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Landenberg, Pennsylvania, United States
Based in Landenberg, PA PLG offers Landscape Installation and Maintenance to Southern Chester County and Northern Delaware

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Water Garden Maintenance......Season by Season

               While water gardens are an integral and beautiful part of any garden they take a little work to maintain.  Integrating a seasonal plan for your pond or waterfall makes it easy!!  Since we are in winter here in Southeastern Pennsylvania we will start there.
Fall and Winter
               When the leaves start to fall it is time to think about calling LawnScapes to install leaf netting over your pond.  Leaves falling into you pond from the trees above will throw off the balance of your pond.  Decaying leaves also accumulate on the bottom and create a sludge that can build up over time making the pond shallow.  The skimmer or filter installed with your pond is only designed to pull a random few leaves or the occasional floating debris, not a whole tree’s worth.  The last option, and most labor intensive, is to skim the leaves out of your pond every day.  If your pond has fish, this is the time when their metabolism starts to slow down.  The metabolism of a cold blooded creature rises and lowers with the ambient temperature.  When the water temperature drops into the sixties, decrease the amount of food and feed only once a day.  When water drops below the sixties you can decrease the feeding to two or three times a week; below 50 you should be able to stop feeding all together until the water warms back up.  Since we live in an area where the water will freeze, install a pond de-icer or bubbler.  Ice in your pond will expand and break rocks and trap toxic gases (from decomposing organic material).  Do not be tempted to break the ice up with a shovel as the shockwaves created from this can injure or kill your fish.  The plants in your pond also need tending.  Move all of your shallow water plants deep enough in the pond to keep their roots from freezing.  If your pond is to shallow to protect plants from freezing and does not contain fish, place a cover (like plywood) and a tarp over the pond to provide insulation.  Another option is to remove the plants and store them inside your home.  The best option in our area is to drain all the pipes, filter, and pump of water so they are not damaged by the freezing water.  An interesting idea is to throw some tennis balls into the pond to alleviate any pressure on the pond’s structure from the expansion of ice.
               As temperatures climb through early and mid spring start feeding your fish again working backwards from the winter feeding schedule.  Remove any accumulation of leaves or debris from the bottom of your pond with a skimmer net or pond vacuum.  There are several products that can help with the decomposition of these debris.  Be careful during this step because removing too much of the accumulated sludge and algae can upset the balance of you pond.  Now is the time to check that all of the equipment is working correctly.  Clean the filter, the skimmer box, and perform the correct maintenance on your pond pump.  Think about dividing and repotting your water plants.  When performing this procedure fertilize them as well!
               Most importantly, continue the fertilization program that you began in the spring.  As dead foliage begins to appear on your plants, prune and remove to provide more growth.  This also helps keep the pond free from excess debris.  Your fish will be voracious during this time of the year.  Feed them a high protein diet to help them store fat for the winter.  During the summer it is extremely important to ensure that the pond has proper aeration, if not install an additional pump for aeration purposes.  Water will be evaporating more that ever during the summer months.  IF you do not have an automatic fill, add water in intervals.  Adding to much water at once can disturb the temperature balance, chemical levels, and the pH level.  Summer is the time to really enjoy all of the work you put into your pond so, sit back and take in the view!    
These just some general guidelines to point you in the correct direction, if you have any questions or concerns, call us, and we will do our best to answer any questions your may have!  Please visit our website at www.lawn-scapes.net.

-Matt Bradley

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