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Controlling Cattails – Ponds & Lakes

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Controlling Cattails
Cattails provide a natural habitat for fish and help reduce nutrients and sediment that run off into your pond. They are also used in some ponds to add to its overall aesthetic appeal. While there are a few benefits to having cattails around your pond, at what point do they become an inconvenience and how do you get rid of them?

Mark Your Territory
While you enjoy the presence of cattails in your pond, they can quickly take over your pond and become an unsightly pest. An easy way to keep your cattails in check is by marking boundaries in your pond. By establishing reference points, it will be easier to tell when your cattails are trying to spread out, enabling you to address the situation before it has a chance to get out of hand.

Spray it, Don’t Say It
When a pond becomes overgrown with cattails, it can seem like regaining control will become an epic battle. Using a spray on aquatic herbicide like Avocet® will make short work of your cattail woes. Treating cattails is as simple as mixing Avocet® into a tank sprayer with the corresponding amount of water and spraying it onto the plant surface. The herbicide will soak into the plant and work its way to its roots, killing it completely. Once the cattails are dead, you can cut them away from your pond with an Aquatic Weed Cutter and Rake them away from your pond.

Even Super Heroes Use Sidekicks
Using a surfactant like Cide-Kick™ will greatly increase the effectiveness of Avocet®. Cide-Kick™ helps break down the waxy cuticle of the cattail leaves, enabling a more effective uptake of herbicide. Mix 2 ounces of Cide-Kick™ for every gallon of water and Avocet® solution and you are ready to spray! Cide-Kick™ can be used in a number of aquatic herbicides and is not exclusively used with Avocet®.

New and Improved
To make your pond maintenance even easier, you can now purchase Avocet® PLX which contains surfactant already mixed into the product so you do not have to worry about mixing it in before you spray!

POND TALK: Do you keep cattails in your pond? How do you control their spread?

Spring Accessories – Decorative Ponds & Water Gardens

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Behind The Springs
It is truly an enjoyable experience taking in the sights and sounds of a water garden. Crystal clear water, brilliantly colored fish and lush green plants all meld together to create a picture perfect landscape. While water gardens are a wonder to behold, pond guys and gals everywhere are working hard to keep them looking their best all season long. Let’s take a behind-the-scenes look at some of the accessories that make that work a little less… well… hard!

What’s Your Net Worth?
Having a pond net handy for regular maintenance is a surefire way to add some ease into your cleaning regimens. Purchasing a tool like our 4-in-1 Interchangeable Pond Net not only allows you the ability to skim floating debris from your water gardens surface, but also gives you accessories you can use to round up and relocate your fish for large scale clean ups and to clean seasonal build up from hard to reach surfaces. The added benefit of a telescoping handle ensures that the areas you need to clean are within reach. Remember, the objective of using tools is to make work easier on you. Purchase items that perform for you and work best for your specific situations.

Sayonara Sludge!
Giving your water garden a thorough cleaning in the Spring will help reduce the chances of dealing with excess algae growth and overall improving the quality of the water in your pond. Simplifying the cleaning process using the correct tools encourages us to perform our cleanings a bit more enthusiastically. While Spring cleaning is not the most enjoyable pastime for water gardeners, it can be way more convenient (and way less painful) with a pond vacuum. Vacuums like the Pond-O-Vac IV clean the built up muck from your ponds bottom while eliminating time spent bent over scooping and scrubbing. Adding beneficial bacteria like Pond Logic® Nature’s Defense® & Muck Defense® when your water temperatures reach 50 degrees or higher will naturally break down organic debris that eventually turn into muck at your ponds bottom. Preventing sludge build up will result in easier and less frequent cleanouts throughout the season.

Using Some Colorful Expressions
So maybe this is your first season, or you are looking to add a special touch to your water garden. Implementing a variety of aquatic plants and shoreline grasses will add some color to the landscape and will have a positive impact on the water quality in your pond. Floating plants like Water Hyacinths or Water Lettuce will consume the same nutrients as algae that are present in the water column, reducing the amount of food available for potential algae blooms. Submerged plants like Hornwort give your fish an excellent place to hide. Try to include a diverse selection of plants to boost your water garden’s visual appeal and promote a balanced ecosystem.

