Friday, May 6th, 2011 at 3:22 pm
According to Behnkes Aquatics Manager Bill Watts, water hyacinths and water lettuces are flying off the shelves this time of year. But for pond-owners lucky enough to have ponds in the sun, the real scene-stealers have gotta be hardy water lilies and lotuses. Above are some lotusses at their peak at the Kenilworth Aquatic Garden in D.C. during their Water Lily Festival in July. And below, water lilies.
Bill tells me his department also carries a whole slew of cool bog plants.
But guess what else people are buying for their ponds - snails and tadpoles! Bill says they’re great at keeping ponds clean. (All news to this nonpond gardener!)
Posted by Susan Harris. Frog photo by DGPhilly. Water lily photo by Cassey.
Tuesday, April 12th, 2011 at 6:37 pm
By Bill Watts, Beltsville Aquatic Manager
- Holding Tank
- Net to Cover Holding Tank
- Pump and Tubing (Could use your pond pump)
- Fish net to catch fish and scavengers
- Pond Thermometer
- Chlorine/Chloramine Remover, such as Ammo Lock
- Set up your holding tank next to the pond
- Now start pumping the water out of the pond. First fill the holding tank, and then the rest can go into the lawn or flower beds. Great Fertilizer! When the pond water level is down to a point where it is just covering your pump, turn the pump off so you don’t burn it up–the water keeps the pump cool!
- Set up a small pump to aerate the water in the holding tank. This can be the pump from the pond if you have completed the above step, or you can save time by using a second pump while the pond pump is being used to drain water from the pond.
- Remove your fish and scavengers and put them in the holding tank. It will be much easier to do now that the water is so shallow. Trying to catch fish too early only stresses the fish and could injure them. Now cover the holding tank with the net to prevent the fish from jumping out.
- Remove all plants and put them in the shade or cover with wet newspapers or towels.
- Bail out or shop vac (my favorite) the remaining water.
- Using a strong blast of water, now hose down any rocks or loose dirt on sides and bottom of pond. No need for any chemicals for the cleaning part. Rinse and drain the pond again using a bucket or shop vac.
- Start filling the pond with new water. Depending on the size of your pond, now could be a good time to attend your plants. Repotting and adding fertilizer.
- When the pond is full start up the filter and pump system. Add chlorine/chloramine remover to make the water safe for the fish. You could also add beneficial bacteria to your filter and water to speed up the process of keeping your ponds naturally balanced.
- Now add some of that treated pond water to the holding tank to help get the water in the holding tank to within 3 degrees of the pond water. Use your pond thermometer for this.
- Release your fish and scavengers back into the pond and enjoy!
Click here for Aquatic Supplies online.
Wednesday, November 17th, 2010 at 3:15 pm
According to Behnkes’ water-gardening expert Bill Watts, it’s best to do this, um, last month, but now is also fine (and better than not doing it at all), especially with our unusually warm fall.
- Stop feeding the fish and don’t feed them again until spring.
- Many pond owners cover their ponds with netting before the leaves fall and remove them after the leaves are all down. Bill leaves his netting in place all winter – to keep debris from accumulating in the pond.
- Cut back plants that are in the water back, or in the case of floating water hyacinths, just lift and toss them. You don’t want them rotting and fouling up the water. Any cold-hardy plants can stay where they are for the winter.
- Provide cover for the fish, which don’t have all that foliage to hide under. One trick is to lay a chimney pot in the water for fish to hide in. Another is to stack bricks and lay a flat rock on top of them – that’s where Bill’s large koi spend the winter.
- If you leave your pump running over the winter, closely monitor it to make sure there’s no ice obstruction building up.
- If you remove your pump or turn it off for the winter, then use a pond heater. The point is to keep at least a one-foot-wide hole in the ice at all times so that gasses can escape and the fish can breathe. Which option uses more electricity? The heater.
We’ll return to this subject next March. Promise~!
Posted by Susan Harris. Left photo by Clan UiBriain. Right photo by Conspiracy of Happiness.
Friday, March 20th, 2009 at 10:12 am
Bill Watts, our Aquatic Manager, has spelled out the step by step of spring pond clean-up right here.