxygen levels that exist in moving water. Other plants prefer calm, still-water environments. Each aquatic plant species has its own requirements for water depth. Some prefer to grow in deeper areas of the pond, while others will only tolerate getting their feet wet in very shallow water. Having a good assortment of plants whose roots reach different depths, consuming different nutrients at each level of the pond, will provide your pond with broad-spectrum filtration.
Mix It Up with a Variety of Aquatic Plants
It’s always best to select a variety of plants for your pond. Mix it up and have fun with the colorful array of flowers, textures, and plant heights. Variety is what makes a water garden so interesting!
For an exciting color palette in your pond, try different varieties of waterlilies. And don’t be afraid to invest in tropical waterlilies, too. They come in unique colors and some bloom at night which is an advantage for people who work during the day. When you head out to your pond for a bit of relaxation after work, your night bloomers will greet you with open petals: welcome home!
When it comes to marginals and floating plants, there is an almost overwhelming array from which to choose. You can go with old standbys such as pickerel plant, cattail (dwarf is best for most backyard ponds), lizard’s tail, etc. Or you could try more exotic options like cardinal flowers, cannas, taros, and rushes.
Now That You Know Why Plants are Important in a Pond
Learning a little more about the role of plants in your pond is important to help you better understand the ecosystem you have in your very own yard. When it comes to keeping plants in your water garden, remember to stay educated and have fun. Don’t be afraid to experiment with new plants, but for best results, read up on their requirements before adding them to your pond.
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Adding plants to your pond can enhance its beauty, provide shade, improve water quality, and create a more natural ecosystem. Aquatic plants look amazing during our Phoenix summer months when all of our terrestrial plants are looking parched. The diversity of that aquatic plant life can be improved through plant exchanges with other pond owners. Pond people overall are generous and we love to share! Plant exchanges are common in pond clubs, during garden tours, etc.
If you're considering introducing plants from another person's pond into yours, it's advisable to follow some best practice procedures to ensure a successful transfer, as well as minimize the risk of introducing unwanted pests or diseases.
At The Pond Gnome, we have strict policies in place about processing the aquatic plants that come to us through donations or plant thinning during pond service. Only when they’ve been through the processing operation, do they then go into our greenhouse for introduction into the ponds that we build or maintain.
Generally, gather relevant information about the plants, including their species, growth habits, maintenance requirements, and any potential pests or diseases associated with them. This knowledge will help you make informed decisions and prevent any unwanted surprises. A quick search engine scan should do the trick if the pond owner doesn't know. You’ll want this information in order to put the right plant in the right place. For example, you don’t want a 3’ tall and wide plant in the front of your pond that might block your view into the pond. And some aquatic plants do better in calm deep water, while others prefer shallow riffling water.
Quarantine and Inspect
To minimize the risk of introducing pests, diseases, or unwanted critters into your pond (via eggs), it's a good idea to quarantine the plants (just like you would do for a new fish introduction). Keep the plants in a separate container filled with pond water for a couple of weeks. Take this time to observe the plants for any signs of pests, diseases, or abnormalities.
Rinse and Clean
Once the quarantine period is over, thoroughly rinse the plants using fresh water to remove any debris, sediment, or unwanted organisms or eggs that might have attached to them. Be gentle during this process to avoid damaging the plant's delicate roots or foliage.
Choose the Right Planting Location
Identify the ideal planting location within your pond based on the plant's specific requirements and growth habits. Some plants prefer deeper water, while others thrive in shallow areas or along the pond's edge. Consider factors such as sunlight exposure and water movement. Proper placement will promote healthy growth and prevent overcrowding.
Plant the transferred plants in your pond by gently placing their roots into the rock substrate or anchoring them in appropriate containers, depending on how your pond is built. Ensure the plants are firmly secured, preventing them from floating away or becoming dislodged or blowing over in a monsoon. Take care not to damage the plant's roots during planting, as healthy root systems are vital for their establishment and growth.
Monitor and Maintain
Regularly monitor the newly added plants for any signs of stress, disease, or adverse reactions to the location. Keep in mind that aquatic plants typically look a bit sad right after transplant, so have a bit of patience here. Prune the plants when necessary to control their growth and prevent overcrowding – and don’t forget to thin the roots occasionally to avoid water displacement leaks. By providing proper care and attention, you'll ensure the plants thrive and contribute positively to your pond ecosystem.
Adding plants from another person's pond to your own can be an exciting way to diversify your aquatic garden. By following these best practices, you can minimize the risk of introducing unwanted pests or diseases while promoting the successful establishment and growth of the transferred plants. Remember, maintaining a healthy and balanced pond ecosystem is key, so choose your plants wisely and provide them with the care they need to flourish.
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Ponds are a beautiful and relaxing addition to any landscape or garden, but they do require regular maintenance to keep them looking their best. When it comes to hiring someone to help you take care of your pond, you might be wondering whether you should hire a "pond guy" or a professional pond maintenance service. In this blog post, we'll explore the differences between the two and help you decide which is the right choice for you, whether pond is for your quality of life, for your pets, or for your birding hobby.
The “Pond Guy”
Typically, a "pond guy" is someone who offers pond maintenance services on a part-time or freelance basis, and they’re typically a one-man band. They may have some experience working with ponds, but they are not necessarily experts in the field. Most of the time, they don’t have any systems in place to be considered an actual company. On the other hand, a professional pond maintenance service is a company that specializes in maintaining ponds and has a team of experienced professionals who can provide a range of services to keep your pond in top shape.
