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Treating ponds in winter. – Pond & Lake Q & A

Algae tends to grow all year long – even in cold temperatures when ice covers your pond.

Pond & Lake Q & A

Q: The weather is getting colder, so can I still treat my pond with chemicals or natural bacteria? – Sara in Washington

A: Algae tends to grow all year long – even in cold temperatures when ice covers your pond. Given the right mix of nutrients, carbon dioxide and sunlight, these little photosynthetic, autotrophic compounds will flourish – regardless of the temperature or time of year.

Whether you can treat the pea soup or filamentous algae depends on the water temperature in your lake or farm pond. When the underwater thermometer drops below 50 degrees Fahrenheit, the effectiveness of both chemicals and natural bacteria begins to drop. So to get the most for your money, we recommend dosing your pond or lake with one of these methods in the fall before the winter chill hits:

    Treat with Chemicals: As long as your water temperature is about 60 degrees F, you can use algaecides, like Algae Defense® (or Clipper™ if you have koi or goldfish in your pond), to help with late-season algae blooms. Warning: If your lake is stocked with trout, test your carbonate hardness before adding Algae Defense®. If your Water Hardness Test Kit reads less than 50 parts per million (2.79 degrees of hardness), it could be toxic.
    Add Some Shade: Regardless of your water temperature, you can also add pond dye to shade your pond or lake during the winter. Throughout the pond industry, experts use dye to minimize the amount of sunlight that reaches the depths of ponds and lakes. This can prevent algae from photosynthesizing – and limit its growth.
    Treat Naturally: Beneficial bacteria, like PondClear™ , are also most effective when temperatures are above 50 degrees F. When used correctly, they will help to keep your pond crystal clear.

POND TALK: Have you experienced a late-season algae bloom in your lake or pond? What did you do to control it?

Where do frogs go in the winter? – Water Garden & Features Q & A

Nope, frogs don't turn to stone in the winter.

Water Garden & Features Q & A

Q: What happens to my frogs in the winter? – Sue in Michigan

A: They ribbit and hop in your pond all spring, summer and fall, but when the cold weather comes, your frogs seem to disappear. Don’t worry – they don’t croak! They simply take a long winter nap.

There are more than 5,000 described species of frogs living on just about every surface of the planet. From the frigid Arctic Circle to the hottest deserts and everywhere in between – including your back yard. These welcome additions to any pond have evolved a well-known strategy to survive environmental extremes: They hibernate. Frogs that live in temperate climates with cold winters, like those throughout much of the United States, enter into a dormant state of sleep while living off their body fat reserves.

Aquatic frogs, like the leopard frog and the American bull frog, typically hibernate underwater. Because their skin can absorb oxygen, they lie just below the surface among aquatic plants where they’ll be safe from predators and frosty temperatures. An aeration system will add oxygen to your pond and create a hospitable habitat for your amphibian friends – and your finned friends, too.

Terrestrial frogs, like American toads, will hibernate on land. The ones that can dig will create a comfortable burrow beneath the frost line and sleep all winter; the ones that can’t dig will find safe hiding places, like hollowed-out logs, between rocks or beneath a pile of leaves, to protect them from weather and predators. Incredibly, these frogs won’t freeze to death; though they may partially freeze in very cold climates, a high concentration of glucose in their organs prevents them from freezing completely. When spring comes, the frozen portions thaw and they’re ready to get back to eating and reproducing.

Frogs are just one of dozens of critters that are drawn to water features. By providing a habitat with food, water and shelter, you can draw wildlife to your pond – which will enhance your enjoyment of it even more.

POND TALK: Do you have frogs in your decorative pond?