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Finding a Leak in Your Water Garden – Water Garden & Feature Q & A

Finding a leak in your Water Garden

Water Gardens & Features Q & A

Q: I think my pond may have a leak. How do I find it? – Donny of Georgia

A: To find a leak in your pond or water feature, you’ll need to do some sleuthing. Your fish and waterfall/stream will splash some water out of the pond, and some of it will evaporate (especially during the long, warm days of summer), but if you have an average pond and you’re losing more than 3 inches per week, try these techniques to troubleshoot the cause of the leak:

1. Turn off the pump and wait: By shutting off your pump, you’ll be able to narrow down the location of the leak. If the water level in the pond continues to drop, you’ve got a leak or liner breech in the main basin of your pond. If the water level stays the same, you’ve got some more investigating to do.

2. Inspect your plumbing: A leak in the plumbing means you’ll need to carefully examine all the check valve assemblies and fittings, replacing them if necessary. Look at your skimmer and/or filtration system and make sure they’re clean and sound. You won’t be able to check buried pipe, of course, but look around the pond for abnormal wet patches.

3. Check your liner: Your pond’s leak could be caused by a liner breech, either in the waterfall/stream or along the pond’s edge. Has a rock, plant or excess algae growth shifted the liner, causing the water to flow over it? Has the liner settled along the streambed or pond edge after a heavy rain? Do you see wet spots in the mulch or gravel alongside the pond? These clues may lead you to the cause of the leak.

4. Let it flow: If the leak is in the pond basin itself, all you can do is leave the pump off and let the water run out until it stops, being mindful of your plants and fish, of course. Low water levels may force you to net your fish and relocate pond inhabitants. As the water drains, check the sides of the pond for holes or gashes. Look for low edges that allow water to escape and make sure the liner is still in place.

5. Fix it: When you find the leak, we suggest to scrub and remove any debris before patching to help ensure a clean seal. A hole in the pond liner can be easily fixed with and 6″ EPDM Liner Patch Kit or a Universal Liner Patch Kit if you liner is something other than EPDM. Follow the included instructions or contact us and we can help you. If you don’t want to drain your pond to repair the leak you can always use the Underwater Pond Sealer. It works instantly to repair leaks in rubber liners, vinyl liners, concrete, stone, wood, glass and ceramic.

Pond leaks happen, so be sure to regularly inspect and maintain your decorative pond or water feature. Hopefully, you’ll be able to catch the leak before it turns into a flood!

POND TALK: Do you have any tips for finding an underwater leak?

Keeping Cattails At Bay in and Around Your Pond – Pond & Lake Q & A

Cattails

Pond & Lake Q & A

Q: The cattails in my pond are out of control. How do I control them without disturbing the wildlife? - Richard of Minnesota

A: One of the most common of all aquatic plants, cattails can proliferate if left unchecked. Growing from 3 to 10 feet tall in dense colonies around the margins of ponds and lakes, the plants’ strap-like foliage emerges from large, creeping rhizomes in the muddy bottom in the spring. Soon, the cattail’s foliage and spikes, or the plant’s brown cylindrical flower, grow, eventually spreading its seeds and propagating new plants throughout the lake.

Though they can be a pest, a small controlled area of cattails will provide an ideal habitat for amphibians, insects, birds and fish, as well as helping to prevent erosion. But too many of these plants can create an unappealing look and begin to transform a healthy lake or pond into marshland, and eventually dry land.

Controlling cattails is a simple three-step process: You’ll need to spray a herbicide, cut the cattails down and remove them.

1. Spray: The most common way to control cattails is to apply an EPA-registered herbicide and surfactant product, like the Avocet & Cide-Kick Combo. Read the product labels for proper dosage rates, but to treat a 2,500-square-foot area of cattails, mix 8 ounces of Avocet and 4 ounces of Cide-Kick with 2 gallon of water, pour into pond sprayer (like the Airmax Pond Sprayer) and apply onto the water surface where the cattails are growing. Allow the mixture to absorb into the plant and the root system, the most difficult part of the plant to kill, for one to two weeks.

2. Cut: Once the herbicide has had a chance to soak into the cattail’s root system, the plant will turn brown and become limp. At this point, use an aquatic weed cutter to cut at the base of the plants, allowing for easier removal. If you can control your pond’s or lake’s water line, you can also cut the cattails 2 to 3 inches below the water surface to cut off the plant’s supply of oxygen and drown the plant.

3. Remove: Use a pond and beach rake to remove the cut cattails. You can compost them, burn them or dispose of them at your local green waste disposal site.

To completely eradicate cattails in a pond, this process may need to be repeated several times. Once you have the plants under control, they can make a nice addition to your landscape and encourage wildlife to call your pond or lake home.

POND TALK: How do you control cattails in your pond?

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