Why Hire the “Pond Guy”
So, what are the advantages of hiring a pond guy? First and foremost, they are often less expensive than a professional service. If you have a small or simple pond that doesn't require a lot of maintenance, and you don’t mind dealing with a bit of chaos once in a while wondering when, or if, he’ll show up, a pond guy may be able to provide adequate care at a lower cost. This might be the perfect choice if you just need to call someone in occasionally, and aren’t concerned with a regularly scheduled service.
Why Not to Hire the “Pond Guy”
However, there are some drawbacks to hiring a pond guy. Because they are not necessarily experts in the field, they may not be able to diagnose and treat more complex pond issues. They may also not have access to the same level of equipment and resources as a professional service, which could limit their ability to provide comprehensive care. They may or may not be able to stick to a regular schedule, and if they’re sick, injured, or on vacation, you won’t get service.
Why Hire a Pond Professional
On the other hand, professional pond maintenance services offer a range of advantages over a pond guy. For one, they have the expertise and experience necessary to diagnose and treat any issues that arise with your pond. They also have access to specialized equipment and resources that a pond guy may not have, allowing them to provide more comprehensive care. Typically, a professional pond company will have resources to keep things on schedule, regardless of vacation, sick days, vehicle mechanical challenges, etc.
Another advantage of hiring a professional pond maintenance service is that they typically offer ongoing maintenance programs, which can help ensure that your pond stays healthy and beautiful year-round. This can be especially important if you have a larger or more complex pond that requires more frequent maintenance.
Why Not to Hire a Pond Professional
Of course, the main drawback of hiring a professional pond maintenance service is the cost. They are typically more expensive than a pond guy, which may be prohibitive for some pond owners. However, it's worth noting that the cost of professional maintenance may be offset by the peace of mind that comes with knowing your pond (and its inhabitants) is being cared for by experts, not to mention the resources to back up sick and vacation schedules.
Whether you should hire a pond guy or a professional pond maintenance service depends largely on the size and complexity of your pond, as well as your budget and personal preferences. A pond guy may be a good choice for small or simple ponds, while a professional service is likely a better option for larger or more complex ponds, or people wanting a regular schedule they can count on so that they come home every day to at least one less thing that requires their attention. Ultimately, the most important thing is to choose a provider who is reliable, knowledgeable, and committed to keeping your pond healthy and beautiful for years to come.
NEED SOME HELP WITH YOUR POND, OR ARE YOU READY TO ADD A WATER FEATURE TO YOUR OUTDOOR LIVING SPACE?
As winter begins to fade away, many pond owners start thinking about getting their Phoenix ponds ready for Spring. Proper preparation is essential for ensuring that your pond is healthy and beautiful throughout the season. Here are some tips on how to get your Phoenix pond ready for Spring.
Clean up Debris
The first step in getting your pond ready for Spring is to clean up any debris that has accumulated over the winter. Hopefully, your skimmer has done most of this for you, but it’s a good idea to net out anything that may have sunk to the bottom. Use a net to remove any leaves, sticks, and other debris that may have fallen into the pond. This will help prevent any organic matter from decomposing in the water, which can lead to poor water quality and algae growth.
Check the Equipment
Spring is also a good time to check the equipment in your pond. Inspect the pump, filter, and any other equipment to make sure they are working properly. If anything needs to be repaired or replaced, take care of it before the Spring growing season begins.
Clean Filters and/or Drain & Clean the Pond
This is also a good time to change the oil in your pump, if appropriate, as well as clean the filters. If your pond needs a complete drain & clean, there’s still time to get that done, too. If you have pond fish over 6” long, you need to get this done before the water begins to warm up for maximum fish safety.
Start Feeding Your Fish
As the weather warms up, your fish will become more active and will start to eat more. Start feeding them high quality fish food that is appropriate for their species once the water gets above 55 degrees. Feed them small amounts at first and gradually increase the amount as the weather gets warmer. Remember, water temps follow nighttime temps, not daytime temps, so don’t start too early.
Add Beneficial Bacteria
Beneficial Bacteria can help break down organic matter in your pond and prevent algae growth. Add a bacterial supplement to your pond to help keep the water clean and clear.
Plan for New Plantings
Spring is a great time to plan for any new plantings or changes you want to make, after the last danger of frost has passed. The water should be warm enough by April that they will survive the transplant procedure with confidence. Make sure to choose plants that are appropriate for your climate and that will thrive in your pond's conditions.
By following these tips, you can get your Phoenix pond ready for Spring and enjoy a beautiful and healthy pond all Summer long. With a little bit of effort and planning, you can create a beautiful backyard oasis that you and your family can enjoy for years to come!
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Crawdads. Crayfish. Crawfish. Mud bugs. Yabbies. All of these names refer to a 10-legged “mini lobster” that inhabits many of the fresh water ecosystems on our planet outside of India and Antarctica.
What are Crawdads?
Crawdads come in a wide variety of sizes and colors. Of the nearly 600 known species of Decapods, 30% are listed as endangered, and very little is actually known about another 20%. The fish tank trade ships them all over the world with different marketing names like “blue lobsters.” They are an important part of the natural food chain in their NATIVE environments, providing food for raccoons, birds, predatory fish, snakes, and last year people consumed an estimated 75,000 tons of them! To each their own.
Here in Arizona, they are NOT native, but rather were originally imported by early settlers and currently listed by our Arizona Game and Fish Department as “highly invasive.” They are omnivorous and voracious competitors to most of our native freshwater species here. They have decimated the aquatic plant life in many of our mountain streams and they do serious damage to stream banks, causing some major erosion issues.
CAN I PUT CRAWDADS in my PHOENIX Pond?
We do NOT recommend keeping them in your Sonoran Desert backyard pond for a several reasons:
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