We survived the Pandemic so far. I hope you did too. What may have been worse in our pond world recently was the severe weather in February. Many of us had to brave the cold to try to keep a hole open in the ice on the pond. We sold out of pond de-icers and most of our aerators. It might be a good idea to pick one up if you weren’t able to get either one then.
As we are still not having classes to help you get ready for the season, this newsletter will be devoted to tips that you would normally receive in our class.
It’s algae time again. Not a lot maybe but you will start seeing some if you haven’t already. My advice right now is to hold off on the treatments and begin to do partial water changes. If you are just now opening your pond for the season, do a 50% change. Remember to add dechlorinator if you’re on municipal water. After that do only 10% a week or 20% every other week. This will help achieve balance in your pond. If you are feeding your fish, I hope it is a cold weather food and you’re only giving them as much as they can consume in a couple of minutes. Otherwise, you’re feeding the pond, not the fish. Decomposing organic matter like excess food, waste, leaves, and dead plants are the food that alga grows on.
Bacteria can be added when your water temps reach a consistent 55 degrees. MicrobeLift makes a summer startup package with a liquid and powder formula to kickstart the colony in your pond.
Trim off any perennial plants you didn’t get around to before it got too cold. Take them down to about an inch or two above your highest water level. This would include many of your marginal plants like Sweet Flag, reeds, bacopa, water chestnut, cannas, sedges, taro, swamp lily, papyrus, cattails and rushes. Leaving dead standing growth will inhibit the new growth and look bad later in the season.
Depending on your type of filter system, now is the time to insure it is ready to go. If it contains internal media clean it with pond water if you can. If it contains a UV light, get a new bulb. Check all the fittings. Pull the pump out of the skimmer or bottom of the pond and give it a good cleaning. If you did all these things in the Fall, it will be even easier now. Add a good dose of bacteria--after you do the water change.There are several good brands around, we prefer Microbe-Lift products Spring/Summer Startup, the packets contain strong psychrotrophic bacteria to work in the warming waters of spring and summer. They also contain cellulase enzymes in a bran base. The only thing visible will be the bran base because bacteria and enzymes are microscopic. Both will work together to provide a cleaner pond going into the active season when fish become active and plants begin to sprout new growth.
Since Nitrifying bacteria kick in at water temps of 55°F for ammonia removal, this would be an ideal temperature to start feeding the fish. Think about a few Cheerios. They are easily digestible and do not increase the ammonia levels in the pond. Or, you might feed a high quality cold weather food until pond temps reach 65-70. Then resume with your normal seasonal food. Remember, what you don't feed them they will find in the pond and that will most likely be alga.
Remember to check your UV light if you are not leaving it run all winter. Either remove it entirely or at least winterize it with a heat tape or insulation to help keep the fragile quartz tube from breaking and ruining the electronics. If your system doesn't allow you to insulate it, consider making a by pass to the plumbing so it can be removed. Come in and we can figure it out together. We probably have the necessary parts to build one.
You may want fertilize your lilies now. Push a fertilizer tab down near the rhizome about a finger depth and a finger away. If you weren't able to trim off dead foliage in the fall. do it now.Raise them up to a shelf or place them on a upturned basket to get them nearer the surface where they can enjoy some Spring Sun and warmth, as they grow, you can lower them back down to their original place.
Nice break for the Winter but it's good to be back in the saddle. I hope we can all get our ponds in line and just enjoy the Summer.
Always be humble and kind,
Nothing is going to replace good old fashioned labor. You're going to have to spend some time as weather permits to get your pond up and running like you want it. First thing I'd do is a water change. Take out 50% of the water. Replace it. De-chlorinate if you are on a municipal water system. Be sure your dechlorinator will remove both chlorine and chloramines. Get that done and take a break.
Classes SPRING/SUMMER 2021 SCHEDULEAt this time we are not planning on conducting any classes. If we ever can have classes again, what do you consider the most important for you? Spring Startup, Algae Control, Filtration, Winterizing, Pond design or Plants/Fish and Algae.
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