Seasonal Northern Pond Care by Jeff Salmon
Transplant Hardy Water lilies to larger pots, place in shallow water to encourage growth, use Once a Year pond fertilizer sticks. Hardy marginal plants, water iris, marsh marigold will be among the first to use any excess nutrients in the water. Clean pond, vac debris from bottom, do 30% water change. Divide marginal plants, try planting companion plants in large pots. Start pump and filter as soon as ice has left pond. (The circulation will warm water) Begin feeding fish once or twice weekly with when water is consistently above 50F (only what can be consumed in 5 minutes) Test Salt level ( free service at Arbordale) and install fresh barley pillow to prevent string algae. If bottom can't be vacuumed clear add Muck Tablets. Test water weekly .Introduce oxygenating plants when water temp is above 50F. Toss in hornwort, all others including elodia, cabomba, rotella, wisteria should be potted. Seed pond and filter with nitrifying bacteria like UltraClear BPC when temp hits 55F. As water warms gradually lower hardy lilies to 18". After last frost duckweed and azolla can be added. After water temp is above 60F add water hyacinth, water lettuce, parrots feather. Add barley bale if haven't done so yet or add Barley Extract Plus . Water changes of 20% or less every few weeks maintain water quality. When adding new fish try to keep population at or below 1" per 20 gal on water. Add Crystal Clear Biological Clarifer pouches bi-weekly and UltraClear Biological Clarifier weekly to maintain filter health. When cleaning sponge filters use pond water as tap water will kill the beneficial bacteria. If organic litter has accumulated on bottom add Muck Tablets. Addition of Pond Tint is the best way to help prevent algae and enhance water reflection as filter starts up. Test water weekly
Introduce oxygenating plants when water temp is above 50F. Toss in hornwort, all others including elodia, cabomba, rotella, wisteria should be potted. Lotus are ready for the pond in shallow warm water. Increase feeding as fish become more active.If fish are rooting in pots try covering with more pebbles. If pond water hasn't cleared yet add more submerged plants and water hyacinths. Once water temperature is 70F fertilize water lilies biweekly. When water temp is consistently 68-70F add tropical lilies. Snails can scavenge and help clean your pond add up to 1 per every 3 sq. ft. A UV sterilizer can clear your water overnight and kill parasites - investigate this option. Add Crystal Clear Biological Clarifer biweekly and UltraClear Biological Clarifier weekly to maintain filter health. Feed fish 2 - 3 times daily for maximum growth and color. Make sure fish have shady area, 2/3 coverage of pond surface is best. Some pruning is now necessary, remove decaying leaves and spent blooms. Check for leaves and debris falling into pond and add Muck Tablet enzymes if organic matter is collecting on bottom. Addition of Pond Colorant may considered to help algae control and enhance water reflection. Check filter for clogging, rinse out with pond water. Aeration can greatly increase the clarity and water quality, consider air pump. If adding more than 10% chlorinated water use must use a dechlorinator. If plants are taking over surface, thin out to avoid oxygen depletion. If you are having a problem with water clarity now you probably need more plants. To keep oxygen levels up if your fish population is high run a air pump at night. Check filter for clogging, rinse in a pail of pond water.
When water temp is 50-55 reduce fish feeding. Feed with Spring/Fall food the rest of the year. Always net off uneaten food. Tropical Lilies are still putting on a spectacular show, remember to remove spent flowers. Cover pond with pond netting to catch falling leaves. Just prior to the first frost discard water hyacinths, water lettuce, cat's tongue. When hardy lily leaves become scarce, lower to 3 foot level. Most hardy plants require a period of dormancy, if storing indoors, store below 50F, keep moist and dark. Hardy marginal plants should be planted at ground level for the winter in a damp area and mulched for protection. Check filter for clogging , rinse in a pail of pond water. To prevent spring problems remove all fallen leaves and clean bottom debris.
Visit Arbordale for our Pond Winterization clinics.
Bring out your pond deicer or check your aerator or raise to maintain a hole in the ice for gas escape. Add Muckoff Tablets and Spring/Fall Prep to prevent bacterial infections. Clean and vacuum debris from bottom of pond. UV Sterilizers and external pond filters should be moved indoors for winter. Shallow ponds which are not kept running should have pump removed and stored in a pail of water. Stop feeding fish when water drops below 45F. Add Pond Salt. Remove all plants from ponds that will freeze completely over. Periodically check plants stored in cold room to ensure they stay moist. . Test water bi-weekly