Another great way to accent your water feature is to install pond lighting. When it comes to shedding some light on your project, it can be as simple as adding a couple Solar Floating Lights to set the tone, or installing a series of Waterfall Lights and some 50-Watt Pro Lights to highlight the surrounding landscape. With a wide assortment of lighting styles to choose from including Halogen, LED, and colored bulbs, you can achieve a unique look that fits exclusively to your pond!

POND TALK: What approach have you taken to eliminate the hassle of water garden maintenance? Show us some pictures of your unique lighting displays.

What are winter fish kills and how can I prevent them? – Decorative Ponds & Water Gardens Q & A

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Q: What are winter fish kills and how can I prevent them? – Alison in Illinois

Winter Fish Kills, They Don’t Float With Us!
You’ve waited all Winter long for the ice to melt over your water garden so you can run your waterfalls and enjoy your finned friends. Instead, you find your fish floating at the ponds surface, victims of a winter fish kill. What is this phenomenon and how can you prevent it?

Make Some Holes
When a layer of ice forms over the surface of you water garden, it essentially eliminates any transfer of air to or from your pond’s water. What this means to you is that, as debris decompose and your fish consume oxygen, byproducts are produced in the form of gasses that are toxic to your pond’s inhabitants. These gases are trapped under the ice and cannot escape; fresh air from outside the pond cannot reach the water either and so begins the process of the winter fish kill. Keeping a hole in the ice will allow the bad air in the pond to be replenished with good air. Some pond guys and gals use pond De-Icers to maintain an open hole, but many more rely on their aeration systems to do the job.

Pass The Bubbly
We’ve discussed in our past blogs the many benefits of aeration in your water garden. It circulates the water in your pond, infusing it with oxygen which is beneficial to your bacteria and fish. The constant bubbling produced by an aeration system will also keep a hole open in your water garden in the winter months, ensuring the release of those harmful gasses.

Being Supercool is SO Uncool
You have all heard concerns expressed in our past blogs in regards to “supercooling”. While this is a rare occurrence, there are a couple steps you can take to ensure you don’t overdo your winter aeration. When the cold weather comes, move your aeration plates to a shallower part of your pond. This will maintain a warmer layer of water for your fish to retreat to if the water does get a little too chilly. Furthermore, if you have a multiple plate system, you can run your water garden on just one plate for the winter. This will ensure that you have an open hole in your ice and should provide sufficient air supply to your fish as they require less oxygen during these times of decreased activity.

POND TALK: What type of aeration do you use in your pond? How have your fish fared over the past winters?

How soon should I start treating my pond with bacteria? – Ponds & Lakes Q & A

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Q: How soon should I start treating my pond with bacteria? – Justin in Minnesota

Baby It’s Cold Outside
The ice is melting away from the surface of your pond and Spring is already on its way, should bacteria be a part of your ponds Winter/Spring transition? Depending on your location, bacteria may be too busy singing the blues to work on the organics residing in your pond. Adhering to the general rules of thumb below will keep your bacteria working as efficiently as possible, keeping your pockets green and your pond crystal clear.

Aeration, Aeration, wherefore art thou Aeration
It may be cliché to quote Shakespeare in a blog post, but we’ve stressed the importance of aeration for so many seasons now he just may have heard of it himself. Aeration circulates the water in your pond adding oxygen to the water column. Beneficial bacteria, like those found in our ClearPAC®, thrive on oxygen. While we don’t plan on winning any awards for our astounding math skills in the near future, we have hit the nail on the head with this equation: water + oxygen = productive bacteria. You can still use beneficial bacteria in your pond without aeration, but you will definitely get more bang for your buck running an aeration system.

Getting Warmer
You know why to use your ClearPAC® but you are still unsure when to start adding it into your pond. This answer will depend on where you live. The bacteria in PondClear™ really flex their muscles when your water temperatures reach 50° and up. This means that areas with warmer climates will start adding their bacteria earlier in the season than those of us pond guys and gals who are still digging their cars out of snow drifts. Check your water temperature regularly and begin your applications accordingly. To really give your bacteria a boost, use EcoBoost™ along with every dose of PondClear™.

