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Algae Growth During the Winter – Water Garden Q & A

Algae Growing in a Water Garden During Winter.

Q: I shut my water garden down for the winter, but I still see some algae growth. Can algae grow in cooler temperatures?

A: In some cases, a pond that stays clean and clear through the summer can blow up into an algal nightmare in the fall. Shutting down your watergarden ceases the flow-through characteristics of the pond. This reduces the amount of filtration that occurs both mechanically (i.e. skimmers) and biologically (i.e. filterfalls). Since there is less flow, it is a good idea to bump up the amount of bacteria in the pond by adding Seasonal Defense Bacteria with Barley. These bacteria operate in cooler conditions and will greatly reduce the amount of nutrients in the water, and also contains barley straw to naturally help with the algae. Using Oxy-Lift Defense to scrub down your rocks will also help to remove any debris build up.

Algae Growth During the Winter – Pond & Lake Q & A

Picture of Algae in Ice.

Q: That isn’t algae growing under the ice, is it?

A: A common question that we receive in the winter pertains to winter algae and what to do with it. In the northern climates, there are strains of algae that do thrive in temperatures down to freezing. The good news is that typically these strains do not reach nuisance levels in ponds or lakes. They tend to hang out in warmer locations, usually around an inflow of water, where it is nice and sunny. In optimal growing conditions, these algae can generate enough biomass to put your fish at risk. A sudden die-off caused by a sudden swing in temperature, overcast weather, etc. can deplete the dissolved oxygen levels under the ice which leads to unnecessary fish stress.

Solutions: Nutrient management in your watershed as well as your pond will slow down the growth of any algae or plant all season. Typically phosphorus is the key nutrient for algal growth, so try switching to phosphorus free fertilizers if you fertilize your lawn. Our Pond-Clear Packets and Pond-Clear Pellets eat away at the muck/nutrients found in the pond. Our Nutri-Defense Packets bind up any excess nutrients flowing in from the watershed. These are things to do in the summer, but what about winter? With the pond frozen over, your options are limited. Dying the pond a deep blue with pond dye will reduce the amount of sunlight that passes through the water column. If you can safely do it, I would suggest adding an extra dose through the ice to slow down growth.

Can I Run My Waterfall & Stream Throughout the Winter? – Water Garden Q & A

Picture of a Waterfall in the Winter.

Q: Can I run my waterfall and stream in my water garden throughout the Winter? – Carla of Pennsylvania

A: A majority of water garden owners will shut down their water gardens entirely during the Winter, but there are still quite a few that don’t.

Have you ever seen a waterfall with a stream running during the Winter? Its amazing! Ice begins to build up on the falls and you’ll see sections where the water
flows underneath the ice throughout the stream. It really is a beautiful scene.

Having said that, yes you can run the waterfall and stream throughout the Winter, but it depends on these couple factors:

Pump Size (Gallons Per Hour): Here is the major factor in whether or not you can continue to run your waterfall and stream throughout the Winter. Your GPH or gallons per hour must be greater than 2,000 as the water is coming down the waterfall and stream. If this flow is not obtained, then there is a greater possibility the water could freeze, causing ice dams in the stream and pushing the water over and out the side of the stream. If this happened, your water garden would be drained in no time.

Long Streams Beware: Even if you have 2,000 GPH of water coming down the stream, if the stream is quite long, longer than 10′ or 15′, then it may not be a good idea to run the system throughout the winter. In long streams, there is more opportunity for ice dams to be created and thus draining your water garden. If your stream is longer than 10′ to 15′ and you still want to try and run your system I would advise you to use a little bit more flow than 2,000 GPH and to watch it regularly to make sure these ice dams are not created.

I wish you all the opportunity to enjoy your water garden throughout the Winter. Again, it really is an amazing site.

Getting Your Pond Ready in the Fall for Winter – Pond & Lake Q & A

Picture of a Pond in Fall.

Q: What can I do now to get my pond ready for the Winter? – Linda of Kentucky

A: Get Your Pond Ready for the Winter Months
As our warm summer months come to an end; I receive many questions regarding “pond winterizing”. Winterizing your pond is an important step to ensure a safe and healthy start-up next Spring. Here are a couple easy tips you can use this fall to help you on your way.

1. General Clean Up Tips: Set aside a few hours to do some picking up around your pond. Clean the inlets or outlets of any debris that may have fallen in and rake out sticks or brush that may have fallen into the pond. If debris are left in the pond to decompose, they will contribute to the build up of nutrients and muck. Adding Pond-Clear 2 in 1 Natural Bacteria with Pond Dye is a great way to help to reduce the nutrient load and muck levels in the pond as well as shading your pond a beautiful blue color. Keep applying Pond Clear until the water temperature drop below 50 degrees Fahrenheit.

2. A Final Pond Treatment: Treat any remaining algae or pondweeds using Algae Defense or PondWeed Defense respectively one more time before winter. This
will make for a much cleaner pond in the Spring. You will also want to use these last few months to get a handle on emergent weeds such as cattails, lilies or grasses; Avocet and Cide-Kick are perfect for this. When vegetation naturally dies off under the icecap – oxygen is depleted from the water column and remember that this will only contribute to a winter fish kill.

Just doing these basic tips will help ensure a cleaner, healthier pond in the Spring.

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