Summer Pond Maintenance
Summer is here and you've earned some quality time with your pond, and when better than summertime - perhaps the most beautiful time of the year for most ponds. Summer is your chance to truly enjoy the pond.
And with your clean-out completed in the early spring, the majority of your pond maintenance is behind you. There are some summer maintenance items that still need to be addressed in order to have a season of clean, clear water to enjoy. By keeping up on these tasks, you should have a healthy pond all season long.
Keep Your Pond "Topped off" - Make sure the water level stays where it should be. This will ensure that the pump and/or skimmer are able to operate properly and will help keep your pond free of debris, while providing plenty of oxygenated water for your fish. The summer heat can be tough on oxygen levels.
Add More Plants - The more the merrier! If at all possible, try to cover at least a third of the pond's surface area with water lilies. Also, make sure you have plenty of marginal and floating plants around the pond to blend the pond's edge with your landscape.
Trim Those Plants - You've added the plants, now keep them looking good. Routine maintenance, including removal of spent blooms, yellowing leaves, and excess growth will get rid of nutrients in the pond, reducing the possibility of algae blooms. If you devote just a few enjoyable minutes each day to this task, it never becomes "the big chore" that encourages procrastination.
Feed Your Fish - In the extreme heat of the summer, over feeding can lead to oxygen depletion and possible algae blooms. A good rule of thumb is not to feed your fish more than they can eat in a period of two to three minutes at a time.
Don't Clean the Filter Pads - If you have a biological filtration system, cleaning off the filter pads will destroy the algae-fighting bacteria that live there, resulting in excess algae growth.
Fertilize Lotus and Lily Plants - To encourage more prolific blooming during the summer months, use lily fertilizer tabs near the base of the plants throughout the growing season. It's not really necessary to fertilize marginal plants if they're planted right in the pond gravel - they will easily pull the nutrients they need right from the pond.
Add Bacteria - Follow the dosage instructions on the label and add bacteria regularly to compete with the algae for excess nutrients in the water, helping reduce the growth of algae.
Control Runoff - Avoid using fertilizer in areas that may drain into your pond. Fertilizer will cause a surge of excess nutrients in your pond and actually encourage algae blooms.
Remember, your water garden is there for you to ENJOY! Take time to appreciate all that it has to offer you. There is no better reward after mowing the (remaining) lawn than to have a seat in the cooling waters of the pond. Also, plant some tropical water lilies - either day or night blooming. Their beautiful fragrance will cover the whole pond area and they are visually stunning.