The Life of the PRE-Party
While your PondClear™ & EcoBoost™ are patiently waiting in their buckets, your Pond Dye is ready for action all year long. We strongly suggest adding Pond Dye—even if your pond ices over—as algae can grow in cold temperatures and can still utilize sunlight through the ice.

POND TALK: When do you start your bacteria applications in your pond? How do you kick off the opening of your pond for the season?

Is there anything I should do for my pond/lake to prepare it for Spring? – Ponds & Lakes Q & A

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Q: Is there anything I should do for my pond/lake to prepare it for Spring? – Dan in Illinois

Breaking the Ice on Your Spring Pond Projects
With the sun shining brighter than ever and the snow finally disappearing, most of us pond guys and gals are itching to throw on our waders and dive into our ponds — figuratively of course.

As the Saying Goes, “An Ounce of Prevention…”
Ok, so none of us really want to spend our spring and summer in waders pulling weeds and tending to unruly ponds. So what can you do to ensure your Winter/Spring transition is smooth and enjoyable? As the saying goes, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” This is especially true in the months to come. Following some easy procedures will keep those waders in your closest and a smile on your face.

Do Your Pre-Spring Cleaning
Walk around your pond and pick up any debris that has made its way into your yard and around your shoreline. If left to sit, this clutter will turn into a food source for algae in the spring. Cut back any weeds or unwanted vegetation growing around the pond while it is still dormant, keeping it from taking over your pond as the temperatures rise. Now is also a great time to inspect and clean your aeration system cabinet and, if the ice has already melted in your pond, the plates as well. This would be a good opportunity to move the plates back to the deeper areas of your pond for summer aeration, if you happened to move them to shallower areas during the winter.

Shaken, Not Stirred
With all of the dye, beneficial bacteria, and occasional algaecide we’ve added to our ponds over the seasons, you just may be qualified to tend a tiki bar at your pond. While your PondClear™ and EcoBoost™ get the back shelf for the winter season, you should be adding dye to your pond year-round as algae can still grow under a layer of ice in the colder months. If you have not been doing so, add your dye now to reduce the amount of sunlight available. Preventing algae growth now will keep you from fighting an algae bloom in the spring. Your PondClear™ and EcoBoost™ treatments should continue once the water temperature is above 50º F. For those of us who suffer from Duckweed, as spring approaches, you will want to have your WhiteCap™ on hand and ready to apply come mid-April so it has a chance to go to work and prevent weeds from growing throughout the season.

Take Inventory
Kris Kringle is not the only one checking his list twice over the winter. Pond guys and gals everywhere should be checking their remaining ClearPAC® and necessary weed control products and replenishing these items for the upcoming season. Inspect your tools and decoys to make sure they are in working condition. With everything in working order and ready to use, you are now ready for anything spring sends your way. All that’s left to do now is enjoy your pond!

POND TALK: How do you break the ice on your Spring pond projects? What do you have planned for your pond or water garden this season?

When should I start using my DefensePAC®? – Decorative Ponds & Water Gardens Q & A

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When should I start using my DefensePAC®? – Sherry in Ohio

Ladies and Gentlemen, Start Your… Barley?
You’ve bought the products; you’ve read the blogs; now it’s time to get your feet wet. Whether you are starting your water garden up for the first time this season or your pond is operating through the Winter/Spring transition, it’s time to break out the barley.

Some Like It Hot, Some Like It Cold
For those of you pond guys and gals who experience freezing temperatures, you are probably waiting for the ice to melt to start up the pumps and filters in your water garden. When that glorious day comes, take some time and install new filter media, vacuum the bottom of the pond, and clean up the rocks and walls with you Oxy-Lift™ Defense®. Now that your water garden is up and running, it is time for some Seasonal Defense®, a natural bacteria that incorporates barley and is designed to work in cooler temperatures. This bacteria will jump start your biological filters and devour organic debris, allowing you to gain control of your pond earlier in the season. As we progress into late spring and the water temperatures begin to rise above 50ºF, you can switch over to your Nature’s Defense®.

Don’t Get Lost In The Mix
So, now we know Nature’s Defense® performs best in warmer temperatures, while Seasonal Defense® goes to work for you when it’s cold. When do you break out the Muck Defense® and Clarity Defense® to really get the party started? Clarity Defense® should be used whenever your water garden is open. It will work in any temperature, locking up suspended nutrients, resulting in clearer water and increasing the effectiveness of all natural bacteria. You can start using your Muck Defense® the same time you begin applications of Nature’s Defense®. While Nature’s Defense® is working on the organics floating in the water column, Muck Defense® will be at the bottom of the pond, eating away at sunken debris.

POND TALK: How do you use your DefensePAC® to kick off the season? Which DefensePAC® products do you feel go to work the best for you?

I found what looks like a sore on my koi. What should I do? Could this have happened over winter? – Decorative Ponds & Water Gardens Q & A

Dyed PondQ: I found what looks like a sore on my koi. What should I do? Could this of happened over winter? – Fred in Kentucky

A: As we close in on spring and the ice melts off of our water gardens, our koi start to become lively again. This is a very crucial time for koi. When koi begin to awaken from their winter dormancy, they can show signs of weakness. This is because during the winter, not only do their metabolisms slow down, but also their immune systems can be affected.

As the temperatures outside begin to rise above 40ºF begin a Spring/Summer Prep bacterial application, like Seasonal Defense, and start to feed them Spring and Fall Fish Food. Keep an eye on the koi for any signs of excess slime, sores or lesions. Weakened fish are much more susceptible to bacterial and parasitic infections when the temps are just beginning to rise.

Here are few products to use if your koi happen to be sick:

Using the products mentioned above you can be assured your fish will be lively again in no time. To help prevent koi sickness during the early spring, be proactive and ensure your koi are healthy in the fall time.

POND TALK: What do you do to keep your koi healthy?

Does it matter what color pond dye I use for my pond? – Ponds & Lakes Q & A

Dyed PondQ: Does it matter what color pond dye I use for my pond? – Jen in West Virginia

A: With a wide variety of dyes appearing in the pond industry, how do you choose the one that’s best for you?

Black dye, blue dye, dyes with bluish green or blackish blue, concentrated dye, dyes with added bacteria…..some pond guys and gals may find themselves asking, “What does any of this mean to me?” or just plain “HELP!”.

One thing that we can all agree on is that these pond dyes are no longer perceived as singularly decorative or unimportant to maintaining a healthy pond. Although adding dye to your pond does enhance its visual appeal, it also plays a major part in preventing algae attacks by restricting the amount of sun exposure your pond floor receives. How many of us can truly say that less algae outbreaks is a bad thing?

Black or Blue……Why Not Both?

Now that we’ve cleared the air about dye’s importance in your pond, there is only one question left to ask: “What’s your favorite flavor?”

Previously, the process of adding color to your pond involved the simple process of grabbing what was on your retailer’s shelf taking it home and dumping it into your pond. Pretty easy right? How about pretty boring? What if you don’t want your pond to be bright blue? What if you don’t want it to look like a Caribbean oasis? This is where options become a good thing. So which to choose?

Black: Perfect for natural looking ponds in wooded areas where you want a reflective surface to show off the surrounding landscape.  Black DyeMondPond Dye

Blue: You have a manicured yard with lush green grass and the true blue color beautifully offsets the scenery. Nature’s Blue

Twilight Blue: So you wanted the best of both worlds? Now you can have it. Thanks to your input we are proud to present Twilight Blue. If you want a little blue in your water but you don’t want your pond to contrast its surroundings too much. You will achieve ample color while also creating an attractive, rich look. Twilight Blue

Aqua-Blue: The Caribbean color looks great with sandy beaches and tropical landscape and can turn your pond into our aforementioned oasis. Aquashade

POND TALK: So which is YOUR favorite color? Share with us pictures of your favorite colored pond!

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